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Why Daydreaming Might Be Good for You

Discover the benefits of daydreaming—a topic could encounter in a BS in Psychology program.

How often do we allow our minds to wander? Perhaps we’re thinking about a dream vacation while stuck in traffic, or spinning scenarios about winning the lottery during a tedious presentation at work. Regardless of where we are or what we’re thinking about, daydreams are free thoughts and images unfettered from our active experience—and a brain function with great benefits.

The Positive Effects of Daydreaming

Not only has daydreaming been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, but it also helps with problem-solving and enhances creativity.1 And when it comes to setting and achieving goals, taking the time to think for pleasure has also proven beneficial.2 It may seem counterintuitive—to think less directly about a specific challenge or problem—but studies continue to indicate that letting your mind wander may be just what you need to move forward.

Can Daydreaming Be Harmful?

We all get lost in thoughts now and again. In fact, the latest research on mind-wandering conducted by Harvard found that we spend nearly 47% of our waking hours thinking about what isn’t going on.3 But as with most things, moderation is key. In excess, daydreaming can be harmful—often referred to as maladaptive daydreaming (MDD). MDD occurs when someone is so consumed by their daydreams that daily life and activities are disrupted. Key indicators of MDD include:

  • Involuntary facial expressions, repetitive body movements, and vocalizations that accompany daydreams
  • An overpowering urge to keep daydreaming
  • Long-lasting daydreams that continue for minutes to hours
  • Trouble focusing
  • Sleep issues

Daydreaming as You Age

Have you noticed a difference in the amount you daydream as you get older? For many, daydreaming begins to dwindle over time. That’s because daydreaming often centers on the future, which tends to become more routine and certain as we age. But just remember that daydreaming can still be leveraged to inform decision-making, boost creativity, and enhance your own happiness—no matter your age.

Pursue Your Bachelor’s in Psychology at Walden—an Accredited University

For many aspiring practitioners, earning a bachelor’s in psychology is a great first step toward a rewarding career in psychology. In Walden’s BS in Psychology program, you can gain the specialized knowledge you need to thrive in the field and even go on to pursue your advanced psychology degree. Choose from five concentrations—including Criminal Justice and Human Services—as well as a General Psychology option to align your studies with your passion and career goals. And thanks to Walden’s online education platform, you can earn your bachelor's in psychology while you continue to work full time. That means you can complete your online psychology courses on a schedule that works for you—all you need is a computer and an internet connection.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of psychology degree programs online, including a BS in Psychology, MS in Psychology, and PhD in Psychology. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

1Source: www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2011796118
2Source: www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00626/full
3Source: www.sleepfoundation.org/mental-health/maladaptive-daydreaming

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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