Remember when you used to sit in class and stare out the window? The teacher most likely scolded you for not paying attention. Little did he or she know that you were actually paying a great deal of attention to your innermost thoughts. You did not have your head in the clouds, as they assumed. You were daydreaming, a very sophisticated brain activity that helped you free associate, problem solve, foster creativity, and maintain your mental health and general well-being. You were a regular little Einstein!
Today if you find yourself daydreaming as an adult, it might be about that vacation you've always wanted to take. We often compare the act of daydreaming to an escape from reality. But this activity should never be regarded as a waste of time. In fact, you would benefit greatly from scheduling some daydreaming into each day to be more productive and happy.
When we allow our minds to wander, we permit ourselves to imagine other ways of being, such as being in a state of bliss on a beach in the Caribbean. If you are having a bad day full of stress and anxiety, this daydreaming activity can actually bring you to that state of bliss where you do find yourself relaxing on that beach in your mind. It is a form of mindful meditation.
Spend time every day wandering freely through the realms of your imagination. Turn off the technology and force yourself to think pleasant thoughts. You can try it sitting on a couch or going for a walk, but make sure you are alone. If you don't know where to begin, make mental lists of all the places you've always wanted to go, or all the things you've always wanted to do. Then choose one, and think about what you would do there, and how you imagine it may feel. Surrender to your free association, just as long as the threads of thought don't sabotage your daydreams and lead you back to thoughts of chores or grievances. If it helps, get out a pen and paper and write lists of all these things, or doodle and draw while you daydream. Sometimes it's easiest to daydream right before bedtime. Figure out what works for you. When you were a kid, staring out that window felt just right.
If you begin to make daydreaming a part of your daily routine, you will not only become happier and healthier, you may even figure out a way to take that dream vacation in reality, or apply for that dream job, or whatever it is your heart and soul desires most. Dream BIG and see where it takes you.