Studies show a "wandering mind" is less happy - even if it's "happy thoughts"...

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posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 09:33 PM
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Us News.com

...We text incessantly while watching TV and phone mom during laundry-folding time. And all the while our minds are wandering—even when we're having pleasant daydreams—we're not very happy, according to a new study published today in the journal Science. "How often peoples' minds wander is definitely a big predictor of who's happy and who's not happy," says study author Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University, because the more often they take themselves out of the present moment, the less happy they are... The study found that happiness falls when folks aren't focused on the task at hand, even an unenjoyable one, like doing errands....




Blog.Ted.com

While most people think of mind-wandering as a lifting escape from daily drudgery, the Track Your Happiness data shows that this may not the case. In fact, mind-wandering appears to be correlated with unhappiness. When people were mind-wandering, they reported feeling happy only 56% of the time. Meanwhile, when they were focused on the present moment, they reported feeling happy 66% of the time. This effect was true regardless of the activity the person was doing — be it waiting in a traffic jam or eating a delicious dinner. (Read Killingsworth’s study, published in the journal Science in 2010, to see a breakdown of mind-wandering rates by activity.)

According to Killingsworth’s data, people mind-wander most when in the shower and least when they are having sex. But, still, mind-wandering is a constant. Overall, people mind-wander 47% of the time. Perhaps not such a good thing if it relates to unhappiness,


This is very interesting to me because, the ancients (from older religions/spiritual) were always talking about being here and now in the moment and now there is actual evidence to show that it increases happiness. It is very interesting that even when people were thinking happy thoughts while they were doing something that they did not like, it still lowered their happiness.

And of course we know the effects of Gratitude on The Brain and Heart [source], its 31 Benefits including improving the immune system for better health and increasing happiness [Source].

Imagine taking the two most effective things for good health and happiness (appreciation and being focused on the now) and combined them. People are more happy with one, imagine if both were applied. Focusing on APPRECIATING now. Focusing on your thankfulness for this arising moment, your appreciating all of the things that are appearing currently, and if you naturally do not "like it" find ways how you can be appreciative of this moment anyway. All is well...




posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 09:38 PM
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i agree with that statement. being "here and now" makes everything from food to looking out the window to fixing a flat tire 10x more enjoyable or at the very least, not stressful.



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 09:40 PM
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reply to post by arpgme
 


I disagree with the article stating that the wandering mind means you're 'not happy' as opposed to 'not happy enough', or maybe they just used bad wording. The way they make it seem, if you're not happy then you are sad, which is black-white mentality, maybe they meant something else I guess.


But yeah, truth is our imaginations tend to be more happier for us regardless of our current situation. Imagination is powerful and beautiful thing.
edit on 10-12-2012 by mr10k because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 09:42 PM
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So daydreaming when you are stuck in class shows I am less happy then when I am out of class ...

squirrel!

Sorry, what was I saying?



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 09:44 PM
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F#$& what studies show



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 10:10 PM
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the ancients (from older religions/spiritual) were always talking about being here and now in the moment and now there is actual evidence to show that it increases happiness.

Increased awareness is surely a better thing than being distracted. Today, distraction away from the here and now screams at us from every corner. Dulls our minds, makes us suggestible... huh, what?

I think everyone has a "thought stream" as it were. Are we floating along in the river of our mind clutching at straw in a vain effort to stay afloat? Or sitting on the river bank watching our thought stream go by?

I think its okay to entertain thoughts or drift along solving a problem. Everyone does that to some degree. Just don't step off a curb while texting mmm, okay?

And practice not being distracted to some degree... its called meditation.

Not the kind where you drift along, but the kind where you practice staying in the room.
edit on 10-12-2012 by intrptr because: spelling



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 10:31 PM
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In the future nobody will mind-wander during the day. Everybody will live like machines with perfectly controlled thoughts and happy smiley faces. I for one welcome our new robot overlords.

So if I'm in a class I am not enjoying and my mind wanders... then I am doing it wrong. I need to just do it and then I'll be happier. Yes, just do it. Do it and do it and do it and do it.

...and do it and do it and do it and do it and do it and do it.

Sorry, reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The man wipes the bad memories from his mind. It's a trend in society. Everybody has to be happy or they need to be "fixed".

If somebody wants to be fixed then fine. What if they don't? It's worrying.

More and more things are being controlled. Losing more and more freedoms. People work so darn much they have no ability to tolerate things outside their overly structured life.

There'll always be rebels. You can't control everybody. Life desires freedom. We obviously need some rules and roads, but how far will they take us in a billion years? Will our species die someday?

I remember a dream I had. I was reading a book or something. It was about civilization. I saw prisoners escaping from a prison. But it turned out that the prison was civilization. There was somebody there and they told me that civilization is limited by this desire humans have for freedom. So I was led to believe that freedom can be good and bad, depending on what we're escaping from? If we're escaping from something "good" then why would we do that? That was the implication.
edit on 10-12-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 11:10 PM
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Unless you have ideal situation, which is the vast minority of people, many who's daily lives are being trapped, waiting day in and day out for a life, and or in unbearable and torturous situations, after some meditation in the "here and now" and after much prayer to improve circumstances, there is simply no reason to stay in this realm, and so most escape into other places. Don't blame them one bit, and consider it a blessing to be able to do so.
This world is pathetic for most people.



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 01:52 AM
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reply to post by mr10k
 



Originally posted by mr10k
The way they make it seem, if you're not happy then you are sad, which is black-white mentality, maybe they meant something else I guess.


You either feel good (ok/peaceful/well) or you do not.


Originally posted by mr10k
truth is our imaginations tend to be more happier for us regardless of our current situation. Imagination is powerful and beautiful thing.


The article(s) simply said that even if you are mind-wandering about something that makes you "happy" you are still less happy than when just focusing on what's going on in the moment, which was one of the most interesting parts of the article for me.

reply to post by winterkill
 



Originally posted by winterkill
So daydreaming when you are stuck in class shows I am less happy then when I am out of class ...


I think you missed the entire point. It's not about what you are doing, it's about whether your mind is wandering or not.

reply to post by jonnywhite
 



Originally posted by jonnywhite
In the future nobody will mind-wander during the day. Everybody will live like machines with perfectly controlled thoughts and happy smiley faces. I for one welcome our new robot overlords.

So if I'm in a class I am not enjoying and my mind wanders... then I am doing it wrong. I need to just do it and then I'll be happier. Yes, just do it. Do it and do it and do it and do it.


This is not about your actions, this is about your focus. Freedom deals with action, what one is allowed and not allowed to do.

reply to post by Unity_99
 



Originally posted by Unity_99
...after some meditation in the "here and now" and after much prayer to improve circumstances, there is simply no reason to stay in this realm, and so most escape into other places. Don't blame them one bit, and consider it a blessing to be able to do so.
This world is pathetic for most people.


The world looks worse than it is when we create a picture of how we THINK it should be in our minds and then compare it to the reality...

As for suffering people:

If someone is suffering in my presence (that I am aware of), I can do something to help.
Once the suffering is done, it's done, no need to keep reliving it.
If a person is not suffering in my presence and I can't do anything about it,
whether I worry or not will change nothing - so I can just let it go..
edit on 11-12-2012 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 02:06 AM
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Here is a video talking about the study and going into more information about:
This is very interesting (to me).




posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 02:46 AM
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reply to post by arpgme
 


Interesting, I cannot say i'm surprised though. I think it is quite well known, and the study is there just to strengthen that suggestion.

That is true even with people who conform and obey, like they have no mind at all (at least they are not in a rush to really use it). It is very easy to be happy when you don't think much, that's why often people are keeping themselves busy all day long.

Unless people are in the flow and living in the moment, and yet pay attention to their thoughts without participating in it. The bad things begin when you ignore your thoughts completely and seize their natural flow, or when you believe that your thoughts are real. In the latter, it can make people extremely miserable, until they realize it is total nonsense or they are back in the flow again.


Interesting read arpgme, S&F
edit on 11-12-2012 by Shuye because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 03:30 AM
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reply to post by arpgme
 


Most people live almost constantly with the mind chatter. Even when someone is talking to them their minds are translating what is being heard so they aren't really hearing what is being said - instead they hear the translation. The translation is no more than an interpretation of what is being seen or heard. The glory of god is lost in translation.

Only when the mind is still and empty can the glory of god be seen and heard.



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 04:10 AM
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It is natural to let the mind roam into imagination or creation by humans would be impossible. It is also natural to stay fixed in your mind for focus, attention, discipline and so on.

Neither makes us happy or unhappy but extremes are never good. Balance of everything in life is needed to make us truly happy.



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 05:16 AM
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reply to post by BlavatskyChannel
 



Originally posted by BlavatskyChannel
It is natural to let the mind roam into imagination or creation by humans would be impossible.


This isn't true because creation (new ideas) can arise spontaneously in the mind from this present moment.


Originally posted by BlavatskyChannel
Neither makes us happy or unhappy


This is not true. Take a look at the study.



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 08:05 AM
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reply to post by arpgme
 


When mind wandering, one is fragmented. The mind speaks and one can be lost in thought.
Thought can only arise presently and if you see the thoughts arise and don't get caught in them but just see them as clouds appearing they will not lead you astray.

See and hear the mind speaking and you will get be lost in thought, lost in time.



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 11:49 AM
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Reading through this thread I just... *gasp*. No words.

I don't understand the mentality of most of the people in this thread.

If this is a cross-section of society then I guess I'm not surprised.

All I have to say is.... Robots.

I picture a line of kids in school, all of them in perfect order and their eyes straight ahead. You can have it. I'll fight with every ounce of energy I have to ensure it doesn't happen. No, I don't mean pick up arms and fight you that way. I mean presenting counter-arguments and mind-wandering and not always being in the present moment. Everything in the core of my being is repulsed by this thread.
edit on 11-12-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 11:57 AM
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Originally posted by jonnywhite
You can have it. I'll fight with every ounce of energy I have to ensure it doesn't happen.
edit on 11-12-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)


What are you going to fight? So what doesn't happen?



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 11:59 AM
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reply to post by Itisnowagain
 

If you have to ask then you're already long gone.

Enjoy your happiness, since that's all that matters, right?
edit on 11-12-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by jonnywhite
reply to post by Itisnowagain
 

If you have to ask then you're already long gone.

Enjoy your happiness, since that's all that matters, right?
edit on 11-12-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)


Happiness is all that matters. When you are happy you do not spread misery. The misery felt is laid upon all you see.
edit on 11-12-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 12:10 PM
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Being ADD I can attest to the fact that wondering thoughts impede happiness.
It interferes with focus, with without can seriously impede your goals in life and the ability to complete tasks.

Trouble being able to pay attention, lost jobs because of that.

And other things like frustration due to being overwhelmed by all the stuff you are not focused on.

You want to talk about wandering thoughts impeding happiness?

I'll be on medication soon, and I can't bloody wait! 43 years of trying to cope with life.





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