How to Make Daydreaming Work for You

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This morning I wake up, and it takes a minute until I remember that I’m in bed. I soon realize it’s Sunday. Oh, that’s right.I smile as I stretch in my bed in the back of my campervan. It’s slightly chilly. That’s okay; I can run my propane heater for a few minutes to take the chill off. I look out the back window and see the mountains in the distance. Will I spot some wildlife today?

I wish! This morning sequence is not reality; it’s just in my head. I don’t have a campervan; I still live out of my Honda Element when I’m on the road. As much as I’d like to fantasize about living in my imaginary campervan, I still reside in reality.

However, I’ve learned to enjoy being in my head, and it even provides some benefits. During such moments, our minds wander. We temporarily cut ourselves off from reality. In its place, we substitute happy thoughts, scenarios, or hopes for the future. Some of these thoughts include things we’d like to see come to pass in real life.

Daydreaming can motivate us to work toward our goals. It also kindles our creativity. Zoning out can help fuel our imaginative thoughts. It allows us to ride a stream of consciousness without the tedious external distractions.

Want to get more out of your episodes of daydreaming? Read on for some tips for more productive woolgathering.

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1. Shed the Shame

There’s no reason to be apologetic about daydreaming if it helps you visualize a better life for yourself. Realize that everyone does it—a lot. Heed the words of daydreaming expert Amy Fries:

What would we do if we couldn’t envision and imagine in a daydreaming state? We’d be like robots, stuck only in the here and now, unable to dream or create or imagine the road around the bend.

Amy Fries

So go ahead and let your mind wander. You know ya wanna.

2. Zone Out to Get Unstuck

When you’re staring down a problem and can’t seem to move beyond it, purposefully zone out. If you let your mind wander, you might stumble upon a solution. You can also pull yourself away from the immediate task and focus on something else for a while. That problem will be there when you’re ready to tackle it again.

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3. Leave Behind Some Bread Crumbs

When people get swept up in daydreaming, they might lose focus on what they’re working on as they detach from reality. That’s me. I’d have a solid 45 minutes of writing, and then after a 10-minute break, I can’t remember where or how to pick it back up.

To remove the guesswork from returning to a task, I leave myself a reminder before I literally or figuratively wander off. For example, if I’m in the middle of writing a paragraph, I leave a note in the margins like “Write one more sentence.” When I return to it, my reminder tells me exactly where I left off. That way, I don’t lose momentum.

4. Keep It On a Leash

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Despite the benefits of daydreaming, it can get away from you. Daydreaming during reading can interfere with your comprehension of the material. Excessive woolgathering can also trifle with your mental health and happiness if you only fantasize about the things you think you’ll never achieve.

Whether they’re for de-stressing or boosting your mood, daydreams can enhance your memory, attention, and even your happiness.  Daydreams may be the stuff of your brain’s default thinking, but they can also prove to be the source of your fulfillment.

What do you daydream about, and what benefits does it provide? Please leave a comment about it.

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