The value of daydreaming

Would you like to feel instantly refreshed?

Try daydreaming.

For as much as we complain about how kids’ lives are so overbooked and overscheduled these days, we would be better served to take a hard look at our own practices. Namely, our tendency, as Americans, to pack our brains so full of tasks, goals, activities, and lists that we lose ourselves and forget how to relax.

If you are like most people, you probably forget how to daydream. When we are very young, we daydreamed all the time. Little kids can sit and stare out a window observing the world, lost in their own thoughts, for minutes at a time. They can play by themselves on the floor in small ways, but you just know they are completely enveloped in their own imaginations.

We need that as adults, too. We are not too old or filled with responsibilities to take a few minutes of time for ourselves, to drift, and meander inside our own thoughts, to dream and be quiet.

When is the last time you quieted your brain?

Two minutes ago was the last time I daydreamed. You?

If you’re like most people, you can’t remember the last time you daydreamed. Let me help you remember how.

Pick a comfortable spot near a window. Doesn’t matter where you are. Can be a coffee shop in a small town, a comfy chair in the library, your office chair overlooking a city scene, a park bench, your dining room.

Now watch. Look out the window and fully engage with what you are seeing. Notice how the fallen leaves create a pattern like footprints on the sidewalk. See the blur of legs and the different types of shoes that walk past – red Keds, brown suede boots, sneakers, paisley pumps. Hear the music and lyrics of the song playing softly in the background of your interior space. Feel the rhythm, the bass, the beat. Hear the voices, but don’t listen to the words. Allow the voices to blend into the background. Focus on one particular spot on the pavement and see each raindrop splash into that spot, creating a circular water shadow that quickly blends into the water collecting on the sidewalk. Notice how the rain is a steady vertical line that intersects beautifully with the horizontal movement of people as they pass before your line of sight.

Allow your vision to go slightly out of focus so that everything takes on a soft blur. Focus on nothing and let your brain rest. This is what it feels like to quiet your mind. To disconnect, even for a few minutes, from the hectic struggles of daily life.

Writers need these quiet moments of brain rest and daydreaming. You will not be aware of the value of daydreaming until you start writing later. Incorporating moments of quiet daydreaming into your daily life will reap imaginative benefits later. You will never see or feel a direct connection. But the connection exists. The value in daydreaming is the space and time that you allow your brain to rest and meander so that it can fire on all cylinders later.

Daydreaming works. It takes very little time. It’s free. And your writing will improve. Start daydreaming today. 🙂

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