21 Dec 6 Tips for a Happier Mind
via Psychology Today by Tchiki Davis
It turns out that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. And these days our minds are always off somewhere. There’s a lot to think about—politics, pandemics, extreme weather, oh my!
According to a Harvard study conducted by Dr. Matt Killingsworth, our minds wander around 46.9 percent of the time, regardless of what activity we’re doing. It’s hard to even imagine a day when our minds don’t wander at least a little bit. But all that time we spend in our heads adds up, leading us to be less happy overall. How do we curb mind wandering and create a happier mind?
What Is Mind-Wandering?
Mind-wandering is defined as thoughts unrelated to whatever task or activity we’re currently engaged in. Our mind can wander to positive, negative, or neutral thoughts. When our mind is wandering, thoughts are more often focused on the future, but when we’re feeling sad, our mind-wandering may switch to focusing more on the past. In general, mind-wandering tends to be related to our current life concerns or self-relevant goals.
Regardless of what our minds are wandering to, being in our heads can make it hard for us to focus or concentrate, and frequent mind-wandering puts us in a worse mood. Perhaps this is because it’s human nature to focus on the negative — we just have an easier time thinking about the worst possible outcomes and we have a harder time thinking of the best possible outcomes. That means when we get stuck in our heads, our thoughts are more likely to be negative. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, mind-wandering is also more common among people with more depression symptoms.
Luckily, mind-wandering is something that we can control! With some effort, we can pull ourselves out of our heads and back into the present moment. By taking the right actions, we can lessen the distressing thoughts that often come from mind-wandering. If you think mind-wandering is getting you down and you want to know how to be happier, try these six tips for pulling back a wandering mind.
1. Self-Reflect on Your Mind -Wandering
Pop quiz: How often do you have thoughts running through your head? If it’s more often than you’d like, try bringing yourself back to the present moment by pausing and taking a few long deep breaths. You could also try doing a moderately challenging activity, something that keeps your mind occupied enough that your mind has a harder time wandering. Whenever possible, just try not to create stories in your mind, ruminate on the past, or play out future scenarios. Instead, focus your attention outward on what’s going on in the real world.
2. If You’re a Mind Wanderer, Stay Positive
If you’re still struggling to shut down mind-wandering, try to stay positive. Even though research suggests that mind-wandering is bad for happiness, “positive” mind-wandering seems to be the least bad. In fact, mind-wandering about positive things tends to make us just as happy as not mind-wandering at all. If you find yourself stuck in your thoughts, try to shift them to positive thoughts, for example by practicing gratitude, savoring the moment, or reframing the situation to find silver linings…
… keep reading the full & original article HERE
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