The signs that someone’s mind is wandering.
You see this in social interaction when someone seems not attentive to an ongoing conversation.
This is frustrating and sometimes insulting. But how can you tell that someone is not listening to you?
One study found an indicator if someone’s mind is wandering. Rapid eye blinks suggest that someone is not listening to you.
When the brain is focusing on something, the eyes tend to blink faster. In a conversation, this could mean that a person is thinking something else rather than about the conversation.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Daniel Smilek concluded:
“And we thought, Ok, if that’s the case, maybe we’d see that the body would start to do things to prevent the brain from receiving external information. The simplest thing that might happen is you might close your eyes more.”
In the study, the participants were instructed to read a book. Their eye movements were monitored. Intermittently they were asked whether or not they pay attention to what they were reading.
The researchers found that people tend to blink their eyes when their thinking shifts its focus.
During a conversation, noticing that someone’s mind is wandering can be frustrating. However, when this happens to you, it may also be unproductive. You lose your focus on something needed to be done.
So how can you prevent your mind from wandering?
Here are the three ways you can do to prevent mind-wandering and achieve more focus.
1. Keep your mind busy
Attention does not last long making it a scarce resource. Students who study 2-3 hours a day actually don’t do better during exams. Why? Because focus only lasts for 25-30 minutes.
But there’s something you can do. Accordingly, a little noise could reduce distraction. Experts suggest that if you fill your mind with distractions, there’s no room for additional distraction. In this way, you can keep your focus longer.
2. Test yourself constantly
Another way to tame your wandering mind is to check it constantly. According to studies, checking your mind often allows it to remember more from the previously read material. So it is advisable to test your mind more often. Make sure that you remind it of what is needed to learn.
3. Get a nap
It is easy to lose focus when your mind is tired. So before the exam, or after the intensive review, don’t forget to take a nap. Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation. Studies found that taking a nap or sleep for a few hours after studying helps retain more information.
These tips will not only help you notice when someone’s mind is wandering but also allows you to prevent your mind from wandering.
Focus, and get everything you want.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.