Why Do We Daydream? The Unexpected (& Scientific) Benefits Of Daydreaming!
You’re sitting in the middle of an important lecture or you are attending a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity but your mind is in a faraway land where rivers are made of chocolate and candies grow on trees… Wait, what was I saying?
Oh, yes! Daydreaming!
Letting our mind wander in the middle of the day sounds…wrong, doesn’t it? We’ve all been in a situation where we have let our minds wander when we were supposed to pay attention. Daydreaming has earned a bad reputation but did you know that there are many positives about daydreaming as well?
But, why do we daydream? Is daydreaming good for you? And are there benefits of/to daydreaming? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog.
Why Do We Daydream?
Almost 96% of adults daydream regularly. Daydreaming is considered to be a very strong indicator of an active and healthy brain. Daydreaming allows our minds to wander and while it might not sound very productive, it is said that daydreaming can improve performance and increase creativity.
Daydreaming is one of the most creative exercises that provide us with an outlet to imagine fictional scenarios without much risk to our reality. This activity of daydreaming can be an important tool when it comes to building cognitive health and exploring our inner Self.
Let’s talk about the science behind daydreaming, shall we? When we daydream, our brain uses a network that includes areas of the brain that let us imagine ourselves as well as our thoughts and reflect on our memories. This network is activated when we switch our attention from our conscious mind and let our thoughts wander.
Scientific Benefits Of Daydreaming
There are many positives about daydreaming that you should know about. Benefits of daydreaming can be:
1. Daydreaming Helps In Problem-Solving
Daydreaming isn’t all about escaping reality or allowing yourself to wander in a faraway land. Stuck on a problem? Daydreaming can help you look at the problem with a fresh perspective. Sometimes forcing ourselves to find a solution isn’t the right thing.
Besides offering a fresh take on the problem, daydreaming can enable your mind to reflect on past experiences and provide you with an insight that can help you solve the problem.
2. Daydreaming Helps Lower Stress & Anxiety
By zoning out and shutting out the chaotic reality, you allow your mind to wander freely wherever it wants. This activity can help foster relaxation and calm. When you let your mind wander, it can end up in your happy place.
Disagreed with your partner? Or trouble at work? Let your mind wander to your happy place – one completely yours and pleasurable. Daydreaming, similar to meditation, can help you boost relaxation, lower stress, and reduce anxiety.
3. Daydreaming Helps Increase Creativity
Relentlessly chasing a solution to a problem isn’t helpful. When our brains are too tired, simple solutions can seem far away. Take a break. Dream. When we allow ourselves to zone out, new and creative solutions can occur to us subconsciously.
Because when we daydream, the different aspects of our brains are activated. Our mind collects pieces of information and then finds new and creative ways to connect them hence, increasing our creative powers.
4. Daydreaming Helps Improve Performance & Productivity
Stuck with a problem at work? Daydream! It is proven to help increase productivity. If only you take a few minutes to dream in the middle of the day, you might find out-of-the-box solutions for the problem. Daydreaming also helps boost mood and relaxation that can also help you feel better if you’re tired from your daily routine.
The happier you are, the more productive you’ll be. Daydreaming can also act as a motivation enhancer which can lead you to work harder and reach your goals.
5. Daydreaming Helps You Achieve Your Goals
Okay, so this might sound a bit weird, how can daydreaming help achieve your goals? But did you know that athletes and sportspersons use daydreaming as a tool to mentally prepare themselves before a game? This exercise helps them dream about success which can motivate them to work hard to reach their success. This kind of exercise is called structured daydreaming which is a popular term in sports psychology.
Is Daydreaming Good?
Daydreaming, while it has many positive effects, can become addictive. When we imagine a world devoid of imperfections, it can make a situation in the real world quite dangerous.
For example, ruminative daydreaming is when you rehash and analyze the past and worry about what can go wrong in your near future while daydreaming. This kind of thinking can lead you to develop catastrophic thinking or excessive worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.
Once daydreaming becomes addictive, it can cause you to develop poor concentration skills and procrastination. In many cases, people daydream just so that they can escape reality than face the problems head-on.
Daydreaming can be harmful to your overall health if what you’re daydreaming about is negative. While many people daydream about a faraway fantasy land, some people may daydream about harming themselves or others.
If you’re daydreaming about self-harm or suicide, please immediately contact any of these helpline numbers or your nearest emergency services.
If you’re stuck in the middle of a problem or a situation that needs creative thinking, try daydreaming some. Maybe letting your mind wander and letting it expand its creative wings will open up new possibilities, who knows?
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