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The Power of Intentional Day Dreaming: How “Unfocus” Can Power Your Brain


For most, managing life and successfully completing tasks means relying on to-do lists, calendar reminders, caffeine and even, medication. The problem is, this setting is not conducive to being our best selves and producing our best work. In fact, this way of life tends to deplete our brain’s energy and — more often then not — we end up overwhelmed and exhausted a result, beating ourselves up for not being able to meet the unrealistic demands we’ve placed on ourselves.

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“A lot of people believe that in order to be effective at work, you just need to focus throughout the day but that depletes the brain of energy,” says Harvard neuroscientist, Srini Pillay, M.D., the author of Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind.

By tapping into the latest brain research, patient stories from Pillay’s psychological practice and examples from people in different fields like the arts, sports, business and education, Dr. Pillay has devised a roadmap to a new and more optimal way to harness the mind, be more innovative and reduce our stress levels. And, believe it or not, the key lies in daydreaming.

“In today’s world, we are so focused, so busy and distracted, if we’re not driving, not talking to somebody, not working, not looking at a computer screen, we’re looking at our phones, we’re on social media,” says Dr. Pillay. “There is no time for us to daydream anymore. But strategically building in periods of unfocus into your day can help.”

A Wonders of a Wandering Mind

Creating space for the brain to “unfocus” can provide lasting, positive benefits including calming the brain, boosting productivity and innovation, encouraging inspiration and creativity and even, improving long-term memory. “Everyone spends 46.9% of your day daydreaming,” says Dr. Pillay. “So why not learn to unfocus in a more productive way?” Incorporating specific practices like tinkering, dabbling, and doodling into your day will actually train the brain to unlock the power of your unfocused mind.

Here’s how to start your own positive constructive daydreaming:

1. Find one or two 15-minute periods in your day – during your lunch break, after lunch, in the middle of the afternoon or at the end of the day — when you can practice unfocus.

2. During this time, do something low-key like tinkering, dabbling or doodling:

  • Tinkering with ideas and with physically objects releases your mind to wander from a state of rigidity or muddiness into a frame of mind of possibility, triggering neural connections and new insights.
  • Dabbling in a new endeavor—whether a hobby or fantasy—disrupts your habitual and reactive thinking, helping you to find new solutions to old problems.
  • Doodling can help you tap into another brain frequency to remove obstacles and create opportunities and inspiration.

3. Once you are engaged in one of these low-key activities, start imagining something positive or wishful. It could be relaxing on a sandy beach or in a hammock, visiting your favorite destination or happy, dreaming about completing a goal or imagining a blissful outcome.

Mind wandering done in this way – scheduling it, doing a low-key activity, and allowing your mind to enter into a positive vision will refresh and replenish your brain. Which will make you less stressed, more energized and more productive.

Why not give it a try? For more information visit:

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