Daydreams Really Do Come True

If dreams are wishes our hearts make, daydreams are plans our brains make.

At least that is what I’ve come to believe.

Long before I moved from Miami to Los Angeles, my heart had flown west. A slew of hurricanes hit coastal Florida, putting a huge damper in my Get-me-there-now! plans. While the city was shut down, I daydreamed like crazy. I imagined myself booking enough fashion or film work to make X-amount of money, taking the funds to the bank then flying to Tinseltown, ready to take it by (no pun intended) storm. Two months later, I booked a job that paid the precise amount I’d set my sights on. I’ve been trusting my daydreams ever since.

Dreaming of Los Angeles…

A little daydreamy background

For years, daydreaming was considered a major drawback—a failure of mental discipline by scientists and the gateway to psychosis, according to psychological texts. A growing body of research has revealed the near opposite: Daydreams aren’t only common, but frequently beneficial.

When reality fails to intrigue us, we begin exploring our connectedness to the world and ponder imaginary scenarios. Unlike multitasking, which is literally impossible, daydreaming allows our thoughts to escape reality while our physical self stays present. (This is one reason phone use while driving is highly dangerous, but daydreaming while cleaning is not.)

I’d venture to guess that many artists knew daydreaming was beneficial all along. What writer doesn’t spend ample time “zoned out” or “in the clouds,” right? It’s practically a prerequisite. 😉 The import thing, according to experts, is recognizing when we’re daydreaming and embracing the epiphanies when they arise. Then we can reap a variety of benefits, including:

Relaxation. Ever noticed the way time goes faster while you’re stuck in traffic or enduring a lengthy flight once your thoughts take over? Rather than feeling bored, daydreaming can instill a sort of meditative respite. And since stress can hinder creativity and overall brain function, daydreaming for R&R is invaluable—especially for non-nappers.

Maintained relationships. “We daydream about the people we love,” said James Honeycutt, PhD, professor and author of Imagined Interactions: Daydreaming about Communication in an interview with WebMD. “We imagine sharing good news with them, along with our successes and failures.” In other words, we need not be physically absent for our hearts to grow fonder.

Conflict resolution. Ever hit a roadblock in a creative project only to come up with a solution seemingly at random? You’re folding laundry when a-HA! The answer illuminates. A study conducted at the University of British Columbia in 2009 showed that the brain recruits complex regions of the brain associated with problem solving during daydreams.

Increased productivity, creativity and success. A wandering mind is crucial to creativity, says researcher, Jonathan Schooler. If we spend all of our time focused on reality or working without respite, our creativity and productivity suffer.

There’s a reason athletes visualize gold medals; it works. We have to do the footwork, of course, but imagining successful goal-reaching increases our odds of stepping toward them.

How important do you consider daydreaming? Any daydreams-come-true stories to share?

Leave a comment

50 Comments

  1. How important? Very important. All extraordinary actions come from extraordinary thoughts. Start with the thoughts, and the rest will take care of itself.

    Thank you for sharing a great post, August.

    Subhan Zein

    Reply
  2. Running from Hell with El

     /  September 13, 2012

    Grinning while reading this, August. I agree 100%. And yep, I spend vast amounts of time not being present and some of that isn’t good (dissociation is the darker side of daydreaming, but I digress, sort of) but most of the time, it’s awesome. It’s when I concoct scenes and mental storyboards. I have so many examples of it, too many to pick just one. But for sure, visualizing positive outcomes has helped me, especially in sports and in public speaking.

    Have a good one!

    Reply
    • Great point, El. Our mind wanderings can definitely lead us to dark places if we let them, or fail to get help when we need it. Fortunately, the “good” stuff works as awesome medicine—preventative and once negativity sets in. So glad you’re enjoying the brighter side nowadays!

      Reply
  3. Fantastic! I always shooed myself away from day dreaming. I was very much a do-whats-practical-and-safe kind of gal. I finally snapped out of that mindset, and I have never been happier. Hell, my whole blog is based on my huge non stop day dream of moving to a new city.

    Reply
    • Lots of proof in that pudding, Becca! 🙂 I think many of us view, or have viewed, daydreaming as impractical. That’s risky, as disbelief can make us lose out on the awesome benefits.

      Reply
  4. Kourtney Heintz

     /  September 13, 2012

    Another amazing post August! I consider daydreaming essential to my day. Some of my best story ideas comes when I’m letting my mind wander. I think you have to imagine things to bring them into your reality. Especially things that are really hard to achieve. I vote for daily daydreaming! 🙂

    Reply
  5. I have always been a daydreamer. As I child, I would sit alone and dream up all kinds of things. My daydreams are more practical now, but I love imagining what ifs.

    Reply
  6. I’m a chronic daydreamer. Must be a writer thing. It has been both a boon and a bane. Depends on what I’m daydreaming about.

    Reply
  7. I agree with all of the above…daydreaming takes me places in the heart and in the mind. I love that quote by Edgar Allan Poe, “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Can’t be said better than that.

    Reply
  8. I consider it very important, since I spend many hours each week doing just that 🙂

    Reply
  9. Phew! What a relief! I have always been such a daydreamer. The only way for me to get through all of those lecture classes in college many moons ago was by taking fastidious notes. Otherwise, I’d check out. : )

    Reply
  10. Such a great post.
    It reminds me a lot of the book the Power of Intention which basically speaks to the power of our minds and thoughts in helping us create our own reality. I think the “Secret” was based on the same type of principles.
    I’ve seen the power of daydreaming come to fruition MORE than once and am a total believer. Sometimes I get caught up in the business of live and going from one to-do to the next and I forget to take time to dream…but not just far fetched dreaming but really specific and intentioned dreaming geared to manifest my reality…
    Thank you for the ever timely reminder…
    Off to dream land…oh yeah….ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

    Reply
  11. I SOOOO needed to read this today! I’m intending to move back to New York in 5 months and this is the very thing I need to be practicing to make that dream a reality and push out all those ridiculous fears.

    Thank you so much! You’re posts are always so eye-opening and inspiring 🙂

    Reply
  12. Daydreaming is a part of my normal day 🙂 I so agree with the statement that a wandering mind is important for creativity. Great post August!

    Reply
  13. Karen McFarland

     /  September 13, 2012

    “This is one reason phone use while driving is highly dangerous, but daydreaming while cleaning is not.” Thank you so much for saying this August. If not for daydreaming, how would many of us clean our house! Seriously, I have always daydreamed. Got in trouble for it many times as a child. It is apparent that I daydreamed either too much or at the worst possible times. So I was daydreaming pretty much all the time. It must not have been a bad thing in my mind because it was obvious that I enjoyed it. So a big thank you for this post. I’ve got to go now and get back to my lovely daydream. 🙂

    Reply
  14. I’ve been a daydreamer for as long as I can remember. As just a ‘person,’ it can be for fun, or to escape. As a writer, I don’t see how anyone can put pen to paper if they don’t spend a good deal of time daydreaming. Not only about the stories, but about what we’re going to do when they’re finished.

    Reply
  15. mgedwards

     /  September 13, 2012

    With all the angst around us, thanks for reminding us to daydream! Well put, my friend.

    Reply
  16. I think we need some daydreams to break up the monotany of the day… But there are limits!

    Reply
  17. Raani York

     /  September 13, 2012

    Interesting you’re writing about this. So many of my plans, goals – and achievements started with daydreams. That’s why I keep on doing this. (not too practical when sitting in a meeting supposed to take the minutes and let you thoughts run wild…) LOL

    Reply
  18. I really wanted to write an insightful comment here, but my ever-daydreaming brain has led me to the song “Daydream Believer” and I can’t get it out of my head! But I definitely believe in the importance and power of daydreams and visualizing success.

    Reply
  19. As a kid, my mom had to work sometimes to get my attention because I’d be off in the world of my imagination, daydreaming away. She’d say, “Jennifer, are you unconscious?” to which I’d usually reply, “Huh?” I was unconscious a lot, particularly as a teen. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Hey,

    For years I dreamt about coming to America and in 1994 I got my Green Card.

    Then I dreamt of becoming a citizen and that happened in 2003:)

    Finally, I had always dreamt of being a dad and a writer, and oh my gosh, look what a bit of hard work, determination (and a beautiful wife) can do for you 🙂

    Thanks for another awesome sauce post 🙂

    Reply
  21. It’s always interesting to me to see the power of the mind. I’m kind of a hybrid. As said earlier in the exchange between you and Subhan I’m in the middle. I thought our thoughts do take care of the rest, but because they pull us into action. Once our daydreams are seen as ;real’ (this is what I’m going to do) then like a magnet, our minds pull us into taking the steps to make it ‘real’ in the physical world.

    thanks august

    Reply
  22. It’s one of my favorite pastimes! It is how I come up with flash fictions and blog posts!

    Reply
  23. Kathleen

     /  September 14, 2012

    Wonderful post, August. I’ve always been a daydreamer …

    Reply
  24. Great post! I’m not sure I could add anything meaningful here that others haven’t said. But daydreaming has gotten me through some very tough, lonely times – and instilled hope for better times ahead. Where would we be without hope? 😀

    Reply
  25. You are so pretty, August! I love that poster of you and the cute guy.

    Too funny, but just yesterday I asked on Twitter how people plan out their scene ~ I do a lot of story building while I nap, some folks said while doing laundry or exercising, etc. Basically, it was exactly like you’re saying here. We tend to drift off while doing monotonous chores and think of our stories. I am a huge proponent of daydreaming.

    Reply
    • It’s so true, Tameri. Those monotonous chores are pretty vital from a creativity standpoint. If it worked for Agatha Christie, who said: “The best time to plan a book is while you’ re doing the dishes.” Fabulous, right?

      Thanks for the sweet words! I’ll have to share them with Lee (the guy ;)).

      Reply
  26. I am such a daydreamer — in fact, I can go so deep into a daydream it’s rather scary *laugh* — but I do try not to do that while driving *teehee* — sometimes I think of my writing as a form of deep daydreaming – as if I’m in a “trance” where everything falls away but the “Other World” of my characters. It’s purdy kewl.

    I used to daydream of my own novels on my bookshelf – GMR even took an old book and put a fake “spine” on it with the title of my book and I’d look at that and imagine it were true, and zippity do dah day, now it is 😀 (but with different titles, as I suck at titling *laugh*)

    Reply
  27. Hi,
    Absolutely agree with you. Dreams do come true and daydreaming is very healthy. I know because I am a daydreamer. Being brought up in a proverty-stricken home, I was a daydreamer and I imagined myself living in Europe and today I am living in Europe. There are many other situations that I have daydreamed about and this trait in me has helped me to achieve the impossible, and especially when I have a problem to solve. It is not unusal for me to sit and daydream about it first. Some people go into action and must do something, but it is the opposite for me. I like to picture the problem or as you say daydream about it. I must admit that my parents saw my daydreaming as destructive and the majority of my elementary schools teachers also. It was only as I got older, that I saw how my daydreaming helps me master most of my most difficult situations.
    I truly enjoyed the article August and by the way, I am reading the HSP book by Aron. It is an eye opener.
    Have a great weekend.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

    Reply
  28. So important. So many answers are found in those moments of daydreaming. When we try to think out the problems we sometimes try too hard at forcing the answer. When we sit back and and let the mind just do its thing it’s amazing what will happen. Wonderful post, August.

    Reply
  29. Okay, this will definitely help me feel less guilty about taking time to not actually be physically doing something but instead having my head in the clouds.

    Reply
  30. I daydreamed all my life of getting out of the city I was born in and living in the country and a few years ago I made that dream come true. So – yes, it’s possible and it’s necessary to daydream.

    Reply
  31. daydreams are so important. hang on to them with all your strength. Kourtney, i loved htis when I first read it and it has good stuff to review today. thanks.

    Reply
  32. Came here from Kourtney’s blog –
    yes our thoughts become our lives 🙂
    well done lady 🙂
    beautiful beautiful 🙂
    Cat

    Reply
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