by Kulsum Musani
Trust science to come up with a reason behind phenomenons most of us take for granted. Take daydreaming, for example. Psychologists estimate that daydreams occupy one-third to one-half of a person’s thoughts while he or she is awake.
A study done by Malia Mason at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital shows through brain scans that a part of our brain lights up while we focus on a task. When we finish the task, another part of the brain, the daydreaming part, lights up. From this, Mason concluded that when a person does not have something that requires them to deliberately focus, his/her mind starts to wander and move from one thought to another thought. In essence, the reason we daydream is simply because the mind can wander when we are not focused.
So, unlike Freud’s view that daydreaming and fantasy are precursors of mental illness, daydreaming is a natural phenomenon that all of our brains do.
I’ve often noticed that in our society, we are encouraged to live in the present, and not waste time daydreaming. We are told to just “snap out of it.” As it turns out, many of the greatest inventions and ideas have resulted from people daydreaming. Albert Einstein, for example, invented many of his things because of his imagination and his subsequent daydreams. Stephen King’s daydreams allow him to create his amazing novels, which have made him so famous. Even in psychoanalysis, patients are healed through the use of a directed daydream.
The main debate that starts here is whether too much daydreaming is a bad thing. I personally have noticed that when I’m daydreaming, I’ll come up with a solution to a problem that has been bugging me for some time, or think of something that I can use to complete a project or a paper.
However, just as most things in life, too much daydreaming is not very productive for an individual. Letting daydreams about the past, present, or future consume your thoughts can lead to distractions; this can lead to low test results and take a toll on relationships.
In the end, whether we admit it or not, we all daydream. Our daydreams allow us to escape from reality for some time and live in our own thoughts. It might be seen as a waste of time, but sometimes it’s good to take a break from all that stress and anxiety. What do you think?