Running all day long worrying about errands, work-life balance and keeping up with the never-ending pile of laundry often leaves not enough time to notice and appreciate the simple joys around you. And don’t worry if you recognize yourself. This happens to the best of us. Just sit back, take a deep breath, and come along on this journey to improving your day.
r/MildlyInteresting is exactly the place to see something unexpected and add it to your everyday life. Since its creation in 2012, this subreddit has grown into a community with 19.3M members who share the most original photos. From hypnotizing UV lights that disinfect hospital rooms to x-ray pictures of childhood teddy bears, there’s something for everyone.
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For 10 years, the r/mildlyinteresting subreddit has just kept growing and growing into one of the biggest communities on Reddit. The moderators describe the page as being for “Mildly interesting stuff. Stuff that interests you. Mildly. It's in the name.” So in other words, it's not the most jaw-dropping or extraordinary stuff, but it's definitely not boring.
In a previous article one of the moderators, Cowbeller1, told Bored Panda that the most popular posts in the sub have something to do with luck: "Maybe you come across something interesting in your day-to-day life and remember to take a picture, maybe you're just lucky enough that something is interesting to the community. No real rhyme or reason aside from that," the mod explained.
Another moderator called RedSquaree said that original photos and titles are a key part of this online group. Their content is generated by the community and given that titles cannot be clickbait, there is a unique feeling of people seeing something mildly interesting and posting it.
But what if you are so distracted that you don’t see the odd-looking things around you? Constant interruptions from our devices that keep buzzing every few minutes is just one thing that makes it hard to focus. And even when we’re able to concentrate on one particular thing, we might still miss other important details.
An experiment at Harvard University called "The Invisible Gorilla” showed a video where six people pass basketballs around. While you watch, you have to count how many passes people in white shirts make. At one point, a gorilla comes into the picture and leaves, spending nine seconds on screen.
It's hard to believe, but half of the viewers did not see the gorilla at all. They were so focused on one single act, the passes, that they didn't notice what’s entering their visual field. "This experiment reveals two things: that we are missing a lot of what goes on around us, and that we have no idea that we are missing so much,“ the creators of this study explained.
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Also, it turns out that if you don't catch new information coming into your eye range within 1.5 seconds, you are unlikely to see it at all. Experimental psychologists Katherine Wood and Daniel Simons performed similar tests to the Gorilla experiment, they asked people to follow black and white shapes moving across the computer. “The most natural thing to assume is that the longer it’s there, the more opportunity you have to notice it, so we were quite surprised when it turned out that it seems not to help you very much,” says Wood.
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However, sometimes we're not doing anything at all and still feel distracted. It’s not uncommon that your thoughts start to cruise when you should be focused. And in this case, we can’t blame our electronic devices—according to the research of two Harvard psychologists, the main issue is our minds.
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For the study, they created an app that contacts participants during their waking hours and asks them different questions. Researchers analyzed samples from 2250 adults and concluded that we spend almost 47 percent of our day "mind wandering," regardless of what we are doing. Also, psychologists found out that in their research, a drifting mind was generally the cause and not merely the consequence of unhappiness. As they put in their conclusion, “a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”.
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In the end, the most important thing is to notice when your thoughts begin to drift and try to stay present. Then you will start to notice the details even in the most mundane things. And if you do, make sure to capture it and share it with the world of mildly interesting things.