Our brains. The amazing brain. The hardware and the control center of our body. The brain manages your ability to think, talk, feel, see, hear, remember things, walk and so much more. It even controls your breathing. In my opinion, it’s the most fascinating organ in the body. But sometimes it can become the wandering mind. So, what goes on inside your head when your mind wanders?
What’s going inside the wandering mind?
According to research, the default mode network is at play here. It’s a collection of brain regions that seem to show lower levels of activity when we are involved in a particular task like paying attention, but higher levels of activity when we are conscious and not involved in any specific mental action. The areas of the brain involved in the default mode network include the medial temporal lobe, medial prefrontal cortex, and the posterior cingulate cortex. All of these regions are associated with some aspect of internal thought.
A lot of times when we are young, and our brain is developing we inherit beliefs or ideas about ourselves that may not actually be true. Especially 20 years down the road. Most of the time we aren’t consciously aware of our thoughts from way back when and how they can influence our thinking today.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you pick up your phone and open up Facebook. Your scrolling along with no real purpose other than maybe you’re bored. Your default mode network will have higher levels of activity, and you’ll be running mental checks against old and outdated beliefs. This could explain why social media makes us feel so freakin shitty. Versus if you opened up Facebook with intention. Let’s say you were looking for a friends contact info or an article you wanted to read; the default mode network will show significantly less activity. We won’t be cross checking what we see against a set of unrealistic and in most cases unhelpful patterns and assumptions about yourself.
The coolest thing about all of this is…
The coolest thing about all of this is that the brain can reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. This means we don’t have to stay stuck in our old ways of thinking. We can create new connections, new patterns which can ultimately lead to a more satisfying and peaceful life.
Light meditation is just one of the many tools that you can use to help tame the wandering mind. It supports new ideas, thought patterns and facilitates the opportunity to blow your own mind. Click here to learn more.