Research Shows Living in the Moment is Actually Impossible!

If you’re a planner, a Type-A or just someone generally concerned with her future, chances are you’ve been told to just: “Live in the moment!”

The next time someone tells you that, just say it’s actually impossible. New research shows that our brains keep track of decisions and the outcomes they produce. As we go through life our brains are constantly keeping track of our past decisions and using that information to process future decisions.

During the research, subjects were given a visual decision-making task that included random flashing lights and one strong light on a cardboard square. During the test the subjects had to guess where the strong light would appear and remember it after the experiment was over. During this process it was found that the brain activity linking the decisions to the participant’s guesses resided in an area of the brain that coincides with motivational aspects of behavior. So basically – the subjects wanted to guess correctly, so they used the information from prior rounds of the game to compare to the current round of the game. Instead of just randomly guessing where the strong light would appear, they used the past life experiences to come to a decision.

The researchers say: “For a healthy person, it’s impossible to live in the moment. It’s a nice thing to say in terms of seizing the day and enjoying life, but our inner lives and experiences are much richer than that.”


 Photo Courtesy of IsaacMao.

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