Why Being a Daydreamer Is a Good Thing

When your eyes drift off into the distance dramatically, good things are about to happen.

Someone whose thoughts naturally wander off into another dimension or someone who’s said to be “in their own little world” has probably been told once or twice that daydreaming would get them nowhere. On the contrary, a daydreaming mind is the best kind of mind. It may not move you forward physically, but it certainly takes you places that can inspire reality.

It’s good to be a grounded realist, living in the here and now and not being swept away by fantasies — at least not too much. There needs to be a little adventure, though, in one’s mundane life. That’s where daydreaming comes in.

First of all, if you’re a daydreamer, you’re probably a creative person. After all, daydreaming is a sign of a creative mind. It’s when you do your artistic thinking, when writers are imagining their novels come to life, when painters visualize an upcoming project, when dancers are choreographing a new number or when architects are planning the world’s next award-winning architectural innovation.

In some regards, daydreaming provides a much-needed break from reality. When your mind zones in and out from your grinding study, you’re getting two things done at once. It’s good to switch things up and take mental breaks from your less interesting projects with more colorful conceptions. Ultimately, it’ll reenergize your mental capacity.

Additionally, daydreaming can reveal some novel solutions to current problems. If you frequently take the time to ponder the issues going on in your life or in the world and what to do about them, you’ll likely come across a brilliant answer to fixing one. You might even come up with one faster than the people dutifully scoring the books for a solution.

Daydreaming is also a sign of intelligence. That one kid in your elementary school class who never seemed to be paying attention or was always drifting off, often because they finished a task before everyone else, probably wasn’t a slacker.

In fact, they might have been the next generation of genius. They finished the work sooner because it was easier for them, and they daydreamed because their mind moved on to the next challenging subject.

Perhaps you were that student (or still are). You might be daydreaming because you’re bored, yes, but not because the information isn’t interesting or you aren’t motivated; you simply process faster and want to venture into something new. Daydreamers generally do process information a little quicker, and they can dabble in a larger variety of subjects and activities.

Every elementary school classroom has at least one student who tends to drift off into their own world, but these students aren’t slackers; they’re usually innovative daydreamers. (Image via VideoBlocks)

If you’re a daydreamer who imagines theoretical scenarios or slight fantasies, you’ll be better prepared for the future. If you have an idea of how you would react to particular situations that could possibly happen, you’ll be ready if they do.

You might have even practiced mentally, and what’s better for preparation than frequent practice? As a plus, the world around you becomes a little more interesting and a little more adventurous. Life itself becomes just a little more enjoyable.

Believe it or not, daydreamers have also been proven to have a better working memory. Working memory is the part of the brain that allows you to handle several different thoughts at the same time.

Studies have revealed that with greater working memory, people can daydream more without forgetting the task they are currently doing. In other words, they can zone out and then return to the present project without losing their place.

Furthermore, daydreamers have a greater understanding of the world around them. They are usually more empathetic because their imagination allows them to comprehend the lives and experiences of others vividly, which makes them a genuine, trustworthy companion.

If someone is often drifting off into thoughts about scenes happening around them, they develop a deep understanding of people and the world. They tend to spend their thoughts on analytical ideas and consider emotional and mental aspects, which gives them a stronger sense of those parts in human beings.

As a result, daydreamers end up becoming some of the best counselors and advisors. As empathy can be a rare trait to find, it’s a distinguished quality to have.

Yet another benefit of daydreaming is that daydreamers make some of the best writers, filmmakers, songwriters or other creators in story-telling art forms. Their imagination and empathy bring characters to life from scratch in their mind, and they usually have an acute ability to describe things vividly.

They’re in tune with a particular dimension of the world that some can’t access, a picturesque, musical dimension they use to create stories.

On the plus side, daydreaming is a carefree, simple way to escape stress and relax. Just as you binge on Netflix or listen to music to kick back, daydreaming is another form of distraction that lets you escape the world for a little while and relieve stress. The best thing is, you can do it anywhere.

If you’re stuck somewhere waiting without your phone to occupy yourself, or perhaps traffic has you trapped in your car with nothing to do, you can simply dive into your imaginative thoughts and explore. Sometimes the best ideas come about in those moments.

Daydreaming can even be a coping method for anxiety. As a form of relaxation and escape, it can be a lifesaver in moments of an anxiety attack before a big event. Removing yourself mentally from a situation and going somewhere that’s peaceful just might be the best way to cope with anxiety.

The next time you feel like scolding yourself for going off “into your own little world,” or you worry that something’s a little off, don’t be concerned. Don’t let it distract you from lecture, of course, but don’t deny yourself that lovely little world from time to time. There are great things waiting there.

Catherine Gregoire, University of Texas at Austin

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Catherine Gregoire

University of Texas at Austin

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