How often do you quietly sit still with only yourself and your thoughts? If the answer is never, then you are part of the majority.

For relaxation, instead of just sitting still with our thoughts most of us would rather be scrolling on the phone, reading a book, watching TV or playing a video game where 15 minutes would just fly by.

In this era of never-ending and constant stimulation, people are finding it harder and harder to just sit still and do NOTHING. Yes I mean DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

If fact this study published in the journal Science found that the majority of the participants found sitting still for only 15 minutes to be a very unpleasant experience. In the second part of the study, participants were again instructed to sit still in a lab room and do nothing but were also given the option of self-administering an unpleasant electrical shock to themselves by pressing a button.

In this fascinating experiment, 67% of the men and 15% of the women chose to give themselves a shock at some point during the 15 minutes, with an average of 4 shocks. This average does not even include the one outlier who administered 190 shocks to himself.

“…people prefer doing to thinking, even if what they are doing is so unpleasant”Wilson et al 2014

Some people find it so uncomfortable to sit alone in their own thoughts for 15 minutes that they prefer to inflict pain onto themselves. This is why practicing mindfulness on a regular basis may be valuable for some.

Here is a LINK to my short video summarizing this paper.

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