We all daydream and more often than you might expect. Scientists agree that we spend an astonishing 30% – 50% of our time in daydreams. And while as children, we would even get scolded for that, but now experts are pointing it to be a good thing for us.
By Kainat Ali
So, what is daydreaming? Daydreaming can be defined as the reverie you experience while you’re awake. During moments when we are in this state, our mind drifts. These interludes are brief diversions from our current world. Contrary to what you may have been taught, daydreaming about pleasant things is far from useless. Having a lifestyle tool like daydreaming at our disposal is useful especially when we deal with perceived threats or overly busy environments. It’s another tool in your mental health toolkit to evade stress and anxiety.
Daydreams aren’t merely mini-escapes. Allowing your stray thoughts to roam around revitalizes you. You’ll be able to return to the problem more refreshed. Most of us can benefit from approaching our problems with a fresh perspective. Besides having a fresh perspective, daydreaming seems to work better than trying to force a solution. In one study which tracked different patterns of internal thought, researchers concluded that mind-wandering is important and good for us. What’s happening in your brain while daydreaming is pretty sophisticated. As your mind wanders, you are using diverse aspects of your brain. Both the executive problem-solving network as well as the creativity network in your brain are working simultaneously. As we activate these different brain areas, we access information that might have previously been out of reach or dormant. Therefore, boredom or idleness serves a great purpose. It inspires us to daydream, which forges important connections across our brain.
Research has established that daydreaming is correlated with higher levels of creativity. Relentlessly drilling down on a complex problem doesn’t result in discoveries. Take a break. The mind will still incubate on the problem.When your mind doesn’t have to ride on a narrow track, it reorganizes all the tidbits of information and forms new and unexpected connections. Being distracted and allowing your mind to wander is powerfully positive.
Daydreaming has gotten a bad rap for far too long. Yet, it affords us humans many benefits. Hopefully, more will be open to embracing the daydreaming process and letting our thoughts roam freely. If you are frustrated by a situation, problem, or simply want to expand your imagination or creativity, give daydreaming a try and see what mental pathways might open up for you.