- Mental Health
Daydreaming is Good for You
Daydreaming as a child
Studies show that daydreaming is good for you. I am relieved to learn that, because I’ve always been a daydreamer. I know that because in fifth grade Mrs. Peele, my teacher, told Mama so. She remarked how quiet and well behaved I was, then the “but, she is a day-dreamer.” Mama didn’t seem too bothered by that fact.
I know sometimes consciously used daydreaming as an escape. It made long road trips seem shorter when I slipped into my imagination, making up stories and scenarios inside my head. I am sure that is also why I daydreamed in class – to make the time go faster and relieve myself from the boring lessons being taught. Sometimes it was the lesson that prompted my daydreaming. A history lesson was like a time machine spinning me back to the event where my imagination took over. I became a southern belle spying for the Yankees while studying about the Civil War or lessons about the old west sent me galloping across the desert as a Pony Express rider delivering the mail. I could be an Indian weaving a basket or an Egyptian princess.
Daybreaming as an Adult
Now that I am older and live alone I find myself still day-dreaming a lot. In fact I can find myself sitting on the side of my bed in the morning with one shoe on and the other in my hand completely lost in thought. Who knows for how long? Some of my daydreaming is productive. My daydreams turn into stories, poems, even paintings. It is part of my creative process. I enjoy my daydreaming sessions.
But, there are times when I find it hard to daydream. There are so many distractions: computer games, the internet, especially Facebook. I don’t have a smart phone yet, but I can see one eating away my time to daydream if I had one. This article http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2010/03/16/4380047-space-out-why-daydreaming-is-so-important claims with all of the techno distractions people have today they are not day-dreaming enough and it is making us “stupid.” We don’t remember as well when we fail to take a break and daydream.
Sometimes I just have to run away from the gadgets and retreat to a spot in my garden to daydream. I enjoy sitting there just listening to nature and letting my mind wander. I also daydream in the morning before I get out of bed. I love when I wake up early enough to watch the sunrise from my window and spend a few minutes daydreaming. This is the time when my mind is fresh and open to ideas, problem solving or just imagining. Another of my favorite times to daydream is in the evening while sitting on the patio listening to the birds sing their good night calls. Daydreaming at bedtime can help you fall asleep. You don’t have to have solitude to daydream – remember the school classroom daydreaming. But tuning folks out to indulge in daydreaming is rude so I try to curb the temptation.
Maladaptive Daydreaming, Too Much of a Good Thing.
Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. That is when daydreaming is called maladaptive daydreaming. These daydreamers spend hours in their fantasies and sometimes create imaginary worlds. Their fantasies sometimes interfere with their social life and may cause physical symptoms like headaches or dizziness. You can read more about maladaptive daydreaming at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maladaptive_daydreaming But generally, daydreaming is healthy for our minds. Besides escaping boredom it helps us work out problems, do creative brainstorming, cope with life, it can even relieve stress and pain. The trick is to daydream at appropriate times – do not daydream when operating heavy equipment, when studying, or doing anything that requires your full attention. Otherwise, enjoy your daydreaming. It is good for you.