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The Joys of Mental Sex: Lesson 12

December 28, 2009

Dream a little dream…

Most people spend about a third of their waking hours daydreaming. This is nothing to worry about. Daydreams make people healthier, happier, more creative and more productive.

People with monotonous or boring jobs often daydream to get through the day. It staves off mental health and keeps the mind active. (Remember, the mind is at work even when daydreaming).

Day dreams average between 5 and 34 seconds. Men and women spend about the same amount of time in daydreams. They are not an excuse to goof around. Daydreams actually make us more creative and better problem-solvers. Scientists, composers and writers often tout the benefits of daydreams as a source of ideas.

Guided Imagery is a form of daydreaming used in mental health clinics and pain clinics to manage anger, stress and pain (both mental and physical). After my wreck left me with a permanently damaged nerve and peripheral neuropathy, I used a combination of guided imagery and intermittent electro-shock therapy to get off round-the-clock narcotics.

While famous before Happy Gilmore, that movie had one of the best examples of guided imagery I’ve seen. Good ole’ Happy kept going to his “happy place.” The technique involves relaxation, deep breathing, and transporting oneself in the mind to another time and place where one feels happy and pleasant.

Daydreams can help you attain goals. Consider these tips:

  • Realize that daydreams are important and not a waste of time. Many great achievements came from people who dared to dream big dreams and make them happen.
  • Use daydreams to boost your physical well-being. As a stress reliever, many hypertensive patients have come off medications with serious side effects, or at least reduced the dosage required, through use of guided imagery. I got off round the clock narcotics.
  • Dream the impossible dream. Let your mind take flight. Nothing is too foolish or outlandish in our minds. Oft times, the most bizarre daydreams lead to realistic goals through stepping stones.
  • Write down your daydreams. Go back to them later. Analyze them. Which are important to you? Can you make realistic goals from them? Use them in a book? What you can’t use today, you may be able to use tomorrow. Make sure they are retrieval.
  • Avoid self-made obstacles. Don’t set goals that you can’t possible attain or that depend on someone else to achieve.
  • Pay attention to your daydreams. They are often clues to where your life should be leading or where you really want it to go. Some people dream of writing, composing, painting. In their daydreams they know they would not only be good at it, but also enjoy it. Too often people reject daydreams out of hand. They can come up with every reason under the sun for why they shouldn’t do something. They look at all their daydreams logically. Smart people figure out that daydreams are an effective way to initiate positive changes. They just have to take the first step to make their dreams come true.
  • Daydreams can serve us as functional tools. They allow us to get revenge in the most horrid ways without going to jail. They provide us with “rehearsals” of situations ahead and face challenging situations. By visualizing where we want to be – the NYT best-sellers list – we receive the impetus to pursue our goals.

Next time I’ll address fantasies – a great subject for fiction writers since they are our life and a gift from us to our readers.

Until next time, have a joyous Christmas Season and happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2009 7:50 am

    Where would any of us writers be if we couldn’t day dream. It’s the best part of my day. My stress is always less when I allow myself to day dream.
    Write on,
    Teresa R.

  2. December 29, 2009 9:46 am

    Every now and then I go through a period where there are no day dreams. When that happens, yes, any form of creativity falls off. My sleep also goes a little hay wire. I’m in one of those phases now. I’m going to see if it’s possible to set aside time to day dream, the way you might set aside time to meditate or exercise, and I’ll see what happens. Thank you for some great thoughts here!

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