PreRamble: In a combination of expectation setting and just-good-fun, self-appointed expert and author Jon Methven ponders the theory and practice of daydreaming in modern life.
He sets up his premise …
There is nothing wrong with spending vast quantities of time fantasizing about imaginary realities far away from the cheerless hardships of modern life. The problem is that people are daydreaming incorrectly. Because of widespread misuse, daydreaming has achieved the rank stigma of slothful procrastination.
But when used correctly, by following these simple guidelines, it can reduce stress, improve productivity and ensure that you stop being a miserable jerk the rest of the day.
Well, who among us isn’t in favor of strategies that can prevent miserable jerk-itude-ness?
The way I see it, there are pretty much three kinds of dreams … 1. Actual dreams, like while you’re sleeping; 2. Aspirational dreams, like, “Someday I want to walk on Mars”; 3. And then, there are random-thoughts dreams, like the aforementioned daydreams.
Daydreaming directives - Methven boldly declares that, “It counts as daydreaming only if you are staring into space or at the nearest wall” … and goes on to issue daydreaming directives around the topics like: When to daydream; Where to daydream; What to daydream; and, What not to daydream. Ultimately, he advocates for “dynamic mental breaks” sprinkled throughout the day and urges us to “daydream about things that make us smile.”
Herding cats - Cut to perspective provided by Robert Lee Hotz, veteran science writer at the WSJ and faculty at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. According to Hotz, aha moments and sudden insights (productive forms of thought that I am thinking are often borne out of daydreaming-esque activities) are the result of an “intense, complex series of brain states.” Using Hotz’ neurological approach, it appears that brain functions are most actively engaged when the mind is wandering and we’ve actually lost track of our thoughts.
Well, frown-upside-down thoughts or not, seems like any attempt to direct or control our daydreams/random thinking patterns might automatically compromise the meandering state from working its magic.
The Take-Away: Dream on – Methven’s take is entertaining and thought-provoking, but “productive daydreaming” is strictly a free-style endeavor.