If they told you that you can choose between being alone with your thoughts or receiving an electric shock, what would you answer? Probably the straight answer would be that you prefer to immerse yourself in your thoughts and daydreams, oh well ... an electric shock? Are we crazy? However, scientific evidence in hand, people, confronted with this real choice, were so terrified by the idea of ??seeing their thoughts flow in front of them that, in most cases, they chose the electric shock! But knowing how to dedicate even a few minutes of our day to an apparently aimless activity such as daydreaming, imagining and fantasizing, can open up resources that we cannot even imagine, it could even be considered a cure for anxiety, panic attacks, fears and all those feelings of being wrong that sometimes we can feel, as the great psychiatrist Raffaele Morelli indicates in all his books. Well, now that we know, we can start daydreaming… all that simple? Unfortunately not. Indeed, as a recent scientific research performed by scientists from the University of Florida (Westgate et al, Emotion 2021) shows, for adults the task of imagining is one of the most difficult, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, let's try to understand better.
Why daydreaming is important and how we lose this ability
Daydreaming increases resources, skills, even the resistance to fatigue and stress and the tolerance to pain. Children are masters at this, they can spend hours daydreaming. Over time, however, due to a society based heavily on competition and on the achievement of rapid results, we lose the ability to carve out a moment for ourselves and let the images flow. It doesn't take much, a few minutes are enough, no tools, money, equipment, nothing is required. However, daydreaming is considered tiring, difficult, demanding and therefore not satisfying, in short, we avoid it like the plague. After all, as indicated in the article we are talking about today, daydreaming actually occupies all of our cognitive functions. But it is not only this, we find it so hard to imagine because we have lost the ability to recall pleasant thoughts, always stopping only at superficial situations, which in reality do not involve us emotionally. As a result, after trying to daydream, we almost feel more exhausted than before.
How to relearn how to daydream and free our resources
It is possible to relearn how to daydream! Sure, here's the good news. Experts from the University of Florida offer advice for this. First, you need to find the right time. Problems, children, work occupy our day and require attention but we can take a moment for ourselves when we are less busy, such as when we shower, brush our teeth or just walk.
Then, it was observed that, at least at the beginning of this learning process, better results are obtained in terms of well-being when starting with advice on what to think rather than being free to imagine what you want. And even better if the advice is based on situations that are not only pleasant but also rich in meaning, such as the first kiss or a family event, here we can draw up a list of meaningful and joyful moments, to recall to mind. Based on these inputs, the study participants found daydreaming very pleasant and beneficial. By providing a percentage, they felt 50% more satisfaction than when they were free to choose what to imagine.
A start for something bigger
This is the first step to relearn one of the simplest and least expensive techniques of happiness. And once we get used to fantasizing again, we can do it freely, at any time of the day, when we feel the most need. Just close our eyes and the images will flow in front of us, we will be director and actor without effort and in this way we will be able to free solutions to problems, talents, energies and resources that are within us and that will allow us to take the right path and find serenity and well-being.