Please Daydream

Most of my clients spend hours in meetings, presentations and behind the mirror in focus groups where their primary job is to listen. It’s hard work; it really is. Listening, being fully present, being mindful and aware takes energy, dedication and practice.

And I know that when I’m interviewing people and clients are watching me, many are not paying attention, some or most of the time.

I’m here to say please don’t feel too guilty if you daydream in meetings, in dark observation rooms. In fact, go ahead – I encourage you to daydream! It’s good for you. It can be useful, productive, and can encourage creativity.

Scientists are applauding “positive-constructive daydreaming” which, according to an article in Psychology Today is associated with openness to experience and reflecting a drive to explore ideas, imagination, feelings, and sensations. Openness to experience is linked to many indicators of psychological health, including happiness, positive emotions, and

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high quality of life.”

Daydreaming can help us form a greater sense of identity and personal meaning.

Daydreaming can “enhance self control and creativity.”

Ideally, you don’t want to be daydreaming when it’s essential to be paying attention to something else (like focus groups. Or your boss.) But there are a lot of times when our attention is not demanded, like when we’re in the shower, or taking a walk or sitting in traffic. And, arguably, even at certain times when you’re in meetings, or in a dark observation room. “In fact, the benefits of daydreaming are most potent when the external environment is undemanding, and our minds are free to roam our rich internal landscape of emotions, images, and fantasies, and to consider our more distant aspirations and plot our paths toward them. “Not all minds that wander are lost,” Jonathan Smallwood declares.”

One of the most interesting points the authors of the Psychology Today article make is that daydreaming and mindfulness grow from the same

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roots. Mindfulness helps train a number of executive attention functions, including attentional control, cognitive inhibition, mental flexibility, and emotional regulation. All are crucial for allowing us to maintain focus on the external environment and ignore inner chatter as situations demand. The same skills contribute to positive constructive daydreaming. They enable us to insulate ourselves from the external world and sustain vivid, structured daydreams with immense personal value. They help us screen out negative, past-oriented, repetitive daydreams that undermine well-being.”

So go ahead – dream a little dream for me.






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