We are odd creatures. We often engage in what torments us. Witness the hours we spend toggling on social media. And we chase the future (fretting, planning) and pause in the past (lamenting and being angry), when we know that being present is what brings us joy. And, then, to get even further away from what brings us joy, we distract ourselves even more. Yep, odd.

Image via Buzzfeed
Image via Buzzfeed

I read about an article in a science journal recently co-written by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. The scientists surveyed a bunch of women to look at how many of their daily activities brought them satisfaction. Oddly, the stuff they chose to do for hours at a time every, single day, as leisure – namely, watching TV – didn’t bring them satisfaction. Instead, connecting with the present did – via prayer and meditation.

This is madness. What stops us doing what we know brings us satiation and peace? Especially when it doesn’t involve large wads of cash or adjustments to our lives? Why do we toggle and distract ourselves away from it? Worth asking, right?

The antidote, of course, is to consciously commit to prioritising the stuff that does satisfy. If it’s merely mediating, or being more still, and doing less toggling – which it is for me – then let’s do it. Commit. It’s a New Year.

Have you committed to this kind of thing? Connecting more? Distracting less?

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • ingeborg

    so true. thank you for reminding us and make more happy choices

  • Daniel L

    I have committed to this exact kind of thing for some time and that is much nicer way to enjoy life more… Less of effort to multitask over lengthy period of time, leads to more harmony and happiness in life. Each day is the brand new start…
    Enjoy that cold weather over there in the most beautiful way 🙂

  • Michelle

    I totally agree with this – a relaxing day for me is cooking & being creative, with a pause in there for yoga or a walk. Spending all day watching TV (or even more than an hour) makes me feel anxious, because there are so many better things I could be doing!

  • MBee

    A short but sweet (the right kind of sweet!) and timely post. Thank you, Sarah. I have been trying to do this very thing this month. It’s bizarre how much I’ve struggled with it some days. By the way, I love the film the image is taken from…The Story of the Weeping Camel. An appropriate film for this topic if ever there was one.

  • The difficulty is that we may know intellectually that meditation, for instance, can bring peace. But the actual experience will not always be so! To sit with dissatisfaction and un-peacefulness goes against our habitual comfort-seeking patterns. It’s easier to escape into distractions. Commit, yes. Then be prepared for some hard yakka.