New research from America’s Harvard University shows people spend nearly half of their waking hours daydreaming, and not thinking about what they are actually doing. Moreover, they say this mind wandering is a sign of unhappiness. The study, to be published in the journal ‘Science,’ surveyed the thoughts and moods of over 2,200 volunteers. The participants downloaded an iPhone app and sent more than 250,000 messages during the day and night. Researchers Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conclude that most of us are in another world for more than 46 per cent of our waking hours, and that means we are unhappy: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” they said.
Dr Killingsworth said “mind-wandering” was “ubiquitous across all activities” in our daily lives. His study found that we are happiest when exercising, chatting with friends or making love and least happy when working or using our computer at home. He added: "Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness,” and that “our mental lives are filled, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present”. Professor Gilbert believes daydreaming is one of the things that make us human. He said: “Unlike other animals, 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.”