The Secret to Happiness -- The World's Worst Kept Secret


It appears that psychologists at Harvard University have finally discovered the secret to happiness. And what is the secret...? That a wandering mind is a sign of unhappiness and that we are most happy when we are focused on the task at hand.

From The New York Times:

“Even if you’re doing something that’s really enjoyable,” Mr. Killingsworth says, “that doesn’t seem to protect against negative thoughts. The rate of mind-wandering is lower for more enjoyable activities, but when people wander they are just as likely to wander toward negative thoughts.”

Whatever people were doing, whether it was having sex or reading or shopping, they tended to be happier if they focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else. In fact, whether and where their minds wandered was a better predictor of happiness than what they were doing.

Of course, this is only what the great masters, mystics and saints of all cultures throughout history have been telling us for 1000s of years. But I guess now it's official. They even used an iPhone app to reach this conclusion!

OK, all snarky-ness aside (I couldn't resist), I really do think this is great. The more we are encouraged to live in the present moment -- whatever the source of that encouragement -- the better life will be for all of us.