Zoning, spacing out, building castles in the air..
How many critical terms do we attach to the idea that daydreaming is a waste of time? And how many school kids have been warned by a teacher to wake up and focus…. and even been threatened with medication.
Until recently daydreaming was considered not merely a waste of time but almost pathological: Old psychology textbooks warn that excessive daydreaming can propel one into insanity. And during WWI a United States army questionnaire included the statement *I daydream frequently* to screen out assumed neurotic recruits. Even today well-meaning doctors medicate kids who are prone to daydreaming.
But psychologists and neuroscientists claim that most of us we spend from 15 to 50 percent of our waking hours daydreaming straying away from tasks or external stimuli to instead focus on our inner thoughts, fantasies, and feelings. And there’s also research evidence that when our brains have nothing else to do, they switch to a special neural network dedicated to reviewing what we already know. In other words, we daydream.
Daydreaming appears to be a vital function of our psyche a resource of creativity, and an arena for rehearsing social skills. And judging from the amount of time we spend doing it, perhaps daydreaming could even be the backbone of our consciousness. So should we really medicate daydreamers? Humm. Maybe what we all need is MORE time to let our minds wander and dream.
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