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Nov 08, 2016 07:08 AM EST

What you Need to Know About your Wandering Mind and Creativity

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If you find yourself drifting away with your thoughts wandering, maybe you are a daydreamer. Or maybe not. Well, it's normal for your mind to wander from your current situation, whether you are in the middle of doing something, your thoughts can shift from one thing to another.

According to the recent studies by the scientists on mind wandering, they say that this activity can take up as much as 50% of our waking hours. And even if psychologists used to view this activity as generally useless, recent studies would suggest that this is a "natural and healthy part of our mental lives".

University of British Columbia and the University of California researchers conducted a study on the relationship between mind wandering and the thinking processes that involve creativity and some other mental illnesses.

"Sometimes the mind moves freely from one idea to another, but at other times it keeps coming back to the same idea, drawn by some worry or emotion," Dr. Kalina Christoff, lead study author and principal investigator of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory at UBC, said in a statement.

Mind wandering used to be understood as the brain's tendency to think spontaneously without any relation to a specific task or external factor, but according to the researchers, mind wandering is the movement of your mind from one thought to another and this is how they connected it to creative thinking.

Researchers explained that creativity goes beyond the limitations of mind wandering, and that highly creative people have the tendency to have the so-called positive-constructive daydreaming. They also explained that because your mind wanders, you have the ability to think beyond your own box of feelings, emotions, memories, and thoughts to create brand new ideas.

"Mind-wandering in the sense of the mind moving freely from one idea to another has huge benefits in terms of arriving at new ideas," Christoff said. "It's by virtue of free movement that we generate new ideas, and that's where creativity lies."

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