Ever wanted to know what your daydreams mean? Ever wondered if daydreaming matters at all? You’re going to be amazed by this.
It turns out that your daydreams mean a lot and that they are very important.
Not only that, but daydreaming is good for your health. So if you have ever been told to take your head out of the clouds, don’t. Daydreamers tend to be healthier and more successful. So keep on daydreaming.
There are two polarising views on daydreaming.
The first is that daydreaming is a complete waste of time. The second is that daydreaming is a doorway to creativity.
So which is right?
Psychological studies suggest that daydreams are important for helping us to realise our goals. And if that’s true, then we should all be making the most of our daydreams.
What Do Daydreams Do, exactly?
“Daydreaming organises us, paradoxical as that sounds,” says Eric Klinger, the professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota.
“People tend to believe that their daydreams are scatterbrained, but in actual fact daydreams help to organise our life, reminding us of upcoming events, preparing us for future situations and recalling the past in order to learn lessons from it.”
That might seem strange. Because it usually feels like daydreams have no rhyme or reason.
Daydreams tend to jump from one subject to another seemingly erratically, they last for only about 14 seconds, and there’s no unifying factor to daydreams; they are highly individual.
“Daydreams are about personal goals, so they’re individual, there is no classic daydream,” says Klinger. “They usually don’t provide new information, but rather confirm what people already know. You need to be aware of them, though, because daydreaming is [vital to self communication].”
Daydreaming distances us from reality, making us more receptive to our subconscious minds, but the meaning of daydreams is usually hidden; they are mysterious and cryptic.
Two of the most common daydreams
Two of the most common themes in daydreams are the idea of the martyr and the hero.
The martyr suffers the stress of their life, carrying emotional burdens, being misunderstood and underappreciated. These are the daydreams most regularly experienced by women.
Men, on the other hand, more commonly experience the hero dream, in which they are powerful and successful, or in which they overcome their fears. For their heroics the individual has gifts (often sexual) lavished on them. The brave man is rewarded by his princess.
Are Your Daydreams Telling You It’s Time For A Change?
During times of stress we experience daydreaming in order to escape from reality to the safer realm of our dreams.
Recurring escapist daydreams usually imply that the person needs to make a significant change in their life, like moving house or ending a relationship.
Daydreaming often acts as therapy. It’s like watching a movie in your head. The movie and the daydream change our moods. They also provide us with things we feel we lack—poor people will daydream about money; single people daydream about relationships, and so on. The mind is self-administering medication. And it’s a very important form of medication.
Daydreams pass information to the subconscious mind. And it’s one of the only ways of accessing the subconscious. That’s why if you want to access your subconscious mind you should start with your daydreams.
The Different Ways We Daydream
Different people daydream in different ways. Children and adolescents tend to daydream more than adults. For them, daydreaming is a vital means of exploring various possibilities in life. As we age we begin to daydream less, perhaps because we have more of an understanding of ourselves and there is less experimenting that needs to be done—and therefore less need to daydream.
Unsurprisingly, as we age we begin to daydream about love and sex and about hero situations, like scoring a promotion at work and being respected for it. Adults also tend to have less violent daydreams because there are typically less hostile relationships in an adults life (though this, of course, changes for those in war-torn countries).
Interestingly, individuals who daydream more are not more detached from reality, research shows.
Psychologists Judith Rhue and Steven Lynn discovered that individuals who daydream more than average are no less successful and are equally well adjusted to those who daydream less. Those who daydream a great deal also tend to exhibit a higher degree of creativity. Children who daydream more have been shown to be less violent and to have greater emotional control than those children who daydream less often.
The benefits of daydreaming
Despite the fact that most of us are taught to take our heads out of the clouds, daydreaming actually offers many benefits:
Daydreaming helps us to utilise the power of the brain;
Daydreaming is a vital coping mechanism;
Daydreaming encourages the development of new ideas,
Daydreaming improves creativity.
Daydreaming, it turns out, is a hugely beneficial practice. So go on, get your head in the clouds.
Of course all this flies in the face of convention. How many times have you been told to take your head out of the clouds? How many times have you told yourself to start daydreaming and to focus? Did you ever realise that your daydreams are actually very important?
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