When I was a little girl, I loved to day dream. I was one of those kids the teacher is always calling back from dream world. The recall to reality was always a little negative in my recollection. “Stop daydreaming, and concentrate on your maths/history/geography – fill in the blank.”
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised the benefits of day dreaming and mental downtime. When my children were younger, I used to use the driving time into the office every day to day dream. It was a time for me to let my mind wander and relax. I discovered that poems would often pop into my head, more or less fully formed during this time. The inspiration would be something I saw on the way to work. For example, my poem “The Beggar’s Child” was inspired by a mother and baby I used to see standing on the curb everyday. I looked at that little boy, strapped to his mother’s back in the traditional African way, and wondered what he thought of the cars driving past and the indifference of the drivers to his plight.
About a year before the first lockdown, I started listening to audiobooks in the car, instead of day dreaming. I quickly discovered that my poetic output dropped dramatically with my new routine. That led to my having to make a choice between using my time in the car to listen to classic books or to day dream and produce poetry. I chose audio books.
The idea that the lack of day dreaming time was limiting my creativity stayed with me and I was most interested to learn that that day dreaming is considered to be good for children. Yes, you read correctly, day dreaming is beneficial for children and for adults.
Day dreams teach children to be calm and peaceful and to develop empathy and better emotional learning for consolidation of their learning experiences.
According to many psychologists, zoning out in your own internal world is good and helps you to plan for the future, generate ideas, regulate emotion, and spur creativity.
I have always felt that day dreaming, which I’ve always termed watching the clouds, is an essential part of the inventive process. The mind must wander and explore in order to be able to make the great leaps of logic and imagination required to invent something completely new. It pleases me greatly that recent research supports my view that day dreaming is an essential part of mental processing, reasoning, and learning.
These are some of the identified benefits of day dreaming:
- Enhanced critical thinking and intelligence – One of the main regions of the brain utilised when we day dream is the region associated with complex problem solving. Critical thinking capabilities are essential for successful learning;
- Motivation or achievement of ‘dreams’ – Living our dreams through day dreaming is an enabler of achieving our personal goals and objectives.
- Increased confidence – Imagining ourselves playing different roles in life and achieving certain objectives, like passing examinations, gives us more confidence when the real situation presents itself.
- Increased insight – The light bulb moments we have are often a result of our processing and organising information differently during day dreaming sessions.
- Increased ability to cope – Imagining ourselves in a different situation when our real one is emotionally draining or difficult, gives us an increased mental ability to cope with our reality.
- Better mental agility – Day dreaming enables us to smoothly shift mental gears in the face of unexpected situations or unanticipated events.
- Increased creativity – Day dreaming provides for increased creativity as our mind finds ways of entertaining us free from outside stimulation.
- Increased concentration – Mental downtime gives our brains time to process information and enables it to develop and concentrate better during periods of focus.
I must admit, that I have always innately know the above and I encouraged my children to day dream. Sadly, most kids fill all their free time with visual media like television and computers and I wonder what that will mean for innovation and progression in the future.
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.
The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.
Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.
Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.
Find Robbie Cheadle
Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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