Chatter constantly fills our mind. It’s in our consciousness but we are often not aware of this chatter, self-talk. Our mind simply wanders a lot. When we are not thinking about anything else, it just wanders off. And often this wandering takes us into thinking that discourages us.
One of my interests is understanding how the brain works and how it impacts our lives and leadership. I’ve learned a new insight in the past few years called metacognition. It simply means thinking about what what you are thinking about.
In fact mind wandering is called our brains default mode of thinking. It’s when we are thinking about things not necessarily related to our current surroundings or activities. We worry about what might happen in the future. We fret about what happened in the past. That mind wandering leads us some brain and chemical processes that if left unchecked, leads us to unpleasant emotions like discouragement and depression and anger and fear and worry. Our brains are wired to naturally go negative.
Some researches sought to find out our emotional states when we mind wander. They developed an iphone app to do something called experience sampling, sampling people’s actual experiences in real life, often hard to do and expensive. The app contacts people throughout the day at random moments of waking hours and asks them questions. They record their answers in a database called trackyourhappiness. (you can actually be a part of this ongoing study). Thousands of people from over 90 countries have recorded hundreds of thousands of responses.
Here’s what they discovered
- Minds wander frequently, 30- 47% of the time
- When our minds wandered we are less happy
- What we think about is a better predictors of our happiness than whet they were doing.
The scripture is full of insight about our minds and our thinking and our need to think the right things.
Phil. 4.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
Prov. 23.7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: KJV
Throughout the day, stop and ask yourself, what am I thinking about. Change you thinking if it’s going negative.
Permission to use granted by author. To follow Dr. Charles Stone, go to www.charlesstone.com.