Have you ever thought about what magical power you would like to have if that was possible? One of the magical powers I have dreamed about is being able to freeze the world, while I either go on working or take a nap without getting farther behind. I realize there are more noble magical powers and there are certainly more virtuous desires. Some might read this as another iteration of my workaholic tendencies (which I will own up to), but at some level I think it may even be more about my desire to find calm amid the chaos and noise that bombards all of us all day long. Seeking calm or a respite is why I think I am drawn to and curious about the article we are featuring in this week’s blog post.
If you Google the term mind wandering or anything synonymous, most articles that surface are all about how to eliminate this pesky habit. We also tend to think in terms of how we can focus more and avoid all those wandering thoughts that can get us off track. However, Pam Moore in her article, Here’s Why You Should Let Your Mind Wander—And How to Set It Free, advocates for the beneficial aspects of mind wandering.
I read this article when it came out last April, but I have found myself occasionally going back to it. While I haven’t fully adopted it and I do not practice it often, it is becoming clear to me how regularly exercising Moore’s type of mind wandering can produce positive outcomes. Please do not stop reading or think that The Collaborative has fallen off some mystic cliff, because we haven’t. Rather at times we want to provide practical efforts for some of the ideas we champion. For example in the December 28, 2022 blog post we discussed the importance of mental gymnastics, but we don’t always know how to do this or grow our capabilities. Stress levels, numerous distractions, and lack of sleep are just some of the things that keep us from thinking clearly. However, there are certain habits that can strengthen our minds and broaden our mental band width.
One habit is deep breathing. This is a quick one where you stop what you are doing and take a deep breath, inhaling to a count of ten and then exhale slowly to a count of ten. Doing this exercise three to five times will help calm your spirit and clear your mind. The other practice is what Moore is suggesting in her article. Several times in the last couple of weeks, I have had multiple 16-hour days that was just constant back-to-back-to-back. The kind of days where you fall into bed not just physically, but also mind weary. Once or twice on these days I have tried Moore’s mind-wandering, and it is a little hard to explain other than to say I found some mental relief at least for a few minutes. With any of these kinds of tactics, practice is important to maximize the benefits. I definitely need to keep at it, but even as a novice the relief was tangible and allowed me to move forward through the demands of the day with greater clarity of thought and calmer emotions. There is tremendous value in having an undistracted mind and a more even spirit, but the real benefit is that in this state we have a higher probability of aligning our desires and tasks throughout the day with who God has called us to be in our work.
Regardless of our tactics, it is important that we find ways to stay in a God honoring frame of mind throughout the highs and lows of our day. Before dismissing Moore’s mind wandering recommendation, read the first couple of paragraphs of her article here and then click over to finish reading this short article. Happy reading and mind wandering!
If you’re overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Even before the pandemic, 60 percent of adults in the United States reported sometimes feeling too busy to enjoy life, according to a report from the Pew Research Center, and 52 percent said they were usually trying to do at least two things at once.
Some experts say the antidote is free and accessible to anyone willing to try it: setting aside some time to let your mind wander.