Human-beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all.
Indeed, “stimulus-independent thought” or “mind wandering” appears to be the human brain’s default mode of operation.
Although this ability is a remarkable evolutionary achievement that allows people to learn, reason, and plan, it comes at an emotional cost.
Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to “be here now”.
These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device