Daydreaming is one of the pleasurable things every one of us likes to do. This is one of the best ways to take a break from our busy lifestyles. A study has proved that we spend 30%-50% of our awakening time for daydreaming and people can have both negative and positive daydreams. However, here we talk about only positive daydreaming.
What is Daydreaming?
While some people classifying mind wandering, fantasy, spontaneous thoughts for daydreaming, the definition of daydreaming is “the stream of consciousness that detaches from current, external tasks when attention drifts to a more personal and internal direction”.
Brain Function In Daydreaming
Daydreaming is a strong indicator of an active and well-equipped brain. According to the research article related to mind wandering says, an area of the brain called the “default network” is considered to be responsible for daydreaming. The default network mainly includes the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), the posterior cingulated cortex/precuneus region, and the parietal cortex.
- Medial prefrontal cortex helps to imagine ourselves and the thoughts and feelings of others.
- Posterior cingulated cortex/precuneus region shows personal memories from the brain.
- Parietal cortex has connections to the hippocampus that stores episodic memories
When our brain is not paying attention to anything, Default Network is getting activated.
Speaking of which, Default Mode Network (DMN) utilized 20% of the body’s energy and the function of DMN is none other than resting.
Benefits Of daydreaming
Some people think daydreaming is an indicator of laziness. But daydreaming is not something that we can ignore easily because of its benefits.
- Increase productivity
A study from the Georgia Institute of Technology revealed that “The micro-break which the daydream provides can help to combat fatigue and strain during the day, because “it allows individuals to cognitively and affectively disengage from their work demands”. That means, when you take short breaks to let your mind wonder, your body tends to feel refreshed and rejuvenated which leads to generating more energy to do your work.
- Improve creativity
The study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has figured out that the participants who had more frequent daydreaming scored higher on intellectual and creative ability and had more efficient brain systems measured in the MRI machine. According to Harvard Health publishing, when you turn your “focus” brain off, it will retrieve memories, link ideas so that you become more creative, and also help you feel more self-connected.
Maybe this is why most of the time people come up with the best ideas while they were in showering or simply, they weren’t thinking about anything.
- Helps To Focus And Achieve Goals
According to the results from the series of studies conducted by Gabriele Oettingen and her colleagues, relative to people’s expectancies of success, fantasizing about both the motivating pleasant features of anticipated goal attainment and also the practical steps and potential obstacles on the way to goal attainment led to greater commitment to their goals and better performance than fantasizing about only the positives or only the negatives of their goal pursuits.
- Improve Working Memory
The University of Wisconsin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science has conducted a study to examine the relationship between people’s working memory capacity and their tendency to daydream. Based on their results, they suggest 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
- Reduce Stress and Help to Manage Anxiety
In 2016, the University of British Columbia has conducted a study and they have found out that allowing your mind to wander away from negative thoughts can actually reduce your anxiety.
However, apart from the typical daydreaming, there is a psychiatric condition called maladaptive daydreaming which is based on extreme daydreaming.
Symptoms Of Maladaptive Daydreaming
- extremely vivid daydreams with their own characters, settings, plots, and other detailed, story-like features
- daydreams triggered by real-life events
- difficulty completing everyday tasks
- difficulty sleeping at night
- an overwhelming desire to continue daydreaming
- performing repetitive movements while daydreaming
- making facial expressions while daydreaming
- whispering and talking while daydreaming
- daydreaming for lengthy periods (many minutes to hours)
If you have Maladaptive Daydreaming, you definitely need to take proper treatments because it may cause disorders like ADH, OCD and depression.
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