Daydreaming has always had reputation, but now scientific research has revealed that daydreaming may actually improve your mental health and creativity. It can even help you achieve your desired goals.
Daydream a Little
"Daydreaming again, Barb? You'll never amount to anything if you spend your time that way! Can't you find something useful to do?" Many youngsters have heard words like those from their parents. And until recently this hostile attitude towards daydreaming was the most common one. Daydreaming was viewed as a waste of time. Or it was considered and unhealthy escape from real life and its duties. But now some people are taking a fresh look at daydreaming. Some think it may be a very healthy thing to do.
Attitudes towards daydreaming are changing in much the same way that attitudes towards night dreaming have changed. Once it was thought that nighttime dreams interfered with our needed rest. But then researchers tried interrupting the dreams of sleepers. They learned that sleepers who aren't allowed to dream lost the benefits of rest. They become tense and anxious. They become irritable. They have trouble concentrating. Their mental health is temporarily damaged. To feel well again, they must be allowed to dream.
Now researchers are finding that daydreaming may also be important to mental health. Daydreaming, they tell us, is a good means of relaxation. But its benefits go beyond this. A number of psychologists have conducted experiments and have reached some surprising conclusions.
Dr. Joan T. Freyberg has concluded that daydreaming contributes to intellectual growth. It also improves concentration, attention span, and the ability to get along with others, she says. In an experiment with school children, this same researcher found that daydreaming led the children to pay more attention to detail. They had more happy feelings. They worked together better. Another researcher reported that daydreaming seemed to produce improved self-control and creative abilities.
But that's only part of the story. The most remarkable thing about daydreaming may be its usefulness in shaping our future lives as we want them to be. Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser believed that much of his success was due to the positive use of daydreaming. He maintained that "you can imagine your future." Florence Nightingale dreamed of becoming a nurse. The young Thomas Edison pictured himself as an inventor. For these notable achievers, it appears that their daydreams came true.
Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick believed that the way we picture ourselves is often the way we turn out. He offered this advice: "Hold a picture of yourself … in your mind's eye, and you will be drawn toward it. Picture yourself vividly as defeated, and that will make victory impossible. Picture yourself as winning, and that will contribute immeasurably to success. Do not picture yourself as anything, and you will drift ……"
The experiences of some athletes seem to confirm this belief. For instance, John Uelses, a former pole-vaulting champion, used daydreaming techniques before each meet. He would imagine himself winning. He would vividly picture himself clearing the bar at a certain height. He would go over all the details in his mind. He would picture the stadium and the crowds. He'd even imagine the smell of the grass and the earth. He said that this exercise of the imagination left memory traces in his mind that would later help his actual performance.
Why would a mental vision of success help produce real success? Dr. Maxwel Maltz, a surgeon and author, say this: "Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and real experience. In either case it reacts automatically to information that you give it …… It reacts appropriately to what you think or imagine to be true."
He believes that purposeful daydreaming builds new "memories" in the brain. These positive memories improve a person's self-image. And self-image has an important effect on a person's action and accomplishments.
Can you use purposeful daydreaming to shape your own future? Why not try? Here is how those who believe in creative daydreaming recommend going about it. Choose a time when you can be alone and undisturbed. Close your eyes, to permit your imagination to soar more freely. Many people find that they get best results by pretending that they are sitting before a large screen. They project the desired image of themselves onto that screen.
Now picture yourself —— as vividly as possible ——the way you want to be. Remember to picture your desired goals as if you had already attained them. Go over all the details of this picture. See them clearly and sharply. Impress them strongly on your memory. The resulting memory traces will supposedly start affecting your everyday life. They will help lead you to the attainment to your goals.
Of course daydreaming is no substitute for hard work. If it's athletic achievement you want, you also have to get lots of practice in your sport. You have to work hard to develop skills. If it's school success you're after, you can't neglect studying Daydreaming alone can't turn you into your heart's desire. But in combination with the more usual methods of self-development, it might make a critical difference. It could be the difference between becoming merely good at something and becoming a champion.
If what researchers are saying is true, a life lived without fantasies and daydreams isn't as rich and rewarding as life can be. So they suggest setting aside a few minutes each day for daydreaming. By so doing, you may improve your physical and mental well-being. By taking a ten-or fifteen-minute "vacation" into the realm of imagination each day, you may add much to the excitement and enjoyment of your life. And who knows: You might see your own daydreams come true.
a. unfriendly; belonging to an enemy 敌对的
vt. consider, regard
n. & v. 逃跑；逃避
a. occurring at night
vi. get in the way of another 干涉；妨碍
n. advantage, profit, good effect 益处
a. feeling or showing nervous anxiety 紧张的
a. easily annoyed or made angry
n. method or way
n. person who has studied or is skilled in psychology 心理学家
vi. help in bringing about 贡献
n. growing; development
n. concentrating or being concentrated
n. length of time during which sth. Continuses or works well 一段时间
n. control of one's own feelings, behavior, etc.
a. having the power to create; inventive
a. deserving attention; unusual, out of the ordinary 显著的；非凡的
vt. influence and determine the course or form of 形成，塑造
n. one owing an industry or engaged in its management
vt. state or assert as true; keep up 断言；维持
vt. imagine; make a picture of
n. a person who makes up or produces sth. new
a. outstanding; worthy of notice 著名的；值得注意的
n. one who achieves; winner
ad. in a lively manner 生动地；逼真的
ad. to an extent or degree too great to be measured; beyond measure
driftvi. float or be driven along by wind, waves or currents 漂（流）
n. person who is trained and skilled in physical exercises and who competes in games that need strength and speed 运动员
n. jumping with the help of a long pole held in the hand 撑竿跳
n. person or team taking the first place in competition 冠军
n. (AmE) gathering esp. for competitive sports
vt. get past or over without touching
n. mark showing that sb. or sth. has existed or happened 痕迹
chemical change occurring in the brain when new information is absorbed and remembered 记忆痕（脑部吸收或记忆信息时所产生的化学变化）
n. sth. seen in the mind's eye; the power of imagination 想象（力）
ad. properly, suitably
a. having a conscious purpose
n. view of oneself 自我形象
n. sth. completely and successfully done 成就
vt. advise or suggest; speak favorably of 建议；推荐
vi. fly or go up high in the air; rise 翱翔；升腾
n. white surface on which cinema films, TV programs, etc. are sown 银幕；屏幕
vt. cause a picture from a film or slide to fall on a surface, etc. 映，投射
n. one's aim or purpose 目标
vt. succeed in arriving at, esp. after effort, reach 获得；达到
n. the act of attaining; (usu. pl) sth. successfully reached or learnt, esp. a skill
n. a person or thing acting in place of another 代替者；代用品
a. having to do with active games and sports; of or concerning athletes
n. sth. successfully finished or gained 成就
prep. in pursuit of; in search of
vt. pay no attention to; give no or not enough care to 忽视
n. joining or putting together 结合
n. way of doing sth.
ad. only; simply
n. health and happiness; welfare 康乐；安康
n. time of rest and freedom from work of school; holiday
n. area; kingdom 领域；王国
n. the act or fact of enjoying; pleasure; satisfaction
PHRASES & EXPRESSION
develop into; be equal to
hinder, affect; interrupt 干扰；妨碍
help to achieve; give help towards 有助于
get along with
have a friendly relationship with
because of; cause by
happen just as was wished, expected, or dreamt
make a start at; undertake 着手做
Joan T. Freyberg