Happiness Linked To Living In The Moment
A Harvard study determined that people’s minds are “wandering” about 47% of the time, and when our minds are not on the present moment, we’re usually not happy. The researchers contacted 2,250 volunteers at random moments in their lives to ask them what they were doing and what they were thinking.
The happiest people were those who were doing something that tended to focus them on the activity (making love, having a conversation, or exercising) while those who were the least happy tended to be involved in activities that allowed them to think of other things. Usually, the unhappiest people were thinking of themselves.
According to studies by Dr. Andrew Newberg at the University of Pennsylvania, who focuses on the relationships between religion and neurology, meditation and prayer activate the same portions of the brain required for focused concentration and deactivate the parts that govern how we interact with the world at large. In other words, prayer makes it physically difficult to worry.
None of this is surprising or new for those who believe the Bible. In the Gospel of Matthew as part of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives instructions on charity and prayer (activities which focus on the other rather than the self), and continues with this teaching about worry:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)
Imagine how much happier the human race would be if we would only do as Jesus said.