June 06, 2023   8:37am

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You always instinctively knew that day dreaming was good for you, right? …

Before you scorn someone for daydreaming rather than getting the job done, consider this article published in The Wall Street Journal, “A Wandering Mind Heads Toward Insight.” Sometimes, no focus is the best solution to a problem…

“By most measures, we spend about a third of our time daydreaming, yet our brain is unusually active during these seemingly idle moments. Left to its own devices, our brain activates several areas associated with complex problem solving, which researchers had previously assumed were dormant during daydreams. Moreover, it appears to be the only time these areas work in unison.”

Specifically, the studies cited focus on those A-ha! moments of realization, when a problem is solved, a face remembered, etc. It is these moments where we allow our mind to relax and then suddenly, the answer dawns on us through this “culmination of an intense and complex series of brain states that require more neural resources than methodical reasoning.”

A study conducted at Northwestern University had subjects solve word puzzles as they tracked their neural activity. They found that during Eureka moments, gamma waves emanate from the right hemisphere of the brain (known for assembling elements of a problem), followed by changing alpha brain-wave intensity in the visual cortex (perhaps as a brain-equivalent to closing your eyes to concentrate).  “The brain broadcast that signal one-third of a second before a volunteer experienced their conscious moment of insight — an eternity at the speed of thought.”

Aside from daydreaming, experts at Northwestern also stated that a positive mind can induce insightful thinking as well.

Great news! A positive mind and allowing our brain to wander? We can handle that …

Now, let’s see — where were we?


The Wall Street Journal, “A Wandering Mind Heads Toward Insight,” Robert Lee Hotz, June 19, 2009

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