These days, there is an awful lot of talk about being mindful. Did you know mindlessness, or daydreaming, can be just as important to one’s health and happiness? Like anything, the key is in how you do it. Most of us have experienced having an “aha moment” while doing something random, like brushing our teeth. There is a reason for this.
Studies have shown that intentional mind-wandering (read: consciously choosing or being mindful about being mindless) can help unlock the pre-frontal cortex and enhance creative thinking ability. However, this only works if you have been mindful, or fully engaged in the problem you are trying to solve, beforehand. You know when you’ve been working so long on a complex problem that your brain feels as if it may explode? That is a great time to engage in a little mindlessness.
Here are a few mindless activities that will give you the most bang for your buck and, hopefully, the answer you seek:
-Engage in repetitive exercise: Walking, running, biking, and swimming are some great examples of repetitive exercise. Choose something that allows you to enter a flow-like state but does not require much thought. You may just solve your conundrum while simultaneously doing good for your body!
-Clean the house: Vacuum the floors, wash the dishes, dust the shelves. Keep it repetitive and resist any urge to use your precious mental energy to redecorate.
-Take a shower: Who among us hasn’t had a great idea in the shower? This is a classic way to let your mind wander.