According to a new study, we do not like to be alone with our thoughts (especially men):
In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.
First, this is consistent with other studies that show that “mind wandering” is a very unpleasant activity for most people, being even worse than commuting. When our mind go loose, we get into trouble.
On the other hand, it provides evidence for why meditation is a) hard, and b) worth training at, for all of us. We’re bound to be alone with our thoughts a lot in life. It would be nice to have those times make us stronger and happier, vs. wearing us down.
Finally, this is a great thing to remember whenever you have a boring job to do. It’s a lot better than having nothing to do at all, apparently. Worker drones rejoice!