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A wandering mind is an unhappy mind

“Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to ‘be here now,’” Killingsworth and Gilbert note in Science. “These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
This new research, the authors say, suggests that these traditions are right.




  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Wow - really? "Killingsworth and Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, found that people were happiest when making love, exercising, or engaging in conversation. They were least happy when resting, working, or using a home computer."

    Guess I'm just not typical human bean, then. I am very happy when resting, working or using a home computer. Go figure!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Most people don't like their jobs, unfortunately. I didn't, so I quit 7 years ago and have zero, zilch, nada interest in ever going back, lol. I suspect many people would report being "bored" when they are not actively doing something so they don't like resting or computer time as they identify those things with being bored. Sex and exercise both produce endorphins but also distract us highly from anything else because we are focused. I treasure my quiet time. It is when I am busy and distracted that I am unhappy. Not that I don't enjoy both sex and exercise though, lol. Computer, however, is often a distraction and feature of boredom for me. Sometimes I am genuinely doing something on it that contributes to being happy. But not always.

    It made me wonder how much people reported being unhappy when they weren't distracted, though. And in that case, it is just another false happiness if you ask me. It almost seemed like the premise of "being present" wasn't quite what they got out of the study, though maybe it was just that article. People are happiest when they are focused which could be because they are present. Or it could be because they perceive themselves as not bored due to the distraction. Being completely focused on something is difficult, and I bet even those who were happy exercising had wandering minds while they ran or lifted weights. Just they identified with happiness because of the hormones. It would be interesting to read more about the study.

  • A wandering mind is Mara's playground.

  • @silver. Gee there are more than a few us that just don't fit the mold. There is a great song from the 60's. "Glory,Glory Psychotherapy. Sung by Melanie. Its a hoot and a half.

  • "About 47% of waking hours spent thinking about what isn’t going on." So on average people are only "in the present" for about half the time. Scary!

  • Happiness is not to believe in what the twisted brain tells you , it is unfortunatly afraid everything . Just let these thoughts pass like clouds.

  • Its not rocket science. If a mind had legs it would be dying from exhaustion everyday.

  • When I start chasing my tail exhaustion comes quickly. Followed pretty soon by a nap.

  • Wander, wander, wander..Head 'em up! Move 'em out! Move 'em out! Head 'em up! Wander, wander, wander...
    A wondering mind is a perilous mind indeed. (endangered too :3)

  • Tee. Hee.

    Forget the mind. You don't need it, wandering, wondering, wavering and wobbly ... oh wait that is just me ... :3

    Heart centered. Steady Now!

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