4 Surprising Psychological Benefits of Daydreaming

When you think of the word “daydreaming,” does your mind start to wander? Many
cultures in Western society have a negative view of daydreaming and consider it to be a
waste of time, arguing that frequent daydreaming inhibits productivity at school or at the
office. But did you know that daydreaming could actually improve a person's
productivity?

Studies have shown that regular daydreaming can be a sign of a healthy brain, carrying
a number of psychological benefits by keeping various sections of the brain engaged
and boosting overall brain activity. Here are four surprising benefits daydreaming can
provide:


1. DAYDREAMING BOOSTS WORKING MEMORY

Daydreaming keeps the mind sharp by boosting working memory. When a person
daydreams, they are forced to recall disparate sources of information not immediately
related to the task at hand. This ability to recall information from stored sources
'exercises' the pre-frontal cortex in the same way exercising a muscle on a regular basis
keeps it in shape.

The pre-frontal cortex is the section of brain where memories are stored. Accessing the
pre-frontal cortex on a repetitive basis allows the brain to more easily store and recall
information in the future as it becomes conditioned to anticipate new information. As a
result, daydreamers are more connected to and in tune with their thoughts.

2. DAYDREAMING STIMULATES THINKING

In addition to helping memory, daydreaming boosts brain activity by stimulating thinking.
People who engage in deep thought access various sections of the brain to draw
connections between concepts. The end result is that daydreamers typically have better
problem-solving skills than those who are not inclined to daydream, as they're used to
processing information in order to arrive at a conclusion.

In other words, daydreaming allows a person to separate themselves from their
surroundings in order to analyze multiple scenarios and all of their possible outcomes,
helping them determine the best action to take to solve a problem.

3. DAYDREAMING HELPS PROBLEM SOLVING

Daydreaming allows a person to solve problems because it stimulates critical thinking.
When the brain engages in critical thinking, a person is forced to execute decisions
more rationally as they approach situations from a variety of perspectives based on past
experiences.

By viewing things from multiple perspectives, a person is able to find different pathways
of arriving at a solution. This leads to increased creativity in daydreamers as they seek
to find outlets to apply the solutions they've learned.

4. DAYDREAMING ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY

Another key benefit to frequent daydreaming is that it encourages creativity. When the
answer to a question is not known, daydreamers can draw parallels to challenges in
other scenarios and apply solutions they've found that worked for older problems. In
turn, this helps them adapt those solutions to new problems and repeat the process.
Many of society's great ideas and enhancements, in fact, have come from daydreamers

who attempted to reverse-engineer a problem in order to come up with the solution to a
different problem. Perhaps society should be more hesitant to judge those known for a
starry look in their eyes as they stare off into space. They might be thinking up
something much larger than we can imagine! 

CONCLUSION

Daydreaming is a necessary component to the creative and critical thinking processes.
There's a whole host of positive psychological benefits associated with daydreaming as
it contributes to improved mental health. So instead of chastising daydreaming as the
problem, embrace it for what it really is: an alternate method of problem-solving.
McKenzie Brower is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Lumonol.
She contributes to a variety of lifestyle blogs and is particularly interested in finding new
ways to keep the mind sharp and to harness its energy efficiently and healthily.

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