Living in the Moment Is Very Powerful
Two Harvard University psychologists have set out to prove that living in the moment or being in the now is very powerful if you want to remain happy.
Research found that 50 percent of people don't live in the moment. They are thinking about something other than what they are doing the wandering mind typically makes one unhappy.
“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” wrote psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University who used an iPhone web app to gather 250,000 data points on people's thoughts, feelings, and actions as they went about their lives.
The authors wrote that, “The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost. Mind-wandering appears ubiquitous across all activities,” says Killingsworth, “This study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present.”
“Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness,” Killingsworth says. “In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.”
The researchers estimated that only 4.6 percent of a person’s happiness in a given moment was attributable to the specific activity he or she was doing, whereas a person’s mind-wandering status accounted for about 10.8 percent of his or her happiness.
Many people may have heard about staying in the moment because of the great success of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. In his million selling book he emphasizes that nothing exists outside this present moment and how important our happiness is if we stay in the here and now.
Researchers using an iPhone web app have now proven that. In fact, more than 5,000 people are now using the iPhone web app the researchers have developed to study happiness. You can find that app at www.trackyourhappiness.org.