Over 500,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to expand their knowledge and improve their thinking. Work smarter, not harder with our free weekly newsletter that's full of time-tested knowledge you can add to your mental toolbox.

Are you mentally checked out?

A new study by Daniel Gilbert—author of Stumbling on Happiness—and Matthew Killingsworth, confirms something we've all suspected: most of us are ‘mentally checked out' a good portion of the time.

We developed a smartphone technology to sample people's ongoing thoughts, feelings, and actions and found (i) that people are thinking about what is not happening almost as often as they are thinking about what is and (ii) found that doing so typically makes them unhappy.

The results indicate we're checked out about half the time as our mind wanders. The study was designed to find out what kind of activities people did throughout a day, and which made them happiest. Mindwandering was just one of 22 possible activities people could list.

Researchers found that people were at their happiest when making love, exercising, or engaging in conversation. They were least happy when resting, working, or using a home computer.

If you're wondering whether the always connected world is messing with your brain, you need to run to the bookstore and buy The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brain. Or, if you just want to learn more about your brain, check out David Rock's book Your Brain At Work.

Source: Psychology Today

Filed Under: