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Erric Solomon

Can Meditation Increase Longevity Part II

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer.  Harvard psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth (right) and Daniel T. Gilbert (left) used a special "track your happiness" iPhone app to gather research. The results: We spend at least half our time thinking about something other than our immediate surroundings, and most of this daydreaming doesn't make us happy. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer. Harvard psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth (right) and Daniel T. Gilbert (left) used a special "track your happiness" iPhone app to gather research. The results: We spend at least half our time thinking about something other than our immediate surroundings, and most of this daydreaming doesn't make us happy.

About three weeks ago I blogged about how happiness can increase longevity.  So in this post we can look at study that shows that people who spend more time living in the moment are happier than people who are lost in thoughts and day dreams.

 

The study, by psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University, is described in the journal Science. You can also read a summary in the Harvard Gazette.

 

In the gazette article, Killingworth says that  “Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness, in fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.” And, as the researchers note in the journal article: “Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to ‘be here now, These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” The authors go on to note that this research “suggests these traditions are right.”

So if meditation helps you live, without distraction, in the present and happy people live longer, then meditation could help you live longer...