Another intriguing piece from the Greater Good website came through by email this week. No excuse to keep grumbling then! Below is short extract: for the full post see link.
This article is derived from a talk given by Richard Davidson, neuroscientist and founder at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, at the Greater Good Science Center’s Mindfulness & Well-Being at Work conference.
Well-being is a skill.
All of the work that my colleagues and I have been doing leads inevitably to this central conclusion. Well-being is fundamentally no different than learning to play the cello. If one practices the skills of well-being, one will get better at it.
Based on our research, well-being has four constituents that have each received serious scientific attention. Each of these four is rooted in neural circuits, and each of these neural circuits exhibits plasticity—so we know that if we exercise these circuits, they will strengthen. Practicing these four skills can provide the substrate for enduring change, which can help to promote higher levels of well-being in our lives. . . . .
The third building-block of well-being may surprise you. It’s attention.
To paraphrase the title of a very important paper that was published several years ago by a group of social psychologists at Harvard, “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” In this particular study, researchers used smartphones to query people as they were out and about in the real world, essentially asking three questions:
- What are you doing right now?
- Where is your mind right now? Is it focused on what you’re doing, or is it focused elsewhere?
- How happy or unhappy are you right now?
Across a large group of adults in America, researchers found that people spend an average of 47 percent of their waking life not paying attention to what they’re doing. Forty-seven percent of the time!
Can you envision a world where that number goes down a little, by even 5 percent? Imagine what impact that might have on productivity, on showing up, on being present with another person and deeply listening.