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A Focused Mind, is A Happier One

by Marianela Pereyra | 9 months ago

Human beings spend half the day lost in thought.

It was shocking for me to learn that we spend 50% of our entire day in our minds. Upon further thought, no pun intended, it became very clear to me that my happiest moments were spent in the now, and my unhappiest moments were spent in my wandering mind.

Unfortunately, most of us are not living in the present moment. Instead of focusing on the person, event, or task in front of us, we are contemplating events that happened in the past (we mostly replay negative events), or we are anxiously anticipating what will happen in the future. Our mind wanders like crazy, and we are a lot more unhappy because of it.

Focusing on the now will help you respond to life as it unfolds right in front of you.

In a study published in the journal Science, Drs. Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert revealed that people are happier when they are engaged in focused thought than when they are engaged in wandering thought. Even with tasks as mundane as commuting or housekeeping, the more the mind wandered, the unhappier the person became. Interestingly enough, the more focused the person was on the current task, be it driving, or ironing clothes, the happier they were.

We are wired to have wandering minds, but the good news is we can train our minds to wander less, and focus more.  

Enter mindfulness. A simple awareness around how we are feeling, and what we are thinking about, is a huge step towards living a more peaceful life. When we start to pay attention to our thoughts, little by little, we begin to change the functioning of our brain.  We do not have to escape to the mountain for solitude, or sit in silence for long periods of time. Mindfulness can be practiced daily by simply focusing on whatever task lies in front of us. This will help anchor us to the present moment.

Mindfulness isn’t hard; remembering to be mindful is the challenge.

For ex: when you wash the dishes, instead of thinking about what you have to do next, or what just happened, simply focus on the dishes, the water, and the soap. When you take a sip of your coffee/tea pay attention to the warmth of the mug, the taste, the smell. Using our senses to keep us focused on the task at hand, helps connect us to the here and now.

The simple act of fully focusing on what we are currently doing, and not letting our minds think about “what’s next”, has been proven to keep us more content and relaxed. Like with anything that requires mastery, persistence and patience are fundamental in becoming a more mindful person.

Start small. But start.We are imprisoned not by our circumstances, but by the thoughts we hold in our mind.

 

For the less your mind wanders, the happier you will be 🙂