Our minds wander, on average, 50 percent of the time. By noticing and getting to know our patterns, we can learn to release ourselves from habitual distraction.
First, practice allowing distractions—thoughts, feelings, impulses, and sensations—to come and go in the mind. Try this meditation for exploring your wandering mind.
Next, understand that we can take steps to help us focus and stay on task more. Here are three ways to focus the wandering mind.
Finally, acknowledge the awareness that arises when you discover that your mind has wandered--Explore how to open to yourself to awareness, and expand your field of perception.
Compassion meditation might help reduce mind wandering, according to a new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.
“This is the first report that demonstrates that formal compassion training decreases the tendency for the mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself,” said James Doty, a co-author on the study, Stanford neurosurgeon and the founder and director of Stanford’s CCARE.
Although mind wandering is not inherently a bad thing, researchers pinpointed a particular dynamic: after compassion meditation training, participants showed a reduction in mind wandering toward unpleasant topics and an increase in mind wandering toward pleasant topics. Researchers linked this change to increases in caring behavior.
Read the full study details from Stanford University.
Interested in trying compassion meditation? Here’s the latest mindfulness practice from the June 2015 issue of Mindful magazine, Be Kind to Yourself—Right Now.