December 20th, 2018
“Everything starts as somebody’s daydream.” -Larry Niven
Do you ever find yourself fantasizing about anything and everything? Maybe as a way of keeping yourself busy and distracted by thoughts of the future, possibilities, and the what-ifs of life? Do you get lost in these thoughts for the sake of them bringing you a sense of joy and peace? If so, you may be daydreaming. Daydreaming can be described as thoughts of the imagination that act as a distraction from the present and reality.
Daydreams tend to come and go throughout our days, lasting for both long and short periods of time. According to Psychology Today, research has shown that “as many as 96% of adults engage in having at least one bout of daily fantasies”. Although they can sometimes seem sporadic and short-lived, daydreaming actually takes up a much more significant amount of time than one may guess; as it is estimated that up to half of our lives are spent imagining and daydreaming.
There are different reasons and beliefs as to why people find themselves lost in thought and thinking about the possibilities of life. Some of these reasons include:
Whether you find yourself having short bouts or long-term spells of daydreaming, there are in fact positive side effects from daydreaming. Dr. Muireann Irish, who studies the neurobiology of daydreaming in people suffering from dementia at Neuroscience Research Australia, admits that daydreaming has a bad reputation. She has stated that “many people view daydreaming as being detrimental or a waste of time or a bad use of mental power”. When in reality there are indeed benefits to daydreaming, according to wakeup-world.com, there are 5 psychological benefits to daydreaming:
Although it is refreshing to learn that there are benefits of daydreaming, we are more familiar with the notion of daydreaming having a bad rap. Some of the negative side effects of daydreaming include:
The word daydream sounds fantasy-like, filled with positive and luxurious thoughts and opportunities for the future. However, this is not always the case. Sadly, if a person gets distracted regularly with negative thoughts about oneself this can lead to very serious mental health issues, including:
If you or somebody you know daydreams about negative thoughts, images, or emotions please reach out for professional help immediately.
“Get off your phone!” Sound familiar? Whether this is something your spouse is constantly nagging at you about, or you are working on this as a self-goal, it is very common in our current culture. Our phones have become a source of addiction for many people in today’s society. We use our phones to do things such as surf the web, flip through Instagram photos, and swipe right (or left) on dating apps. Although this can be sour for our social communication, interpersonal relationships, and ability to stay present at the moment, it also serves as a source of daydreaming. When we tune out the outside world, we tune into our phones to refocus and quiet ourselves from the world around us.
Regardless of whether your daydreaming thoughts are serving you positively or negatively in your personal life, it is always a healthy reminder to stay present for the sake of ourselves and others around us. Here are a few ways you can try to stay more present in your life:
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in psychotherapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.
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