On a day-to-day basis, I always find myself daydreaming. A professor will be speaking about a subject, and sometimes my mind starts to wander and I begin to think about things that are very irrelevant to what is going on in class. I know it’s a bad habit, but sometimes I cannot help it. The range of things that I think about can be from what I’m going to eat for dinner, to what I’m going to do over the weekend, to when I should do my homework, clean my room, or when can I watch the next episode of One Tree Hill on Netflix, and things of that sort. I was always curious as to why people daydream and how we lose focus of the task at hand so often. Is it because we are so bored? Or are we just wishing our time away in the present without really realizing it. I decided to do a little research and see why our mind goes off into our own “little world”.
When thinking about daydreaming, the first thing that comes to mind is usually that you are dreaming while you are awake, which essentially, you are. Often times you can dream about getting kidnapped from your home with Beyoncé or seeing a unicorn at the mall, things that are as strange and as obscure as that. Those are unrealistic dreams, and usually unrealistic things will come up and seem real in our dreams at night. But, what we think about when we are awake is drastically different from what we think about when we are asleep. Instead of being asleep and in a semi-unconscious state, we are fully aware of our surroundings, but our minds are not. Surprisingly, we spend almost half of our lives daydreaming about millions of different things. But, why do we daydream so often?
Sometimes we daydream to escape reality. For example, if one day your boyfriend breaks up with you and you get a bad grade on a test, your mind may wander and think about things that make you happy to distract you from the pain that you are feeling. Or if you saw a really good movie the night before and you begin to think about dating the dreamy movie star that you saw on-screen. It is said that we usually daydream about things that we desire to occur. Scientists named the part of our brain that does the daydreaming the “default network”. This network activates when the brain is active and stimulates itself. Sometimes, we do just daydream and let our minds wander when we are bored. Sometimes, it is more than that though.
It is true that the events that are going on in our lives affect what we daydream about. Those outside factors can impact our mind so much that we alter our thinking and can often times lose focus of the task at hand. Just a few of the things we tend to think about that are influenced by our outside lives are past and future experiences, a looming decision we may have to make, or what other people are thinking about you. Whether we are excited, anxious, happy, sad, angry or all of the above, our daydreams have a direct causal impact on our everyday lives. Our daydreams can be sporadic or can be an extreme distraction to our lives depending on the day. Although this study was correlational, scientists suggests that daydreaming is very good for you if you are thoroughly thinking about realistic, positive things. It is said that those kinds of daydreams can bring you immense happiness; if you are doing it at the right time. When it is not the right time to be daydreaming, we should try to tune out our daydreams so that we can focus on what when we need to in order to be the most productive versions of ourselves. Ultimately, sometimes we just daydream about things that may be a little more exciting than biology class or a history lecture, but we mainly daydream to make ourselves feel better.
Corporation, Australian Broadcasting. “ABC Health & Wellbeing.” Why Do We Daydream? N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
Krauss, Susan. “Why and How You Daydream.” Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.