Mindfulness: The missing piece to happiness

In today’s day and age, we are exposed to more information in one day, than an individual in the 50’s was in their entire lives. Kind of shocking isn’t it? Between checking our phones, watching television, or browsing the web on our computers, we are constantly distracted from being present in what we are doing. As a means of coping, we have been taught to “multitask”, but is this really solving the problem? Our attention spans are decreasing, our stress levels are going up, and we can’t seem to figure out why. The average individual now checks their phone 150 times a day. When focusing on a task at hand, it takes roughly one minute to get back to fully focusing on a task at hand if you’ve been distracted by your phone. Doing the math, that comes out to 8 hours a week, or a full day wasted. Even having your phone on silent and feeling the vibration in your pocket, causes us to make 28 percent more errors during tasks that require our full attention.

So what is the solution? Surely, throwing away our phones and reverting back to a less technologically advanced world is a bit impractical. Change begins within the self. Developing a fundamental understanding of when our attention is wandering off, and gently bringing it back is one of the key components of building mindfulness skills. Doing this repeatedly improves your concentration over time. It allows you to quiet your mind. It allows you to go easier on yourself, and not feel bombarded my information as heavily. By developing a greater awareness, and using our devices less, we create an skill that allows us to be more present in what we are doing, and ultimately have happier more fulfilling lives.

This article was summarized from Richard Chambers “Mindfulness: Defeating distraction and amplifying awareness”. The full video can be found on Ted Talks.