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Why Our Minds Wander

IONS Scientist Arnaud Delorme explains the science so you can learn how to focus your thoughts.

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Understand The Science

We all daydream; we’ve all experienced that moment when we suddenly realise that instead of paying attention in a meeting or reading a book, our mind has wandered. In that moment our conscious mind has detached from the current task at hand and drifted elsewhere.

Our attention is a powerful lens which allows us to pick out and filter relevant details from the vast amounts of information our brains receive – so how does our brain decide where to go when it wanders, why does it focus on one thing over another? How important is daydreaming and why do we do it?

Traditionally daydreaming was considered to be a single state of mind. However, recent research has shown that not only are there different states of daydreaming, these states are actually governed by different neurological pathways, meaning not all mind wandering is the same!

Here, Arnaud Delorme PhD examines the science and theory behind why we daydream, examining its potential purpose. He shows you how to tame your ‘monkey mind’ and offers easy techniques that will enable you to develop the skill of mind wandering to improve your mood and foster greater creativity.

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About the Author

Arnaud Delorme, PhD

Arnaud Delorme, PhD has been studying human consciousness for the last 20 years. He is a scientist at IONS, a CNRS Research Director in Toulouse, France, and a senior Research Scientist at the University of California, San Diego. He is a long-time Zen meditator, and has taught in India on the neural correlates of conscious experience in a Master’s degree program for the Birla Institute of Technology. He is the author of some 160+ peer-reviewed publications, and is best known for developing the EEG software that is now the most-used in EEG research worldwide.

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Practices to Curb Your Wandering Mind


Concentrative meditation practices like mindfulness and mantra meditation have been proven to decrease mind wandering.

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring techniques are a set of methods that aim to help individuals reframe and challenge their negative thoughts, which are often distorted or biased.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy

ACT focuses on acceptance and redirecting attention towards values, goals, or meaningful activities that bring happiness and fulfillment.

Navigate the thought diagram

Test where your thoughts lie in the thought diagram which represents mental states along two axes: meta-awareness and reification.

The happiness meter

Use the happiness meter to make decisions that increase our overall happiness and peace.

And many more…

See how other techniques like the Sedona Method, The Work, EFT, and EMDR, can help your curb your mind wandering.

Learn How to Focus Your Thoughts

Why Our Minds Wander is aimed at new and intermediate seekers looking for practical advice, backed up by science and from an expert in the field. Arnaud Delorme offers easy techniques that will enable you to develop the skill of mind wandering to improve your mood and foster greater creativity.

What People Are Saying About the Book

Deepak Chopra, MD

Dr. Arnaud Delorme delves deep into the mysteries of daydreaming in his latest book. Unveiling the diverse neurological pathways of mind wandering, he offers a compelling exploration of how our thoughts are formed and how they shape our perception of the world, integrating scientific rigor with the wisdom of ancient meditation practices.

— Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, Author, Physician, Integrative Medicine Pioneer

We all do it. We all day dream. You are likely doing it right now as you read this endorsement, but that’s good news because IONS research scientist Dr. Arnaud Delorme is on a mission to show the world that far from being a waste of time, mind wandering can become the very best use of your time.

Your thoughts are central to who you are. If you have ever been curious about how your mind works, and how to make your thoughts work for you rather than against you, this book is seminal – destined to become a science meets spirit classic read.

Theresa Cheung, Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling dreams and spiritual author, host of White Shores

Dean Radin, MS, PhD

Why Our Minds Wander explores the mystery of our wandering minds, a subject of enduring interest to anyone engaged in a meditative practice, or just curious why it is so challenging to maintain tightly focused attention. Arnaud Delorme skillfully merges what is known about mind wandering from cognitive psychology and the neurosciences, but this book is not just a dry scientific treatise. Instead, Delorme proposes that the brain is more than a machine; it may also be a transducer of consciousness, viewed as a fundamental aspect of the fabric of reality. Highly recommended for those seeking to tame, or at least to understand, the ever-wandering mind.

Dean Radin, PhD, IONS Chief Scientist, and author, Real Magic, and other books

Join Dr. Arnaud Delorme on a fascinating journey into the human mind. His book not only uncovers the complex science behind daydreaming but also harmonizes it with timeless meditation teachings. This rare blend provides profound insights into taming and harnessing our thoughts to reshape our reality.

Thomas Brophy, PhD, President, California Institute for Human Science, and author

Mark Gober

Dr. Arnaud Delorme’s book deconstructs the ubiquitous phenomenon of mind wandering. Even beyond that, he explores the fundamental nature of thoughts themselves. This deep and introspective exercise is much more than an intellectual foray, however. In fact, it is essential to us all—for the management of everyday living and overall wellbeing. The book’s synthesis of science and practical exercises is nothing short of profound.

— Mark Gober, award-winning author of An End to Upside Down Thinking and Board member at the Institute of Noetic Sciences

Jonathan Schooler, PhD

With the perspective and tools that this book provides, readers will be equipped to both effectively manage their mind wandering and to discover for themselves the potential unique ways in which they flow down the stream of consciousness.

Jonathan Schooler, PhD, Distinguished Professor UC Santa Barbara

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