59 Impressive Daydreaming Facts That Explain A Wandering Mind

Shirin Biswas
Dec 23, 2022 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Jan 18, 2022
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag
These daydreaming facts will tell you everything you need to know about daydreaming and when to see a psychologist!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.4 Min

Humans have the habit of letting their ideas free-flow and ignoring all external stimuli.

This is known as daydreaming, as people forget their surroundings, let the words of the people around them fall on deaf ears, and indulge in their own thoughts! A daydream can be explained as musings that you have when your mind is unaware of the words or activities that surround you.

Such musings are understood to be a reflection of a person's psychological state, as well as their level of creativity. Daydreaming is often not considered to be a mental illness, but maladaptive daydreaming is not beneficial for anyone. However, too much daydreaming is not good but daydreaming every now comes with some benefits!

A daydream consists of many thoughts, each of which lasts for about 14 seconds. Someone rightly said that the human brain is a fascinating organ working in mysterious ways and this is especially true in the case of a daydream. Keep reading to learn more facts!

What is daydreaming?

There must have been times in your life when someone caught you daydreaming. Even though the wandering mind has been criticized by many, a daydreaming mind is not always bad for you.

Human brains are very complex and the ways in which they work are far from being decoded completely. However, research about daydreaming and why people daydream in general reveal some surprising facts which are quite contrary to traditional beliefs.

  • You might have noticed that your mind wanders off when you are not engaging in any stimulating task or whenever you are even a little bit bored.
  • This can be classified as daydreaming, as the brain starts thinking of things that are more fantastic in nature than real.
  • When the human brain starts imagining so much so that the real-life events blur out into the background, it can be said that the person is daydreaming.
  • In spite of the age-old belief that daydreaming is bad for humans, researchers believe that letting the mind wander off at times might actually be a great thing to do.
  • As the mind drifts for a while, a person's brain gets the much-needed relief from a boring situation or from a difficult task at hand.
  • Daydreaming is more common in children than in adults, it is something that researchers are trying to find out the reason behind.
  • Research shows that daydreams are common for any active brain and that under certain circumstances when the musings of the brain do not detach the person from real life, they might even be great for mental health.
  • The daydreams that humans have can often be linked with their inner selves in a sort of pattern which reveals truths about their psychological state.
  • Whilst most people shy away from sharing their daydreams, deciphering such musings may be very helpful in restoring the sound mental health of people who struggle with any mental health issues.
  • Daydreams may also be a reflection of a person's creativity and ability to picture the future in a realistic way and works towards achieving it.
  • Mind-wandering is shown to have helped people who have psychological issues such as anxiety.
  • A break from the bleak and often hostile real life through the escape route of daydreams is needed for people who find it difficult to cope with real-life situations.
  • Although, all things have a flip side and the same is applicable for daydreams as well. When people start taking daydreams as a definite escape route and exercise the powers thereby given to them, more grave situations can occur.
  • While most psychologists agree that mind-wandering may be very essential for the healthy growth and development of children, they also agree on the fact that daydreaming must be monitored when it turns excessive and starts to inhibit a person's ability to remain grounded with the immediate reality.
  • Daydreaming helps to promote a healthy mind if done in moderation.

Why does daydreaming happen?

More often than not, human brains wander off when there is nothing better to do. However, daydreaming is such a thing that must be monitored and kept in check so that the connection that human being has with their real life is not lost completely.

  • Most research shows that kids and adults tend to let their minds wander and explore memories or made-up scenarios when there is nothing better to do, or when their brains are swamped with too much work to comprehend.
  • Children tend to daydream more often than adults do, however, the reason behind this is far from being revealed.
  • Daydreaming can be the human brain's way to distract itself from an unfavorable situation.
  • At the same time, it can be a way in which the brain stays active in spite of the lack of stimulants.
  • Research suggests that some children whose intellects are of a greater degree than others tend to get bored in class and eventually let their minds wander.
  • This is because they take less time than the average child to grasp a concept and devote the leftover time to stirring up their creativity or viewing the world through a different lens.
  • A creative mind is likely to daydream more than the average mind since there are fewer stimulants for such people.
  • While daydreaming cannot be directly linked to creativity, research work shows that a creative mind benefits from being able to escape the mundanity of normal, everyday life. This is quite understandable if we take the simple example of people who create art or fictional things. Most of their work is based on fantastic landscapes and unreal scenarios, which are nothing but brain-children!
  • However, there is also such a thing as maladaptive daydreaming.
  • Maladaptive daydreaming is a condition in which people start feeding lies or making up fake scenarios in their heads in order to escape a situation.
  • Such people are often troubled by their brain activity. They struggle with normal human processes and activities and often face trouble sleeping. This is predominantly because their brains refuse to shut down for the day.
  • It may sound unusual but most people also start daydreaming on purpose.
  • This essentially means that people purposefully let their minds wander off to distant lands and develop ideas of things that aren't even real in order to keep themselves amused.
  • In a research conducted with many people, there were two tasks.
  • The easier of the two tasks observed many people who intentionally let their minds wander so that they could be amused.
  • This is understood to have been a direct response to the fact that they did not need much brain activity to finish the task at hand.
  • However, when the tougher task was given, people had to be more productive and hence, fewer people showed intentional daydreaming.
  • This indicates that the healthy human brain is capable of differentiating between scenarios in which daydreaming is feasible and otherwise.
  • Jerome Singer, a psychologist at Yale, observed that the children who were encouraged by their parents and teachers to daydream and be in touch with their creative side were happier and less aggressive than the others.
People tend to blink less when they daydream since their brain is busy formulating a thought from scratch!

Symptoms Of Daydreaming

While maladaptive daydreaming can be something that we should be concerned about, daydreaming, in general, is not a condition that we should worry about. If anything, daydreaming is normal and healthy, as is confirmed by many researchers.

  • Mind-wandering or daydreaming is common in humans.
  • Half of the time that we are awake is spent daydreaming, which may sound alarming, but it really is not.
  • Daydreaming is something that helps us from right when we are mere children.
  • It helps in problem-solving, empathy building, stress relief, future planning among other things, and setting goals.
  • The symptoms of daydreaming would be that a person starts to seem distant from the current surroundings.
  • People also tend to blink more when they are not focusing and thinking of other activities.
  • Daydreamers also tend to focus their vision on a single location or place they visited.
  • Researchers are hardly wary of daydreaming in general, but the same cannot be said for people who are diagnosed with maladaptive daydreaming.
  • The people with this condition tend to be far removed from reality and spend almost all day being detached from real life.
  • People with maladaptive daydreaming exhibit mind wandering on way higher levels than others.
  • They tend to have characters and plots in their head.
  • Some of these daydreams are triggered by real-life events as well.
  • They also tend to have escapist tendencies as they try to cope with an unpleasant situation or scenario why daydreaming themselves away from it.
  • Daydreams also reveal a lot about a person's mental state.
  • According to researchers, patterns in daydreams tend to reveal the person's state and goals.
  • Some repetitive daydreams are also significant in understanding whether or not people are happy with where they stand in life and if they need a change in things.
  • People also tend to slip into a daydream as a conscious or unconscious way of solving problems.
  • This is because the brain areas that are involved in the act of solving problems are more active when a person is daydreaming. You may not believe it, but you can daydream your way out of a sticky situation!

Types Of Daydreaming

Believe it or not, there actually are four types of daydreaming!

  • There are four main types of daydreaming, which are planning, visualization, fantasizing, and escapism.
  • Planning refers to the act of planning out a day, a vacation, or the next five years of your life as you go through the significant events in your head.
  • Planning is considered an important part of human life and hence, the daydreamers who think of their future and set goals are usually also motivated by their vision!
  • Visualization refers to the bit wherein we actually picture ourselves or other people in certain situations. This is usually the time when people start losing a bit of touch with their immediate surroundings.
  • Fantasizing is slightly problematic because real-life becomes somewhat of a blur.
  • This type of daydreaming can actually be dangerous.
  • Escapism is also very common. If you have ever found yourself in a boring lecture and chosen to think of the movie you watched the other night or the new hobby that you have been wanting to develop, you know just what escapist daydreaming is!

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag

Master of Arts specializing in History

Sudeshna Nag picture

Sudeshna NagMaster of Arts specializing in History

Having earned a Master's degree in History from the Presidency University in Kolkata, Sudeshna was able to refine these skills and broaden her knowledge base. Not only is she an accomplished fact-checker, but she is also deeply invested in gender research, societal interactions, and mental health. Her professional repertoire also includes experience in translation between Bengali and English content

Read full bio >