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Why Daydreaming Is So Good For You

Philosophers have long stressed its importance

Often derided and the topic of many a teacher’s report card comment, daydreaming, or mind-wandering, is generally seen as an undesirable activity, especially among school-age children from whom the education system demands unrelenting focus.

“Monica likes to daydream,” notes home to my Mom would read. “I do wonder what she is thinking about.” And yet, on average, we daydream nearly 47 percent of our waking hours. If our brain spends nearly half of our awake time doing it, there is probably a good reason why.

The term “daydreaming” was coined by Julien Varendonck in 1921 in his book The Psychology of Day-Dreams (with a foreword by Sigmund Freud, so sort-of a big deal). While Varendonck and Freud saw benefits to daydreaming, the past 20 years have yielded research that portrays daydreaming as “a cognitive control failure,” with some researchers out of Harvard recently declaring “a wandering mind is not a happy mind.” An exception to that opinion was one held by the late eminent psychologist Jerome Singer, who spent most of his professional life researching daydreaming (he preferred the term to “mind-wandering”). Singer identified three types of daydreaming, and while two can have negative impacts, one is quite beneficial.

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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