The Mystery of Daydreaming

The Mystery of Daydreaming

Ella Oliva, Writer

It’s easy to let our minds wander. According to multiple studies, 96 percent of adults have admitted to daydreaming at least once a day. However, this has been quite the mystery to doctors for many years. After going years with unanswered questions scientist have finally come to an answer on how daydreaming occurs. Many doctors refer to this as your “default network,” a network that links part of your frontal cortex, limbic system, and several other areas involved in your sensory experience. When active the default network creates a “stimulus independent thought”, which is a thought about something other than the events that originate from the outside environment, in other words, daydreaming.

How does daydreaming impact us? Many others wondered the same and psychologist Raymond Mar took it upon himself to hold a study featuring a series of questions to men and women in 2012. With ages ranging from 18-85 both men and women were asked to report the vividness and frequency of these daydreams, as well as their life satisfaction, loneliness levels, and social support. Results from the study concluded that for men the more frequent their dreams the lower life satisfaction that had, whereas for women the more vivid yet not frequent dreams led to lower life satisfaction. However, for both men and women who dreamed about their close family and friends reported higher life satisfaction. Although, those who dreamed about romantic partners they didn’t currently have or know personally reported that they were lonelier, had less social support, and had low life satisfaction.

How can we use these results to our advantage? Mar’s findings suggest that you should try to push your daydreams away from unrealistic scenarios and more towards people you already have in your life. As someone who loves daydreaming sometimes it can be helpful to be more self-aware and be able to pull yourself back to reality. Especially if you have felt yourself being in a lower mental state making those changes might help improve your mood and well-being.


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