Love making best thing to stop mind wandering
People spend nearly half their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing, a study revealed today.
Researchers at Harvard University found that people's minds wander on average 46.9 per cent of the time, when they think about things that aren't going on around them.
Participants in the survey, which analysed behaviour recorded on an iPhone web app, said they were distracted no less than 30 per cent of the time during every activity, except making love, when they were more focused than usual.
The research, published in the American journal Science, also showed that mind wandering typically made people unhappy.
People were at their happiest when exercising or engaging in conversation, but least happy when resting, working or using a home computer.
Psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, the authors of the study, found that the 2,250 volunteers spent time thinking about past, future and hypothetical events while going about their daily lives.
"Mind-wandering appears ubiquitous across all activities," said Mr Killingsworth, a doctoral student at Harvard. "This study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present."
The participants, aged between 18 and 88, were asked to select one of 22 general activities and record how happy they were while doing it, as well as whether they were thinking about their current activity or something else.
Mr Killingsworth said: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.
"Mind wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness.
"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."
The app can be downloaded for free at www.trackyourhappiness.org.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west