We spend a lot of time being stuck in our heads. Our ability to take long walks to nowhere in our minds, revisit old conversations, think of unsaid comebacks or what’s for dinner is exclusive to us as human beings but this gift is also a curse because it actually makes us unhappy.
Research says that we spend about 46% of our day in our heads… simply wandering, thinking about anything other than what we’re actually doing. Say if we were up for 16 hours a day, 46% of that is a whopping 7.36 hours! Over seven hours spent being ‘away’ from reality, lost in our own thoughts and not fully experiencing the present moment.
In a research study by psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University, they write, “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” Killingsworth and Gilbert write. “The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”
What can we do to reel this wandering mind in, you ask? We’ve got three practical tips:
TIP #1: Breakfast Brain Dump
At breakfast every morning, try doing a three-page, unfiltered brain dump of anything and everything that’s in your head. Don’t judge, don’t censor, just write it all down. This will help get all those random, floaty thoughts down on paper and clear your mind before you start the day.
Bonus: it’s also a fun thing to reread when you’re less half-asleep!
TIP #2: Dedicate to Meditate
Set aside 10 minutes in the morning (pre or post brain dump) to calm your noisy mind. Meditation can help bring focus to the here and now and give you space to set your intention for the day. It also helps us observe what’s really going on inside when we’re not distracted by our sight. Allow yourself this time to breathe and just be. You really deserve this.
Bonus: Check out our Spotify playlist – Grounding for Meditation
TIP #3: List It Down
If you find yourself thinking about an endless list of things to do or plans to make, write it down. You don’t have to remember all of it… this is why we have pen and paper! You can also practice this method whenever your brain feels noisy. Just write down all the thoughts that are going on in your head and look at what you can work on or acknowledge and what doesn’t serve you. Getting it down on paper does wonders, trust us.
Bonus: Muji has the cleanest, simplest, non-distracting stationery ever. They also come in real handy sizes. We love our stationery if you can’t tell by now.
Mind Your Mind
You have control over how much wandering you’d like your mind to do. This week, just try catching yourself whenever your mind wanders. Starting to think about that one random time that thing happened? Pause and return to the moment. Breathe and focus on how your belly rises and falls with each breath. You are here, now. Also, less wandering = more happiness. Basic math, guys.