In our nonstop, wired lives, the benefits of mindfulness are numerous.
People who meditate regularly have a more exceptional ability to focus, become more appreciative of the present moment, learn how to regulate their emotions more effectively, and are generally happier. Nothing but positives, right? We could all be more mindful. But could there be such a thing as too much mindfulness?
What? That’s heresy!
Being fully present is essential to executive functioning, and having the ability to focus in the present moment is the key to our survival as a species. That’s true to a point. But hasn’t our ability to imagine—to let our thoughts wander—led to the creation of some of the greatest inventions and works of art in human history?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” ~ Albert Einstein
Contrary to popular opinion, daydreaming isn’t just a waste of time. The key to being a successful daydreamer, however, is to be mindful of our wandering thoughts, just as we would pay attention to our kids when they’re playing outside. Don’t stop those imaginative ideas from exploring and having fun, but do keep them out of harm’s way.
It’s essential to know the difference between constructive and destructive daydreams. A revenge fantasy about harming someone, for example, is destructive. Daydreaming when we need to be paying attention (like when we’re driving, for instance) is also not advisable. Choosing the right time and place to daydream, therefore, is essential to the process.
By picking appropriate topics, times, and places for our constructive daydreams, and paying attention to where our wandering thoughts go, we can successfully tap into the awesome powers of our imagination.
Here are four ways mindful daydreaming can enhance our lives:
Conscious daydreaming improves our problem-solving skills.
The act of turning our thoughts inward allows us to imagine solutions to problems.
Think about it: almost every world-changing invention and innovation started as a wild idea.
Mindful daydreaming enhances our creativity.
Wandering minds are more original and creative. When we let our imaginations run loose but stay aware of where they’re going, we can end up in some new and surprising places.
If our inner thoughts can become more vivid and exciting, so can our outer worlds.
Mindful daydreaming improves our ability to plan for the future.
We can visualize a future goal and then use our imaginations to plan out the steps to achieve it thoughtfully.
Mindful daydreaming makes our lives more meaningful.
Cultivating a rich interior world can add more meaning to our lives because we can see how we can use our imaginations to create positive change that enhances our lives and the world around us.
Daydreaming is an excellent mental activity that we can use to enhance our lives greatly. The key is to be mindful of how and when we apply it. So don’t give up your daydream, but do be aware of how you use those wandering thoughts, okay?