The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~Chinese Proverb~

Happiness: Increasing yours is not a daydream

October 21, 2012

It seems that even when listening to music, working on a craft, enjoying a walk, or a conversation our thinking mind spends up to 70% of that time daydreaming, or wandering away from what we are doing (presidential debates excluded?). This is not to say that all daydreaming is useless, but it does have consequences. 

Daydreaming does not make you happier, even if you daydream about pleasant or enjoyable things; daydream about negative things and your level of happiness will decrease 15 minutes after the daydream. This is the conclusion of a study done by Harvard University. 

It seems people who feel happy more of the time are those that stay focused on the task at hand, or on the present moment. This is what meditators have been saying for about a billion centuries, and research keeps backing it up. 

Those who meditate regularly can turn off, or disconnect from, areas of the brain active during daydreaming. Over time, they become masters at monitoring their thoughts, whether meditating or unloading a dishwasher. 

It is possible meditators have rewired their brain, creating a default setting that keeps their thoughts primarily in the present moment instead of being centered around the self. This makes sense when you think about the connection between meditation, tranquility, and compassion. 

Those of us that do not practice mindfulness or other form of meditation have a brain default setting that favors thoughts related to the self. While this does not make the self a negative, thinking continually about the self is typically a downward spiral. 

Finish reading HERE

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Sources:

AAAS: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/932.abstract
Yale News: http://news.yale.edu/2011/11/21/tuning-out-how-brains-benefit-meditation

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