The human mind is the only mind with the ability to think about more than one thing at once, worry about the future, or ruminate excessively about the past. We are the only animal brain that spends as much as 50% of our time thinking about things other than the events we are engaged in at the moment. Just since beginning this post, I have thought about my schedule, hurtful people, what is for lunch, and how cute my dachshund is. While the ability to multi-task may help us on some levels, research is showing that mind wandering too much leads to poor health and unhappiness. Harvard research psychologists Killingsworth and Gilbert conducted a study on mind wandering and happiness using an app called Track Your Happiness. The study followed over 1000 people who at random times across the day reported their activities, thoughts, and happiness level. The study revealed that those who in engaged in the most mind wandering were the least happy. Wishing they were somewhere else, ruminating about the past, worrying about the future, and focusing on others’ negative behavior were examples of some of the mind wandering thoughts the participants reported. Those who were the most engaged in current activities; feeling purposeful, and who dealt with adversity in a resilient manner were the happiest.
Cellular Health Impacts
As I have shared in the past few weeks, our telomeres (the ends of our chromosomes) play a HUGE role in how healthy we age, how long we struggle with pain and disease, and our overall quality of life as we age. Depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, lack of exercise, and unhealthy nutrition makes our telomeres shorten. Shortened telomeres lead to poor health, disease, and a lower quality of life. A wandering mind leads to an unhealthy life. Being happy is healthy and only comes with an engaged, present moment mind. There are so many types of meditation, exercises, and other ways to increase your focus and ability to stay present in the moment. There are free online videos and classes you can attend in person. Health is more than just eating and exercise. It is about the way we think of the world, the way we see others, and how resilient we are. Please begin as soon as possible to work on your present moment focus. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is a life. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!