Most people consider it normal to be able to visualize. But a small percentage of humanity does not have this ability. We call this Aphantasia. This is what this article is about.
Daydream? Daydreaming isn’t as useless as it seems.
Daydream? Daydreaming isn't as useless as it seems.Daydreams maintain our mental balance.
Daydreaming is the wandering of attention to imaginary ideas, longings, fantasies, and visions. It does not have a good reputation everywhere, but it is rewarding. This is how you learn to daydream.
Daydreaming is the wandering of attention and concentration from current, real tasks to imaginary ideas, longings, fantasies, and visions. They are fantasies and imaginations comparable to dreams, which are experienced in the awake state of consciousness.
Children experience this much more often than adults. At a young age, people more regularly enter the world of daydreams with their blossoming imagination and create their dream world for fun.
With adults, it happens most frequently shortly before falling asleep or when concentration weakens due to boring activities. Thoughts are wandering around, the brain is, so to speak, busy with itself. Daydreamers step back a little behind their usual perception limits, visualize, or conduct inner dialogues. They are usually able to continue to perform simple activities. However, external attention is significantly reduced.
Is a daydream good for anything?
So often we hear the call to stop daydreaming. And now I come along and recommend it? Yes, because during daydreaming, helpful processes happen. I’m not talking about a destructive escape from reality.
The brain is in a kind of idle state and begins to engage with itself. It tends to pick up everyday topics and problems and works independently on solutions. This can lead to very interesting solutions to even very complex difficulties that we would not have thought of with full consciousness. So daydreaming, assuming the right place, is a good idea and not a waste of time. Daydreaming maintains our mental balance.
Daydreams are tools for visionaries
Daydreams are not for weirdos, daydreams are tools for visionaries.
Daydreams also promote relaxation and regulation of mental imbalance. They offer alternatives to boredom and strengthen motivation when wishes are attractively visualized. The brain relaxes and regenerates during daydreaming.
Daydreaming is associated with a change in brain frequencies. The neural nervous system becomes more active, which is also active during a dream. Other areas of the brain are more active than during conscious thinking, while other areas of the brain recover during a daydream.
Our brain has two main systems: an analytical part, which helps us to make rational decisions, and an empathetic part, which enables us to relate to others. When we daydream, the human mind naturally goes through various thought processes, and during this time the analytical and empathetic parts of the brain tend to switch off each other.
Can daydreaming be learned?
Yes, learning to daydream is possible, because daydreaming can be consciously stimulated. Everyone can use daydreaming to feel more balanced, to strengthen motivation, and to promote creativity. Without training, daydreams decrease as we get older.
Step by step
The techniques are similar to those for lucid dreaming.
It is best to choose a quiet and relaxing place. It is important to find the most comfortable position possible. The aim is to promote a trance state. It works best if it is initially always the same place that is used for this. This helps to immerse yourself in daydreaming even faster each time. With practice, daydreaming will soon be possible at any suitable place.
Disturbing arbitrary thoughts become unimportant, move on and the dream world opens its gates. More and more aspects of the daydream unfold in the imagination, while other thoughts fade into the background. Each trainer has developed recommendations and methods here, which are adapted to the personality of the individual.
One possibility: When you have emptied your thoughts to a large extent, imagine that you are spinning in your body. Do this in all directions and until the surrounding space becomes blurred. With time, this will happen faster and faster. Now you are ready for your daydream.
Let your thoughts be free. Have a good trip!
Depending on the objectives, the journey can also be adapted for special purposes.
For the return, it is worth developing your ritual. The best way to do this is with a competent mental trainer. This way, you will benefit from your mental journeys as much as possible in your everyday life.
Just ask me personally
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Aphantasia: Living without mental images.
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Are you a hero or a mere dreamer? Start doing and stop dreaming.
Dreaming is a good starting point for a challenging journey. But dreaming isn’t enough without actions. Wishful thinking is hoping for something and waiting for someone else to make it happen. Be a hero, because we need a lot of them!
This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.
Published: June 7, 2019
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 22nd, 2022
German version: https://www.karstennoack.de/tagtraum/