Mental Health Monday–Daydreaming is required for good brain functioning

On August 30, the LA Times reported the importance of daydreaming. Here’s the full article.

The gist: You know that running commentary going through your mind day in and day out? Well, neuroscientists are finding this “idle chatter” is very important. So important, in fact, that it’s been given its own term–“default mode network.”

This network connects us to our past memories, helps us envision future scenarios, and collects information from our present. When daydreaming, these neural networks work in unison. Scientists believe this may lead us to a path of figuring out where and how our concept of “self” is created. (In other words, there really is something to all this psychology stuff! ;)) It even has been identified as being faulty in Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, depression, and autism. This mode, therefore, is incredibly important in our mental well-being.

So, dear creative friends, all those hours you (and I) spend daydreaming characters, plots, settings, inciting events, and tension-filled scenes is NOT wasted!

Here’s a particularly encouraging quote from the article:

“People have this fear of being inadequately engaged, and as a consequence they overlook how engaging their own minds can be,” Schooler says. “Each one of us can be pretty good company to ourselves if we allow our minds to go there.”

Alrighty, so whaddya think about this?

13 comments on “Mental Health Monday–Daydreaming is required for good brain functioning

  1. GREAT post, Laura!! Fascinating stuff. I know, for me personally, my “daydreaming time” is the part of the day I look forward to the most. I actually go out on my porch every morning after my run and just muse. LOVE love love this post! Thanks for sharing 😀

  2. I love the quote! And yes, haven’t we all had instances where we were stuck on a problem and came up with a solution during daydreaming time?

  3. Charli Mac says:

    My daydreams about how I was a detective with Bruce Willis in Moonlighting and he loved ME so much got my wheels spinning. As a kid I found out how much fun daydreaming is. Never stopped. I have had many imaginery husabands and boyfriends. There was Bon Jovi, Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp from 21 Jumpstreet, Jordan Knight from NKOTB. This list goes on. As an adult I’d recall those dreams, think of new hotties while on the train to work. I decided I should be writing these stories, and here I am. LOL.

    Great post and link.

  4. Lynn Rush says:

    Yeah!!!! I’m so glad to hear I’m not wasting time. I do most of my day dreaming on my road bike for hours on end. I get a lot of fun stories that way. Go Daydreamers!

  5. My mind works overtime all the time; possibly it may be racing, which is not good. I am trying to think about how I daydream. We don’t have time to waste so it’s good to know that thinking, imagining, and creating scenarios for characters and plots is not a waste whether it produces what we intend or not. Thank you for sharing!

  6. John Sankovich says:

    I totally agree, and find that most of my good story ideas come from my daydreaming. Great post, very relevant topic.

  7. Kathee says:

    My best thoughts are those “day”dreams that happen right before I fall asleep at night – my mind roams and then I drift off to sleep…

  8. Love this post! A great reason to daydream instead of worry. 😉

  9. Doris says:

    Very interesting…especially because I have been a daydreamer my whole life. As a child, I found out that daydreaming was such a pleasant time. I felt the power of daydreaming when I realized it was my “own world”, and I could mold it any way I wanted and recreate myself in it. Great post!!


  10. lbdiamond says:

    Omigosh, I just love reading about everyone’s daydreaming adventures! What an imaginative group! 😀

  11. Amrita says:

    I find your blog very interesting and insightful.

    Greetings from India

  12. Amrita says:

    There is a ticker tape running through my brain all th e time. I thought it wa s weird.

  13. chandragarbanzo says:

    That’s really quite a relief. Now maybe we’re not so loopy afterall. Thanks for the informative post.

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