I am sure you have been pestered by your own wandering mind when it refuses to stay focused on the object(s) you are trying to pay attention. In some sense, it is not entirely personal: for some, mind wanders a lot and for others it wanders little less. It does wander nonetheless.
In addition to its usual annoyance of reduced productivity and efficiency, mind-wandering is said to hike up the risk for unhappiness, depression, reduction in telomere length, etc.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, is proving to be an effective antidote to mind-wandering. It does so by working on default mode network (DMN) of the brain. DMN is a collection of the circuits in the brain which are suspected to be involved in mind-wandering. Recent studies of experienced mindfulness practitioners have also shown that their DMN starts to dial down when investigated under fMRI.
One such current study also supports the idea that regular practice of mindfulness can support brain areas involved in taming mind-wandering. The study demonstrates that mere 20 minutes of daily mindfulness practice strengthens the functional relationship between the DMN, which instigate mind-wandering, and Salience Network (anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex), which makes us aware when our mind has drifted away from the object of attention.
If you are interested in learning mindfulness skills, please join me in my next Intro to Mindfulness Practice Course. It starts on October 30, 2015 and only 2 spots are available now. Register Here.