Studies show that chronic distraction is a direct cause of unhappiness.
Most of us desire to be productive in life, constantly moving forward towards our goals. We even wear “being too busy” as a badge of honor declaring that we are on our way to some version of success that we have in our minds. A better life we tell ourselves. The simple fact is that this way of life of racing forward (in and of itself) causes unhappiness.
There are many articles out there that speak to this, however here’s a snippet from an article in Psychology Today:
…activities with the most mind wandering included personal grooming, commuting, and, of course, working.
Daydreaming appeared to lead to unhappiness, not unhappiness leading to daydreaming. Unhappiness certainly does not help chronic pain; there are too many studies that can support that conclusion.
The article also mentions what we can do to promote mindfulness and/or focus (that antidote): meditation, exercise, sex, conversation, listening to music, walking, eating, praying, cooking, shopping, caring for children, and reading.
When we get lost in thought we can easily become overwhelmed, and even become anxious about being… anxious.
It’s easy to see how chronic distraction creates conditions for racing thoughts and anxiety, which causes unhappiness.
So how can we still maintain our productive lives and be happy? Meditation. Plain and simple.
It’s clear to me that meditation is nature’s most powerful anti-depressant in existence for a number of reasons, but most practically it’s because meditation teaches us to focus our minds in a relaxed state, therefore our minds aren’t constantly racing and reacting to the world.
When is the last time you did absolutely nothing undisturbed?
Not planning the next thing, or dwelling on the last thing?
The present moment sounds like a familiar, ordinary place we live. And yet, most of us hardly visit, much less live in this place. The truth is, we spend hardly any time in the present moment.
Oddly enough, the quality of our life has nothing to do with the events that happen to us, as much as how we are conditioned to experience what happens to us. Both the “good” and the “bad.” With meditation practice we can recondition ourselves to let the negative events simply pass through or around us, teaching us along the way. We can equally learn how to amplify and savor the positive moments through mindful living.
I was taught from my mentor that there is no right or wrong experience to have while meditating, however we need a basic framework to work from in order to set the stage for a meditative state to occur.
Here’s a tip:
Meditation isn’t about having any thoughts or emotions enter your awareness because this would entail control, and control is a contracted state. Ideally we want to let go, and let Flow.
We want to step back and become the Observer of our thoughts and emotions as they come and go, without judgement and with a relaxed, focused mind.