Daydreamer…

image: pixabay

Crack.
The ruler slapped down on the desk, narrowly missing my knuckles and dissolving the magic.
“Daydreaming again? You will pay attention in my class, young lady!” The French mistress, determinedly optimistic to the last, turned her back and returned to the blackboard. Oddly enough, French was always one of my favourite subjects and one at which I did best… in spite of the daydreaming.

It was not the anxious, fretting kind of daydream, not was it just wandering attention. It was like stepping into a wardrobe and coming out the other side into a magical land where anything was possible.

I could daydream my way through most things and still take in, process and apply the information, and was always in the higher sets. I was lucky… back then, I only got into trouble for daydreaming. A few years later and I would probably have been sent to a child psychologist for assessment or medicated for one of the attention deficit disorders, which are very real and do require help… but are probably not quite as widespread in children as fashion once dictated. These days, I might be lucky and have a teacher who understands that daydreaming is actually good for you.

Children are really good at daydreaming. By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have the knack trained out of us as we are forced to ‘pay attention’, focus on what we are supposed to be doing with our lives in the eyes of society. Be sensible and use our brains, rather than our minds. The older we get, the less we tend to daydream.

Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” It is not the rational mind that knows how to dream. It is more likely to create those logical nightmares  where worry plays out every worst-case scenario.

Daydreams, on the other hand, give us a place of peace in which we can achieve more than we might guess. Recent research has shown that daydreaming is linked, unsurprisingly, to creativity. Daydreamers also tend to have more working memory… the kind of free space n the inner drive that allows us to take in information and deal with it effectively whilst occupied on other levels… and that is linked to both cognitive and emotional intelligence.

Daydreaming raises empathy levels as we can explore human relationships in the safety of our make-believe worlds…and take what we learn there out into reality. It is not so very different from some of the meditation and creative visualisation techniques that get a far better rap than mere daydreaming… and yet yield similar results. The same applies to when the mind wanders so far that there seem to be neither thoughts nor vision… just a blank, restful page…. a goal many forms of meditation teach as being their version of the Holy Grail and which cannot be achieved by striving for it.

Contrary to popular belief… especially amongst employers and French teachers… daydreaming can increase productivity. And not only because you can rehearse your next presentation or interview ‘in’ there and boost your confidence, but because daydreaming lowers stress, encourages creativity and improves memory. It makes you happier too, as the mind indulges in play and finds joy.

So the next time you find yourself daydreaming, taking a break from the demands of reality, don’t reach for the metaphorical ruler to rap your knuckles…  let your mind enjoy its holiday instead.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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64 Responses to Daydreamer…

  1. Ritu says:

    I like this idea… I shall pass it on to my head…!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s good they weren’t medicating when I was in school. I’d have been too hopped up to do anything. Those days of dreams were when we figured out what we were going to become … what art we would create … and paths we might pursue. I feel sorry for kids these days. They don’t seem to get time to just BE. They are busy all the time. I think the phones are a symptom. The problem is that parents don’t trust children unless they know exactly what they are doing. Too bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Deb Whittam says:

    I daydream a lot and I time I grow concerned about it is when I am driving. There are times when concentrating isn’t optionsl

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jenanita01 says:

    These days the only day dreaming I do is usually writing related. My ‘what if’ state is all encompassing. Maybe I am too old for the other kind… or too busy?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Maybe we just have to give our minds permission to play out for a bit 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      I’m a big fan of (and hence write quite a bit about) the idea of “cultivating silence.” I do believe that businesses is the thief of creativity and problem solving skills. Instead we fret: “How will I get this done? How will I fix this? I have so much else I have to get done by tomorrow!” Don’t we know by now that stress doesn’t actually work very often in helping us figure stuff out? The busier we are, the more we need to create and protect time for silence, reflection and “daydreaming.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Vincent says:

        We might choose to work our muscles, but not to the point where we can no longer movve… yet we expect our minds to do just that. They need time out too… and sleep is a lot busier than we realise as the mind processes the day. Daydreaming is a holiday 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • jenanita01 says:

        I am lucky in that I have a brain that I can switch off for a while, giving me some valuable peace. With this ability I can fall asleep in seconds too, and this comes in handy in hospital waiting rooms! I am a big fan of silence, something there is never enough of…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. fransiweinstein says:

    I’ve been a daydreamer my entire life and still do it. I have rehersed presentations, imagined enough scenarios for thousands of books and films, imagined countless lives for myself and on and on it goes. Sounds crazy but there it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. besonian says:

    What a wonderful quote from Einstein! If only we were all brought up and educated with that in way. But I would like to add a rider to that – the rational mind can be a faithful servant, but only if used with wisdom. Otherwise that mind turns irrational and dangerous – the mind that split the atom was the same one that made a bomb out of it. The mind is a wonderful servant – and a terrible master.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jennie says:

    Wonderful. And so true.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Erik says:

    I love this, Sue. For certain, daydreaming is, in itself, a form of creativity (i.e., seeing what is not, or what could be), which leads to even more creativity. I don’t believe we lose the ability to daydream as much as we leave it by the wayside, picking up the burden of “all work and no play.” But as I mentioned above to another reader, problem solving based on “what is” is actually inefficient and frustrating — at the very least, limited. Anything ever invented (i.e., brought into existence from an existence where it “was not”) came about from minds who freed themselves to play “what if.”

    This all made me think about (and reread myself) a post of mine from nearly three years ago. I hope you won’t mind my sharing it here:

    and then there was

    Like

  9. Wonderful post, Sue. The more I learn about Einstein the more he fascinates me. He had this whole side of him that was clearly invested in the imagination, inspiration, dreaming, and fantasy. Daydreaming is the source of most of my stories. 🙂

    Like

  10. Mary Smith says:

    I was always a daydreamer and my son’s primary school reports always said he spent too much time daydreaming – but he was well ahead of the class with his work, especially reading so I didn’t worry about it. Now, he looks at funny cat videos on his phone.

    Like

  11. Darlene says:

    So agree with this!!

    Like

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Love this, Sue. Always been a dreamer, glad to know it is a good thing!

    Like

  13. Rae Longest says:

    I’m just learning that daydreaming is ok at the age of 73.

    Like

  14. dgkaye says:

    Loved this Sue. Reminds me a bit of my daydreaming childhood which often kept me sane. 🙂 ❤

    Like

  15. buffalopound says:

    To me, at times, daydreaming preserves sanity. 😉

    Like

  16. Lyn Horner says:

    Writing a novel IS daydreaming for me. It allows me to lose myself in a character’s persona and imagine all sorts of adventures that I, myself, will never experience. Even as a child, when lying in bed before going to sleep, I used to make up story lines for television characters that I loved. It was fun and it helped me drift off to dreamland. Harder to do now when there is usually a cat squishing my toes and a husband sawing wood in my ear.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I always read myself to sleep… but that is the same kind of thing. I still do, but where I used to read for hours in bed, these days I don’t manage quite so much efore I fall asleep!

      Like

  17. I always have and always will be a daydreamer. I enjoyed this piece very much.

    Like

  18. I spent more of my childhood daydreaming than I did in the real world.

    Like

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