Brain and Body: Daydreaming

Bethany Cutkomp, Editor-In-Chief

We sometimes have those moments where at one moment, we’re sitting through a boring lecture of some sort, and the next, we’re drifting off to some distant world or thought without meaning to. If you’re unfortunate, someone sitting in your line of vision will become offended at you. “Why are you staring at me!”

If you have ever went through this, you have experienced zoning out, daydreaming, or mind wandering.

The cool thing about daydreaming is that you are not asleep nor awake. Instead, you have passed through a different in-between realm of consciousness. Your attention shifts from the prior subject at hand, and while you may be lucid, you are not completely alert either. You lose touch of the world around you and immerse yourself into your own mind.

It turns out, letting your mind wander is actually beneficial.

Zoning out has been linked to creativity and better working memory. By letting the mind wander, you are letting your brain freely work out problems on their own instead of solely concentrating on that subject. In addition, studies have proven that daydreaming actually helps you remember information even when distracted.

Because creativity and working memory improve when zoning out, daydreamers have been known as better problem solvers and are less stressed than others. Improvements of empathy and intelligence have also been connected to zoning out as well.

All of the benefits behind daydreaming make it seem like we should be zoning out all day. However, there are some cons to mind wandering too much. Productivity fails, naturally, when you sit and zone out for long periods of time. This can lead to procrastination and failing to meet deadlines.

Also, there are times when overthinking may lead to negativity. It is not healthy to hold onto bad thoughts and focus on them. Positive thoughts are always the way to go when letting the mind wander.

Zoning out gives the mind a break from stress and effort. Fair amounts of daydreaming are good for you in several ways, but too much may lead to procrastination and negativity. That’s why it is important to find a healthy medium. Give yourself a few minutes to dream away, and then come back to reality to tackle the task at hand.

Your eyes may glaze over. You may drool over the desk a little. Just keep in mind that doing so is helpful, even if some frustrated person argues otherwise when they catch you “staring” at them.