It wasn’t that long ago when kids would be punished by their teachers if they were ever caught “wandering off” into daydream territory. Thankfully, in recent years we have come to understand there are significant and powerful long-term benefits to daydreaming. Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., recently published a piece written for Psychology Today where he explains exactly why daydreaming is so beneficial for us.
Kaufman writes: “By the end of the school year, the daydreaming students reported a greater connection to their school, a greater concern about doing well in school, more strategies for actually realizing their dreams, and better attendance. What’s more, they were better able to balance their positive expectations against feared possible outcomes. There was also a significant reduction in behavioral problems among the boys. In other words, daydreaming helped students achieve the very things educators assume it hinders.”
One of the reasons why daydreaming is so beneficial for us is that the act of fantasizing about our future helps us to consolidate memories and synthesize disconnected ideas and plans together into one bigger picture, thereby increasing our sense of identity and creating a greater sense of personal meaning. Kaufman adds: “Healthy social and emotional functioning and the ability to make meaning of life experiences rely on ‘constructive internal reflection,’ observes Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a psychologist at the University of Southern California. Feeling compassion or inspiration — and spring-boarding from these emotions to construct personal meaning — involves making connections between our outer social world and our inner mental life.” You can read the full article by visiting PsychologyToday.com.