Daydreaming: not a bad thing

I’m a day dreamer, that’s for sure. Are you?

I’ve always felt slightly guilty about this- that I really should be paying attention to the task at hand with all my brain power, not allowing my mind to mostly drift off into some make-believe dreamland. Yet, I can’t help it sometimes! It’s so fun to imagine, invent and fantasize about alternative ways of doing things, like what would be the [best/most creative/fun/motivating] way of transforming a plain piece of bread into something magical, like garlic and herb croutons, while doing something boring, like folding laundry. It’s no wonder why my clothes are not folded as neatly as I would like them to be! But, I don’t really care about that all that much because my salads got a major upgrade as a result of all the time I spent thinking about bread transformation instead of perfectly pleated pants.

Indulging regularly in daydreaming led me to do some research on the subject. Luckily, I found that day dreaming is not a bad thing, and actually means that my brain is ‘well-equipped’ to handle distractions. According to Smithsonian Magazine, “a new study, published in Psychological Science by researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science, suggests that a wandering mind correlates with higher degrees of what is referred to as working memory. Cognitive scientists define this type of memory as the brain’s ability to retain and recall information in the face of distractions.”

I can remember to do important tasks even if daily life occurrences, problems, or conflicts lead me astray from those things I need to accomplish.

Also, here are a few excerpts from “The Amazing Benefits of Daydreaming on the Mind”, an article by Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., published in Psychology Today, that I found encouraging:

“More than 50 years ago, pioneering research led by Yale’s Jerome L. Singer established that daydreaming is widespread and a normal aspect of human experience. Singer found that a major swath of society consists of “happy daydreamers”—people who enjoy vivid imagery and fantasy. They use daydreaming for plotting out their future. These daydreamers ‘simply value and enjoy their private experiences, are willing to risk wasting a certain amount of time on them, but also can apparently use them for effective planning and for self-amusement during periods of monotonous task activity or boredom,’ Singer reported. He called this ‘positive-constructive daydreaming.’”

“Yet by rejiggering the balance of attention to accommodate more self-generated thought, we may actually get far closer to realizing the dreams we most want for ourselves. The human capacity for mental time travel, it turns out, gives us enormous possibilities for realizing our deepest desires and strivings.”

“Besides relieving boredom by providing an unlimited source of internally generated entertainment, daydreaming offers a huge arena for realizing our own potential.”

So I guess I don’t need to beat myself up anymore for daydreaming, just as long they are positive thoughts, not anxiety-induced, negative “day-mares”, which could lead to depression and fear for the future.

As for this blog, I think I drifted off to dreamland at least three times while writing it, brainstorming up a new crouton recipe! I’ll get you the recipe for them ASAP, so see . . . daydreaming while blogging is actually a win, win situation!

For more fun information on daydreaming:

http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/amazing-benefits-daydreaming-mind

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-benefits-of-daydreaming

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