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Do you ever find yourself struggling to focus and don’t know why?  There is a scientific explanation for what is going on inside our brains when this happens!

The reason focusing can sometimes be so hard is due to something called the ‘Default Mode Network’ or (DMN). The DMN shows increased levels of activity when we are awake and not engaged in any specific mental exercise. For example when we are daydreaming, recalling memories, envisioning the future etc

All things that we often do when we find ourselves just “thinking” without any explicit goal of thinking in mind, or when our minds are “wandering”.

But what is our Default Mode Network (DMN)?

Our DMN is a group of brain regions that show decreased levels of activity when we are focused and paying attention to a cognitive task. An overactive DMN not only makes completing tasks more difficult, but is also associated with deficits in mood.

Reducing the level of activity in this brain region seems to release control of the attention, allowing us to directed our attention for longer periods of time.

How can I help influence my DMN so I can focus?

Meditation is a technique showing strong evidence for helping with reducing the activity of the DMN. During meditation, activity is reduced and this effect persists afterwards, improving the ability to focus on the task at hand and thus improve productivity. This is a valuable skill for people of all walks of life.

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