Focusing on the moment can lead to happiness, a new study suggests.
It seems we’re all daydreamers and dawdlers — and it may be detrimental to our happiness.
A study conducted by researchers at Harvard University suggests that people think about things other than what they are currently doing 47% of the time, according to a recent USA TODAY article.
The study set out to measure happiness, and the findings imply that we need to be more focused on the present.
When our minds wander, we’re less likely to be happy with where we are and what we’re doing at the current moment.
“Our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the nonpresent,” explained psychologist Matthew A. Killingsworth, one of the researchers, in HarvardScience.
These findings were studied by using an iPhone application that tracked people’s happiness by randomly texting or emailing a participant, asking for feedback on his or her current emotions.
The happiness tracker gave participants and researchers a report of what factors — time of day, location, etc. — made participants most happy.
Though the study focused on adults ages 18 through 88, it may have major implications for the demands of a college lifestyle: sitting in class, studying, doing work and balancing jobs and internships.
If you’re unhappy with school, it might be because you’re distracted when you’re doing work.
If you’re unhappy in class, you probably aren’t paying attention. Or it’s a boring class.
Hopefully, though, with the huge array of choices in college, you manage to fill your schedule with subjects and activities that interest you. That you can more easily focus on.
Unfortunately, distractions are pretty much inevitable. Even if a class subject is interesting, procrastination and distractions are just a click, touch, turn or thought away.
Our phones alone (or if you have a laptop in class) allow us to concentrate on anything other than where we are, whether it’s actually talking to other people, reading news, playing games, checking tweets or perusing Facebook.
Then factor in the non-virtual distractions — friends sitting next to you, that annoying group talking near you, a cute guy across the room.
And lastly, of course, consider what’s in your head — worries, daydreams. Simply thinking about other things is a distraction and can impede on your current happiness.
It’s true that our society is extremely demanding and calls for multitasking. You’re expected to be easily reachable at all times and with such fast communication, it’s easy to stray from your tasks at hand.
If you make a conscious effort to be more present, you might find yourself more satisfied with your studies or job, and in turn be a happier person.
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