Daydreaming, coasting on autopilot or absent mindedness are names sometimes given to mind-wandering. The experience usually happens when someone is involved in a task that is demanding but at times not very interesting. In fact when a person’s mind does not wander it is an indicator of how happy they are in the present and the activity they are engaged in. Research on this subject has determined that people spend about 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other then what they are doing. Problem is that these hours spent mind-wandering are not happy hours and can come at an emotional cost. Unlike animals, humans have a tendency to ruminate on the past and contemplate on what may happen in the future instead of taking part in the present and what it has to offer. In a research study of 2,250 people who were surveyed on 22 different activities, happiest activities were love-making, exercising and good conversation. The most unhappiest activities which encouraged mind wandering were resting, working at what was not their passion, or using a home computer. So it seems that a person’s mind-wandering is the cause, not the consequence, for a person’s unhappiness. Many philosophical and religious traditions teach their practitioners to live in the moment and resist mind wandering. All their teachings emphasize that not being present leaves more room for making errors while performing important tasks by limiting mental capacity. At times mind-wandering can expose one to an innovative idea but the majority of time spent daydreaming has proven to be more of a drain. Take time to fully engage your mind in what is surrounding you. Take pleasure in your home, family, pets and friends. If you find that you are constantly drifting off and thinking about something other then what you might be doing, maybe it is time to explore another avenue. Meditation, martial arts, dancing, yoga and breathing are all methods that may help one be more present.
Scientists have discovered that fish can become depressed and may be the key to developing antidepressants. According to the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences of Troy University in Alabama the neurochemistry between fish and humans is very similar. Fish are tested in what is called a “novel tank test’. A Zebrafish is dropped into the tank. If it sinks to the bottom it is a sign of depression as opposed to if it swims to the top and begins to explore. Severity is measured by how much time it spends in either location. It is by these observations that the researchers have determined that this is a form of depression. If depressed a fish usually loses interest in both food and exploration. Given a mild antidepressant the fish will eventually swim to the top of the tank a sign that it has overcome the depression. Not only do fish show the capability of using tools but they are also able to recognize faces. If a tank has an adequate amount of space and vegetation a fish will explore and be in constant motion, a sign that a fish is happy in its environment.