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Elvis Chidera

A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind — Paper Summary

summary, paper, wellbeing1 min read

Authors: Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert

Date: 2010

Link: PDF

Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all.

  1. A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
  2. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.
  3. In this study the authors found that:
    • People spend almost half of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they're doing.
    • Activities matter less for people’s happiness than their mind-wandering state.
    • There is a causal relationship between mind wandering and unhappiness.
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