Mental tip: Take 10 minutes for daydreaming.

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Take 10 minutes for Daydreaming
Science is now supporting what many brilliant people already do: When you're stumped on a problem, the best way to solve it is to let your mind wander. "The right hemisphere—the sensory part of the brain that's activated when you daydream—has more and wider-reaching branches, so it has the power to make the less obvious associations," says Mark Jung-Beeman, PhD, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University. One effective way to daydream, according to Jung-Beeman, is to go somewhere with as little outside stimuli as possible and think pleasant thoughts. Even if you don't solve the problem, you'll be calmer and more clearheaded.

Sara Reistad-Long is a writer living in New York. She has written for Esquire and The New York Times.