You might have already heard that daydreaming isn’t so good for you and that you shouldn’t spend so much time in your own head.
While obsessing with negative thoughts isn’t good for you, this isn’t the same as having a positive and meaningful daydream. Which can be actually very beneficial for you.
I have a very rich inner world. Sometimes I spend more time there than here and now, and I love it as long as I don’t move on the dark side of my thoughts. They can then bring up some unpleasant emotions that could have been avoided. Oops.
Mindfullness is essential here.
Not all the time you spend in your head counts as a daydream.
I was really sad when I was on atomoxetine because it somehow blocked my ability to daydream at all. My mind was blank most of the time and I couldn’t visualize anything or had to try way too hard. Other meds didn’t influence this much, at least not in a bad way. This could be a beneficial effect too and I even liked it at first.
What science says about it?
According to science, we can improve mood, increase pain tolerance and boost creativity through thinking and visualizing more pleasant and playful thoughts. 1
You’re probably familiar with the ‘aha’ types of problem-solving. When you just know something out of a sudden. Daydreaming can help here.
Daydreaming is an entirely different cognitive activity from either mind-wandering or rumination. According Westgate and her co-authors, daydreaming is ‘thinking for pleasure,’ and it’s harder than we think. 2
What about you, do you daydream a lot?