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Self-regulation resources and training to support children’s mental health

Why does your mind wander?

Most people spend 46.9% of their waking hours in a state of distraction

Does your mind wander? With the onset of this age of information and technology, it seems our concentration levels are dwindling! A recent study at Harvard University has shown that most people spend 46.9% of their waking hours in a state of distraction. The study found that people were thinking of anything other than what was happening around them for nearly half their time awake.

The study was conducted by Daniel T. Gilbert and Matthew A. Killingsworth both of whom are psychologists at Harvard University. In their paper which was published in the Science journal, they wrote that ‘A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,’ adding that ‘The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.’

They further observed that people’s brains seem to have a default pattern of mind wandering spending time thinking about past events, possible future events and total imaginations, all of which is unique to humans; animals only think about what is happening around them.

Killingsworth explained that ‘Mind-wandering appears ubiquitous across all activities,’ and that ‘This study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present.’

An interesting statistic emerged revealing that only 4.6% of someone’s happiness was due to their current activity, whereas 10.8% of their happiness was due to mind wandering.

To sum up, Killingsworth said, ‘Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness,’ adding that ‘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.’

So stay happy and live in the present, enjoy each and every moment. Meditation and relaxation can play a huge part in keeping us focussed and in the present.

If you are new to meditation, take some time out and sit in a quiet room free from distractions and just focus on the present moment. Relax each muscle in your body and notice what is happening around you. Try our Relax Kids meditation CDs to help improve your mindfulness and concentration levels. https://relaxkids.com/store/product-category/cds/