“As I quietly stare off into space, eyes glazed over and brow thoughtfully taut, know that I am going about my business. I am a storyteller. Daydreaming is the best part of my job.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
And now for the confession.
I have been daydreaming all of my life: characters, scenes and dialogue – all created in my mind. I am not crazy (although that subject is a matter of jovial debate in my family). My mother totally understood the eccentricities of her youngest child. After years of adjustment, my husband now knows that when he walks by the study and sees me in a trance-like state, tears streaming down my face, he needn’t worry. Nor does he say a word because there is nothing more annoying to a consummate daydreamer than jarring interruptions. He just walks away, shaking his head and wondering to himself whether or not he lives in a madhouse.
So, I just like to conjure up storylines in my mind. The downside is that there are quite a few unfinished scripts in my filing drawer. Too many ideas, too little time. The upside is that I am never, ever bored.
One loop away from being totally loopy.
Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, I’d like to focus a little wrath on the naysayers who give daydreaming a bad name. In a world where everyone seems to be rushing around like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, daydreaming is often considered frivolous, lazy, a waste of valuable time and downright “flakey.”
Not so, say many mental health experts. Daydreaming is not only beneficial to our state of mind, but it also contributes to our productivity.
“How on earth can this be true?” say the anti-daydreamers.
Well, ye of little faith, psych specialists compare daydreaming to meditation. Both help us to relax, relieve stress, take a mental “time out.” After a daydreaming session, we are refreshed, energetic and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
In the Smithsonian article, “The Benefits of Daydreaming,” Joseph Stromberg writes about a recent research study (published in Psychological Science) which indicates “that a wandering mind correlates with higher degrees of what is referred to as working memory. Cognitive scientists define this type of memory as the brain’s ability to retain and recall information in the face of distractions.“
Therefore, despite the daydreamer’s propensity to let the mind wander, she (or he) possesses a heightened working memory which allows her (or him) to snap out of La-la Land when required to do so.
Moving the discussion of science back to the arts, most creative people would concur that daydreaming sparks the imagination. It helps to motivate and stimulate ideas.
Walk into a room filled with writers, authors, poets and novelists, and ask “Who among you daydreams regularly? Please raise your hand.” With few exceptions, every hand will be raised.
Storytellers daydream. It’s what we do.
La-la land is a great place to visit. The key is to know when it’s time to leave and come back home.
Image via mommasmoneymatters.com.