As a child, I remember my mom (and my teacher) asking me to stop daydreaming all the time. Quiet and imaginative, I’d drift off into la-la land at the drop of a hat, so I was always told by the elders in my life that daydreaming is a waste of time and essentially accomplishes nothing – which is why I was surprised to find them proven wrong.
A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports the positive powers of daydreaming. It turns out that daydreaming may actually be good for us, as it boosts our cognitive health, enhances creativity and enables us to function at higher levels. Who would have thought a wandering mind could actually help us?
“If your mind didn’t wander, then you’d be largely shackled to whatever you are doing right now,” Jonathan Schooler, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “But instead you can engage in mental time travel and other kinds of simulation. During a daydream, your thoughts are really unbounded.”
According to an article on Six Wise, a daydream, it turns out, is actually your brain’s “default” mode, a fundamental element that allows you to imagine, create and process thoughts. This is great news given that daydreaming may take up a full one-third of our waking lives.
Need any more convincing to daydream? Well, here are eight reasons why you should daydream more.
1. Daydreaming Helps You Accomplish More
If you’re stuck with a large number of tasks that require a lot of time, going into daydream mode may actually help you. According to The Huffington Post, it helps those who are trying to accomplish many tasks simultaneously and within a time constraint by actually freeing space in the mind to create solutions and organise tasks productively. This is because daydreaming helps you imagine solutions and outcomes of the various problems, which you can then use to solve those problems.
2. Daydreaming Boosts Creativity
Creative professionals are often found taking a break from their work to change tracks and get a boost in creative ideas. If you’re ever stuck in a rut or feeling uninspired about something, try daydreaming to get your imagination (and, by extension, creativity) flowing.
3. Daydreaming Relieves Stress
How many times have we wished we were off on a sandy beach in our swimsuits and taking a nap by the water instead of being stuck at work? Now, we might not be able to actually get there but daydreaming about it does calm us down and reduce our stress to some extent.
4. Daydreaming Causes Cross-pollination of the Left and Right Sides of Our Brain
Imagine the left side of your brain communicating and sharing information with the right side. Wouldn’t that result in some great ideas? The cross-pollination encourages cross brain development, which in turn leads to our mind being more innovative and using information in whole new ways.
5. Daydreaming Helps You Cope with Mundane Tasks
Sometimes you just can’t help being involved in doing mundane tasks and household chores such as ironing, cooking or cleaning. At these times, daydreaming transports you into another, more interesting fantasy world, making these tasks seem less boring.
6. Daydreaming Freshens the Brain
Since most daydreams are light and happy, they can give your brain a break from the tediousness of work and perk it up. Think of it like a mental version of slowing to a jog when you’re doing some serious marathon training.
7. Daydreaming is Motivational
When you daydream, you tend to think of happier times in happier places. Thus, it shows you how you would feel when you reached your goals. This in turn helps motivate you to work harder to achieve this.
8. Daydreaming Helps You Get Things Out of Your System
How many times have you wanted to snap back at an annoying colleague or argue with your in-laws? Daydreaming helps you envision those situations and get them out of your system, instantly cheering you up.
So the next time you want to take a break from something stressful, allow your mind to wander off and imagine some wonderful things. In the meantime, I’m going to forward this article to my mother and high school teacher to exact some revenge for all those times they’ve intruded on my daydreams.
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