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See Inside March / April 2011

Lose Focus, Lose Happiness

A wandering mind may bring you down

Daydreaming may boost creativity, but a new study from psychologists at Harvard University suggests that letting your mind wander may also lead to unhappiness. The researchers had more than 2,000 study participants use an iPhone application that randomly asked them to report their current activity and state of mind. The results indicate that people’s minds wander an awful lot: of the 22 activities subjects could choose from, sex was the only one not associated with distraction. Minds were wandering at least 30 percent of the time during everything else from work to conversation—and the more people reported being distracted, the lower they reported their mood. There may be something to “living in the moment” after all.

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