Do you ever spend time daydreaming? If you do, some will say that you are “zoning out,” losing focus and wasting time. Recent research, however, shows that – on the contrary – daydreaming is useful and beneficial in the following ways:
– It promotes creativity
– It lowers blood pressure
– It makes you more motivated
– It consolidates learning
– It improves problem solving ability
– It enhances memory-power
So, given all these benefits, why don’t we make daydreaming a priority? Well, it is easy to put it low on the list, using the excuse that we have so many pressing issues to address. Moreover, there is a whole universe to distract us now that we have the internet at our fingertips. We seek out shiny, new things and we believe we are learning, though few of us take enough time to reflect on the real value of it all. Being constantly switched on in this way means that less of our time is devoted to creativity, to allowing our imagination to bubble up new ideas. (This may be one reason why, for example, business development has stalled in the last 15 years.*)
Thus daydreaming is an important part of our wellbeing and deserves to be scheduled into our lives alongside other ‘must do’ maintenance such as exercising and sleeping. US Secretary of State George Shultz used to diary in an hour a week of uninterrupted thinking and reflecting time. An hour a week is not much time to commit, even for the busiest person, so, will you be scheduling a ‘Shultz hour’ and enjoy the resulting benefits?
To understand some of the brain stuff behind this research check out Anthony Carbon’s witty YouTube clip Don’t Stop Daydreaming and – just to remind yourself from time to time – add this to your playlist – The Monkees’ catchy classic Daydream Believer
*David Leonhardt, New York Times columnist 2017
Rachel is a business & educational psychologist. After working for many years in and advising SMEs her current work relates to issues of communication, personal development, team building and motivation. Over the past seven years Rachel has extended her work into the educational field.