I am focused on writing this article. Ooh look there is a shiny! Happiness it appears, according to a study done by Matthew Killingsworth, et al... at Harvard University in Massachusetts, is lost through lack of focus on task at hand. The study looked at the happiness levels of people who were distracted by their smartphones and found that in general, people who looked at the phones more often were less happy.
A tenet of Buddhism is to live in the present, the past and future are nothing, the only thing that is real is now. Admittedly, I do not know a lot of Buddhists but the few I do know appear happy, but if we are constantly in the present, where do the ideas for the future come. Advances in science, technology and art come from letting the mind wander and seeing what comes of it. Daydreaming is also an important part of our overall mental happiness, or is it?
"The human capacity that underlies our ability to mind wander is incredibly important, it allows us to plan for the future, process the past, imagine things that could never occur, but at the same time, the data shows that when people use this capacity it reduces their happiness." -Matthew Killingsworth
So, I am confused, (not a difficult thing for me) daydreaming is good because it allows our creativity to flourish, but it is bad because we are not focused on the present and therefore decreases our happiness level, by daydreaming about something presumably that will make us happy, like say a deserted island with a lot of rum, diet coke and books. Wow.
I have a smartphone and will admit to being somewhat addicted to the stream of news, social media updates and text messages that I get from my friends and family. My happiness level most of the time is not high up there.
I am going to give it a shot and limit myself to looking at updates to specific times of the day. Going to be hard. How about you? Do you own a smartphone and do you think this study has validity? Are you phone addicted? If you would like to take part in the ongoing study you can download the iPhone only app at http://www.trackyourhappiness.org/