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Is a drifting mind a happy mind?

The strive for happiness seem to be an insatiable desire for many people. We throw ourselves over new remedies coming out from pundits irrespective if it’s a new book, a new method, a new speaker, a new study, a new xx, a new yy… If we scrutinise most of these topics we’ll find that most of the things aren’t new at all however packed in a new way or phrased in another way; it’s a new content but with the same meaning, form and intention as something already known. The phenomenon has been described amongst others things, in the 19th Century tale ‘The emperor’s new clothes’ by the Dane H C Andersen. We might ask ourselves what’s the driving factor behind our hunt for success and if happiness lies in new interior fittings, a family holiday or in new clothes – which we discussed earlier on this site.

In a recent study published in ‘Science’ the Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert discovered that we’re not present in the present. An article in the ‘Scientific American’ is referring to the study and it’s called ‘A wandering mind is an unhappy one’. The article and the study states that the elements of simple everyday happiness is about being focused and present on the things we undertake even though these things could be trivial – not mind challenging tasks at all. The study clearly showed that we’re happiest when thinking about what we’re doing. Even thinking of enjoyable things when performing the task (e.g. ironing a shirt) made people unhappier than those who concentrated themselves in the ironing. The happiest scenario was to not be imagining at all. As the authors of the paper elegantly summarize their work: “a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”

So maybe it’s all in this question: can I be more present in the present?

If I manage to be more present in the present – do I experience more happiness?

…and since wandering may be bad for happiness, it is fascinating to wonder why we do it…

The study published in ‘Science’

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