Mind Wandering & Happiness.
In a recent study entitled "A wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind" Harvard researcher Mathew Killingsworth set out to detirmine the biggest influences on happiness.
To investigate this Killingsworth developed an iphone app called Track Your Happiness. The app contacts people at random times throughout the day and asks:
1. A happiness question: How do you feel right now?(On a scale from bad to good)
2. An activity question: What are you doing?
3. A mind wandering question: Are you thinking about something other than what you are currently doing?
The results from 2200 respondents were as follows.
- Approximately 47% of the time, people's minds are wandering.
- People are substantially less happy when their minds wonder than when their minds are on the task at hand. This is true even in the midst of a seemingly boring task, such as commuting to work.
- When minds wander, people often think of unpleasant things, which makes them enormously less happy. Even when people have pleasant thoughts they are still less happy than if their mind is not wandering.
Tip for the Month: Begin to get a sense of how often your mind wanders, and how this impacts your mood. If your mind is wondering, are you able to bring your mind back to the task at hand? What if anything, changes?