A Quick Guide To Understanding Daydreams

You imagine a a clear, sunny sky, the sound of sea gulls, and the feeling of sand beneath your feet as you helplessly imagine your awaited visit to the beach this weekend. The sea is a calming, deep blue that you see yourself running into with a joyful skipwait! SNAP OUT OF IT, you shriek in your mind as you see that your entire class, including your teacher, is turned around with their eyes fixed on you. Oops, I did it again, you nervously reply to your teacher who is still waiting on you to answer how the Dutch East India Company was able to hold a monopoly on spice trade.

Do you find yourself in a defenseless daze of daydreaming often? If yes, then you are probably very familiar with the experience previously described. If youre anything like me, you probably may have wondered what science explains how daydreaming is possible, what drives people to daydream, and what one could do to control their daydreaming. To clear up some of these questions, here is a quick guide to daydreaming. Enjoy!

How is daydreaming scientifically possible?

The best way to understand how daydreaming is caused is to think in terms of it as a plane that is on autopilot. While on autopilot, a plane is able to be controlled without constantly being maneuvered by hands-on control (i.e., without a human operator). Pilots usually activate this mode of flying when less manual control is required to fly. For instance, a pilot would be more likely to use autopilot for traveling through a straight, specified route in the clouds rather than when landing a plane.

Just how planes have an autopilot setting, people also have autopilot-like daydream settings that occur when people are in altered states of consciousness that require different levels of engagement. Daydreaming is an altered sate of consciousness that occurs when we arent as alert and responsive to our surroundings as we usually would be.

While on autopilot, or what psychologists like to call default network, peoples brains arent focused or concentrated  on external tasks. Instead, the default network occurs when people focus on internal factors such as thoughts and imagined experiences. In particular, internal factors that makeup network simulations come from peoples thoughts about past and future experiences and even moral decisions.

The default network consists of the brains frontal cortex, the limbic system and other areas of the brain that involve sensory experiences. The network is able to turn itself on and off when activated and make its own simulations.

What drives people to daydream

People like to daydream because it lessens pressures and stress. Escapists are often thought to take advantage of this aspect of daydreaming to constantly escape from reality and retreat into fantasy.

Escaping into our fantasies is very easy to do because sensory information- smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight can be incorporated into our daydreams. Think of how the student in the introduction was able to feel sand beneath her feet; this made her daydream more real and harder to escape from.

In addition to escapism, people may also detach from the external world and favor daydreams more than reality in a psychological state called dissociation. People usually fall into dissociation to obtain specific desires that they cannot have in real life.

Another reason that people are prone to dwell in the realm of daydreams is because certain kinds of daydreams are reported to be associated with higher levels life satisfaction. For instance, this is true when people daydream about their family and close friends. However, this is only true for dreams about actual people, not fictional, imaginary people that one would like to have in their life.

How to balance daydreams with reality

All though we all love to slip into a little fantasy every now and then, we have to be able to wake up and smell the coffee. But, how are we supposed pay attention to anything when weve got our inner thoughts banging at the door of attention! It may be harder for some than others to focus and remain on task with reality, but that doesnt mean that there arent ways that we can all find a proper balance of time for daydreams and real life. Here are a few of my tips that you can use to control how much you daydream.

  1. Be aware of your state of mind and moments when you are daydreaming
  2. Get enough sleep because when were groggy and sleep deprived, we are more likely to have roaming minds that arent alert and responsive
  3. Keep your mind occupied and busy so that internal thoughts do not take over when youre supposed to be focusing
  4. Stay away from dream triggers that make you want to start daydreaming
  5. Be patient with yourself because this process takes time and practice

So what, how can I apply this Ambi Sci to my life?

In this post I want to convey to you that reality and fantasy are both great things to have-but only when they are properly balanced. While being too caught up in fantasy can leave you out of touch with what is going on in the real world, being too caught up in the real world can leave you out of touch with what is going on with yourself internally. I challenge you to take the time to analyze your life and make changes where necessary so that you can find the right balance. Find a balance that makes you suited to grow and enjoy life.

Thanks for tuning in, and I hope this post is super helpful and informative to you in your journey to an Ambi Sci Life. So, remember to let your ambience shine from within with help from inspiring science posts by checking out more on this site

References

 

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