Engage in a stable behavior: To really engage this network, a curious combination of things needs to happen. You need to also have some kind of stable behavior going on while your mind is wandering. That’s what Stanford postdoctoral researcher Aaron Kucyi and his colleagues found when they examined the brains of people whose minds were wandering. Intense mind wandering must be combined with stable behavior to activate the DMN.
At first glance, this may seem odd. Why would an unfocus network that activates when your mind wanders, activate even more when your behavior is stable across a period of time? Isn’t mind wandering inherently unstable? Well, it is, but that’s not when your brain is at its best. You have to immerse yourself in this contradiction, anchoring your mind on an activity and then letting it go.
If you’re wondering how this might translate in your everyday life, consider a study (link is external) by researcher Benjamin Baird and his colleagues that demonstrated that you are more creative when your mind wanders off task, but only when you are engaged in something that is undemanding. Doing nothing or being fully engaged does not help as much.
So, to get started on this process of stable mind wandering, first choose an activity that is not so demanding but will keep your mind stable. Knitting, walking, or gardening would be a good start. Then, prepare to let your mind off its leash (still metaphorically tied to a post), as you start to fantasize about something playful or wishful—something that you truly enjoy.
Continue reading the full article: Psychologytoday