When I was a little girl, I was a master daydreamer. Mostly because you have to endure a lot of boring stuff when you’re a kid. In school, I spent most of my time staring at the chalkboard (there were chalkboards back then) and thinking about the story I was going to write or all the junk food I would eat when I got home (80s latchkey kid, holla). To the naked eye it may have seemed that I wasn’t contributing much to society—I was sitting there with my chin on my hand and staring into the blankness, after all—but as it turns out, daydreaming isn’t such a bad thing.
Daydreaming does a body good.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what really smart people have to say about it:
- In 2012, a study published in Psychological Science suggested that a wandering mind correlates with higher degrees of working memory—e.g., the ability to recall several things at once, even when you’ve been distracted by something else. Why? Because daydreamers have the ability to think beyond their immediate surroundings at any given time, which contributes to stronger working memory.
- Researchers have found that daydreaming increases creativity because it allows the brain to detach from logical thinking patterns. That’s why so many people discover their biggest aha! moments in the shower, or while doing the dishes, or when folding the laundry: The “logic” side of the brain is preoccupied with the menial task, which gives you mental time and space to explore new mind-wandering territory.
- In his book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychology professor with NYU, argues that it’s time for society to embrace a new definition of intelligence—one that doesn’t rely on intelligence quotients, but instead factors in our deepest dreams and wishes.
So, what are you waiting for? Go forth in daydreams, my friends, and make our world a better and more interesting place.