We often get stuck in the loop when we’re trying to understand what we’re doing wrong, or what we can do better.
But what if we could change our lives, and have more fun?
We asked experts and experts, from the BBC to the National Trust, to help us figure out why we often see the same problems as we do, and what we could do better to change our situation.
From the BBC’s news director, Sam Jones:This is not a question of what is going on in our heads, this is not something we’re thinking about.
This is what’s going on within our own brains.
So why do we experience a lot of these same things in our everyday lives?
“We’re just trying to get the information that we need,” says Emma Williams, a psychologist and co-founder of Mind Matters, a charity which aims to reduce anxiety and depression in young people.
“When we’re learning something, we’re not thinking about it or asking questions about it.
We’re trying just to get information that works.”
But there are other, more fundamental reasons why we are prone to this.
The first is the “mental model” which is the idea that what we know about the world is actually the same as what is actually in our head.
The second is the so-called “paradox of attention” which tells us that our attention needs to be focused on something.
“We have a lot more attention to do,” says Williams.
“If we just keep it in our minds, we will get distracted.”
So what can we do about this?
First of all, it’s worth looking at what happens when we are actually looking at something.
People who are really engaged with their daily activities find it easy to focus on the most salient details.
So we need to try to think of a more engaging way to do that.
Second, try to remember to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment.
“Think about the next step, the next moment,” says psychologist and blogger Joanna Loeffler.
“And then think about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling about it.”
“When we try to focus our attention on something, it can actually be very distracting,” says David Pritchard, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Southampton.
“It’s not only distracting but it can be difficult to be in the present moment.
It’s very hard to keep your focus.”
Third, it helps to think about the situation from an objective point of view.
For example, when we look at a painting, our brain processes images from the past to see what it will see in the future.
When we look in a mirror, we think of what we are seeing.
When you see a friend or colleague, your brain is thinking about them and what they are wearing.
When we look for a good restaurant, we often try to see whether the food is fresh or not.
The more fresh food we have, the better.
But the key is to make the task easier for ourselves.
“We need to pay more attention, we need more time to think and we need our brains to work together,” says Joanna.
“I think this is really the key to all of this.”