The goal is to use each form of attention effectively and learn how to shift between them.

ACTIVE ATTENTION (eg. studying)
– focussed attention has limited capacity and is easily fatigued

PASSIVE ATTENTION (eg. TV or internet surfing)
– occurs when attention is grabbed by whatever sticks out, especially novelty or danger

MIND-WANDERING (eg. day-dreaming)
– mind-wandering is the brain’s default mode and occurs about 50% of the time
– the stream of consciousness is a jumble of fantasies, memories, arguments and rehearsals

– to cope with distracting thoughts, write them down and deal with them later
– to get a new perspective, return to a task after taking a break or a night’s sleep
– to refocus wandering attention, focus on immediate perceptions and sensations
– to restore fatigued attention, take regular breaks and vary activities
– allow time for passive attention and mind wandering
– use mindfulness techniques to counter worry and rumination

– How to Focus a Wandering Mind
– Soft Fascination
– How to Build a Happier Brain