How did daydreaming make you more creative

Daydreams: Let your mind wander more often

It happens in the middle of everyday life: The thoughts wander, go on a journey and we also watch them transfigure. Typical Daydreams. Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert once researched that for almost half of our lives we are not focused on our outside world and not on what we are currently doing. Instead, we are preoccupied with our own thoughts. Quite a few feel guilty afterwards, as if they had wasted the time uselessly. But not true! Daydreams do have some advantages and should not be prevented, but used ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

The creation of daydreams

Are daydreams pictorial fantasiesthat we experience with full consciousness. To a certain extent, these fantasies can be controlled, for example when you think about your next vacation or imagine what it would be like to be promoted. Often, however, daydreams unfold without your intervention, simply by allowing yourself to detach your attention from the current activity for a moment. This then turns away from the external stimuli towards what concerns you inside.

You have probably already experienced this phenomenon yourself. Suddenly you are with the thoughts completely elsewhere, hardly perceive your environment and sink into your daydreams. Often this happens, for example, on long walks, during which you can no longer remember the last two hundred meters because you have gone about your daily daydreams so much.

According to Jonathan Schooler, professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, there are two reasons for daydreaming:

  • Overwhelming

    The brain just needs a break every now and then. For example, you have already worked on a concept for several hours. But now the point has been reached where your brain is no longer receptive and your concentration disappears. In short, you need a break and your thoughts wander.

  • Underchallenge

    If you devote yourself to a task that does not need your full attention, the brain uses the free space to bring to light things that occupy you in your subconscious. Often your thoughts revolve around future events, for example goals that you still want to achieve or decisions that you still have to make.

Daydreams are primarily a kind The brain's compensatory mechanism who ensures that the body's own resources and capacities are used correctly.

If you spend too long on a task, you direct your thinking into you tunnel and causes mental blindness. The one is missing Fresh air of free association. When half asleep, however, the brain gets the time it needs to link information and thus mutate into a nucleus for good ideas.

Daydreaming is a source of great ideas

genius Albert Einstein, the director Woody Allen to the author Joanne K. Rowling were and are not just avowed fans of daydreaming. According to their own statements, the three of them owe their best ideas to them. But there are also scientific advocates, including Benjamin Baird - a fellow Schoolers at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

During his research, he and his colleagues had 145 graduates complete some creativity tests, interrupted by a 12-minute break. During this time, the subjects were divided into three groups:

  • Some pulled themselves into one Rest room to doze off back.
  • The second group had to be small again Cognition tests let yourself endure.
  • The third group should do some boring things - but with the goal that you Spirit on the move goes and allows daydreams.

Then the next round of Creativity tests - and lo and behold: the daydreamers from group 3 performed significantly better. Very clear: on average, whole 41 percent more solutions found them opposite the other two groups.

Also the story of the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz testifies to the creative power of daydreams when they deciphered the structure of the benzene molecule. According to the legend it came like this:

On the night of his spectacular discovery, Kekulé sat in his armchair, watching the logs burn in the fireplace and his thoughts transfigured when a vision seized his dozing mind: carbon and hydrogen atoms danced before his eyes; a snake appeared, bit its own tail, and formed a ring. Then the atoms arranged themselves into a ring structure.

Kekulé recognized the long sought arrangement. Organic chemistry was born.

Kekulé himself told the story 25 years after its discovery. However, that was cheated: He had already been made aware of the ring theory by a colleague, but initially rejected it.

His attempt at the Legends but still shows why it was so credible: daydreaming and twilight states make people inventive. They are the wake-up call for the right hemisphere. The left, logically organizing hemisphere has a break in the meantime. It is only needed later to turn the confused fantasies into a useful idea - or a pretty story.

Advantages of daydreaming: Put an end to the bad image

Daydreams get a bad rap because they are frequent lack of discipline and equated with a poor perception. Sigmund Freud even insinuated that daydreams were the Development of neurotic complaints favor. In some people's minds that still hold up today. Unfortunately.

Have long since Scientists can provethat the opposite is true: daydreams are essential better than their reputation, they even have a positive effect on work. And not just there: they are for our brain and our psyche downright a boon ...

Here are just a few positive effects of daydreaming:

  • Daydreams increase creativity

    At first sight it seems contradictory that it should contribute to the solution of a task not to concentrate precisely on this. But brain researcher Andreas Fink was able to use measurements of brain waves to show, for example, that a slow brain rhythm is extremely important for creative processes. These so-called Alpha waves but could be measured especially in people during a daydream, in this state their ability to remember and learn was particularly increased. But even so, daydreams offer enough space to creatively deal with upcoming tasks and their solution: During the wandering, your mind involuntarily collects enough bits of information that it can relink - and voilà, the result is usually a new and creative one Idea.

  • Daydreams encourage forward thinking

    Daydreamers find it easier to identify problems early on and to solve them. For example, the psychologist Kalina Christoff from the University of British Columbia was able to use brain scans to prove that a whole network of brain areas - the so-called Default network - is active. Neuroscientist Muireann Irish, on the other hand, believes that daydreams are actually hard work for our upstairs room (even if it doesn't feel like it). The constant linking of different neural networks and thoughts is not only typical for the structure of the brain - it actually promotes our thinking, the foresighted view and the anticipation of the future.

  • Daydreams train our brain

    ... but less awareness. When Anthony Jack, a cognitive researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, studied the phenomenon, he discovered, among other things, that when we daydream we go through different modes of thinking - sometimes analytical, sometimes empathic, sometimes chaotic. However, it looks as if the other ways of thinking are being switched off for a short time. Or to put it another way: daydreams give different areas of the brain a short break. But they are important in order to be able to do more afterwards.

  • Daydreams help to develop new perspectives

    While letting your thoughts wander, you can of course also imagine yourself to be someone completely different and run through different scenarios. At the same time (and unconsciously) you train your empathic skills, i.e. the ability to take different perspectives, empathize with other people and understand their reactions and feelings, which in turn strengthens your social skills in the real world.

  • Daydreams increase working memory

    Research by researchers led by Daniel Levinson from the University of Wisconsin and the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive Science came to the conclusion that daydreams improve our memory performance - especially our ability to concentrate and the ability to better retrieve stored information (despite distractions and sources of interference). Even more: According to a study by Cornell University in Ithaca, daydreams even increase our performance and productivity.

  • Daydreams offer mental retreats

    In a world in which the number of environmental stimuli is constantly increasing, a brief moment of inner contemplation can seem like a short vacation. As studies at the Menninger Clinic have shown, daydreams - similar to meditation - can lower blood pressure and stress levels.

The sense and use of daydreaming at work

Accordingly, a number of scientists are now advising To use daydreams more often and consciously. In particular, they are particularly helpful if you have the feeling that you are experiencing a blockage and are stuck or when you are working on solving a problem and cannot find a solution at all.

In such a situation, it helps enormously To let work rest briefly and to pursue a mentally undemanding activity. It shouldn't be an activity that you need to focus on, but rather something like scribbling on a pad. That gives you the opportunity to digress and daydream that solve a problem.

However - it has to be said - there are of course also tasks in the job that require your undivided attention, for example preparing one Customer presentation.

In such situations, daydreams can be too Efficiency killers mutate. Anyone who is struggling with a task with a tight deadline is more likely to be interrupted by many daydreams or uses them to procrastinate, i.e. the self-deceptive postponement of unpleasant tasks. Here it is more helpful to focus your attention to prevent the Thoughts wander.

In short: daydreams also have one Downsidewhich, however, lies less in the dream itself than in the timing and use of the same. You should therefore distinguish when it can be helpful to use a brief one theoretical digression and when to concentrate better on a task.

FAQ: The most common questions about daydreaming

who daydreaming regularly and frequently experienced, may have some questions about it. But even if you notice for the first time that your thoughts are wandering into daydreams, you are initially unsettled and do not know what to make of them.

In conclusion we will answer some of the most common questions in our little one Daydreaming FAQ:

  • Can daydreams be dangerous?

    First of all, the following applies in principle: Daydreams are considered harmless. While you may be less aware of your surroundings and external circumstances during the mental journey, accidents due to daydreams are extremely rare - much less than, for example, due to actual microsleep. However, in some exceptional cases, when daydreaming is excessive and occupying a large part of the day, it may be a sign of mental illness. Those who indulge in their daydreams too long and too intensely can also perceive them as a burden or even develop depressive feelings. For the vast majority of people, however, daydreaming to a normal extent is consistently safe and positive.

  • Should I listen to my daydreams?

    Not all daydreams contain useful information, but you should not just ignore it. Especially in wandering thoughts you often find solution ideas, previously unimagined approaches, new integrations or creative effusions. In addition, in daydreams, your own goals and wishes are often depicted in visual form, so that you can become aware of them.

  • How intense are daydreams?

    There is no general answer to this question, but scientists assume two findings: On the one hand, daydreams are perceived less intensely than dreams at night while we are sleeping. On the other hand, the perception differs from person to person, which is why some people experience a daydream much more intensely and realistically than others. Such differences can be anchored in the individual personality, but can also be shaped by previous experiences.

  • Can daydreams be interrupted?

    You probably know it from night dreams, you suddenly wake up from a dream that has not even ended and wish to go back to sleep straight away. Something similar can happen with daydreams when you are suddenly pulled back into reality. This can happen when external stimuli become very strong (for example because you are spoken to). As with other dreams, however, it is usually difficult to reconnect with an interrupted daydream.

  • Can daydreams be evoked in a targeted manner?

    Daydreams can usually not be created at the push of a button, but you can create the right conditions and thus prepare and encourage letting go of thoughts. This is possible, for example, through meditation or by doing tasks that allow you to switch off mentally.

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