You know those moments in the day when you think you are not doing much? That you are just wandering with your thoughts, or you are daydreaming in a very unfocused way…
What happens in those moments is really fascinating.
Neuroscience discovered that these moments are when we have most of our brain activity. And they gave it a name, scientist call it the Default Mode Network.
Even though we feel nothing is really happening in those moments, it’s then when we have more memories coming to us, where we make plans and project ourselves into the future, and when we talk to ourselves the most. When our inner dialogue is more active. And is active in the form of a monologue, when we are basically listening to ourselves talk.
Some people call it “the voice”, yogis call it “the monkey mind”, others refer to it as “the devil in my head”. Is that voice that tends to push you down unconsciously.
Neuroscience discovered something… the more mental noise we have while we are not doing anything, the less happy we feel.
The strange thing is that 80 percent of this activity is an inner dialogue about ourselves. We repeat our stories, our personal history with us as the main character.
This is not all bad. It’s a very important part of our evolution because it allowed us to create an image of ourselves; our identity is built up partly in these moments. This is also when some wild ideas can come concerning our job, our boss, our team, or our partner, our friends our children. This is when we judge and compare and create our opinion about all sorts of subjects. All without even being aware.
Neuroscientists have calculated that we spend around 47% of our awake time in this state. It’s a state where we are not in the present moment. During the weekend this can go up to 75 percent of our time.
They also found that the more activity we have in this Default Mode Network, the more probable is to develop Alzheimer disease.
Breathing, mindfulness, learning to calm your mind is essential to sooth the brain patterns in those times. Breathing a meditation can retrain the mind to become more aware of this inner dialogue, and reduce this self talk, even change it at will.
Observe yourself today and this end of the week, when you think you are doing nothing, that’s when most of your dialogue with yourself happens. Become aware of it. Take a few conscious breaths and calm the mind. Shift your attention. Awareness and breathing can go a long way.
Can you imagine if you and your team could train your awareness so you wander a bit less and think more consciously what you want to create -in private and at work-? In stead of being a pray of the Default Mode Network? It’s a very subtle sophisticated skill to have, that can reduce stress massively, increase resilience, and as science says, make you feel much more happier.