Is It Healthy to Let Your Mind Wander?

Do You Enjoy Spending Time Alone?

In a collection of six experiments with a complete of 259 individuals, the researchers in contrast individuals’s predictions of how a lot they’d get pleasure from merely sitting and considering with their precise expertise of doing so.


In the primary experiment, they requested individuals to foretell how a lot they’d get pleasure from sitting alone with their ideas for 20 minutes, with out being allowed to do something distracting comparable to studying, strolling round or a smartphone. Afterward, individuals reported how a lot they’d loved it.

The researchers discovered that individuals loved spending time with their ideas considerably greater than they’d predicted. This held true throughout variations of the experiment through which individuals sat in a naked convention room or in a small, darkish tented space with no visible stimulation; variations through which the considering interval lasted for 3 minutes or for 20 minutes; and one variation through which the researchers requested individuals to report on their enjoyment halfway by the duty as an alternative of after it was over. In each case, individuals loved considering greater than they’d anticipated to.

In one other experiment, the researchers in contrast one group of individuals’ predictions of how a lot they’d get pleasure from considering with one other group’s predictions of how a lot they’d get pleasure from checking the information on the web. Again, the researchers discovered that individuals underestimated their enjoyment of considering. The considering group anticipated to benefit from the job considerably lower than the news-checking group, however afterward, the 2 teams reported related enjoyment ranges.

These outcomes are particularly necessary in our fashionable period of data overload and fixed entry to distractions, based on research co-author Kou Murayama, Ph.D., of the University of Tübingen in Germany. “It’s now extremely easy to ‘kill time.’ On the bus on your way to work, you can check your phone rather than immerse yourself in your internal free-floating thinking, because you predict thinking will be boring,” he stated. “However, if that prediction is inaccurate, you are missing an opportunity to positively engage yourself without relying on such stimulation.”

That missed alternative comes at a price as a result of earlier research have proven that spending time letting your thoughts wander has some advantages, based on the researchers. It might help individuals clear up issues, improve their creativity and even assist them discover that means in life. “By actively avoiding thinking activities, people may miss these important benefits,” Murayama stated.

It is necessary to notice that individuals didn’t price considering as a particularly pleasant job, however merely as extra pleasant than they thought it will be, based on Murayama.

On common, individuals’ enjoyment stage was round 3 to 4 on a 7-point scale. Future analysis ought to delve into which varieties of considering are most pleasant and motivating, based on Murayama. “Not all thinking is intrinsically rewarding, and in fact, some people are prone to vicious cycles of negative thinking,” he stated.

Future analysis also needs to discover the explanation why individuals underestimate how a lot they are going to get pleasure from considering, based on researchers. The outcomes additionally have to be replicated in additional various populations than within the present research, through which all individuals had been school college students in Japan or the UK

Source: Eurekalert

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