The Power of Daydreaming

third year hana rehman

photo by stokes dunavan

photo by stokes dunavan

Here’s a scary thought: your most creative days are behind you. You have been shoved out of the carefree, imaginative worlds in which you once delved, and the door has shut behind you. They are locked in your childhood, only to be revisited in brief glimpses and never to be fully experienced again.

If such a thought ever haunts you like it often does to me when I hit a creative block, we need to go back to the basics. We need to take a deep breath, and remember where those creative ideas originated. We need to give ourselves the room to reconnect with our younger, more carefree, more imaginative selves. We need to stop and daydream a while.

Admittedly, as children, we had far more time for daydreaming. We could afford to space out in class, or stare out of backseat windows. We had time to watch trees and water droplets fly by, to lose ourselves in the lulling turn of ceiling fans and hissing fireplaces. We were untethered by the pressure of that midterm on Tuesday, or the group presentation in which your group members are about as helpful as a sack of potatoes, or that appointment you’ve been meaning to schedule for about five years, or—

Case in point.

Sometimes life shoves itself in our faces and wears us down, and we just aren’t exactly in the right time or space to be creative. In those times, I often find that ideas don’t come to me strictly because I am pushing too hard against the block—imagination eludes me when I’m trying too hard to find it. I think giving ourselves time to daydream is the best way to recharge. If your free time is severely constricted, let your mind wander in those brief, liminal moments of the day: commuting to school or work, taking a shower, jogging, or making dinner. Instead of checking social media on the bus, or watching Netflix between classes, follow a random thread of thought. Let your brain take you to all the strange places it’s capable of going.

It might destroy the point to schedule in daydreaming like we would a meditation session; it should be a passive, relaxing experience. Instead, let’s be okay with allowing our minds to wander more often. In short, don’t consider daydreaming a waste of time. It’s a way to reconnect with our carefree, imaginative selves, to sit back and watch everything unwind, and let life  simplify. In time, if we let them, those wonderful ideas will come.