Day Dreaming – a form of waking sleep?

This appeared in the London Daily Mail:

‘It may seem a harmless way to whittle away the day’s duller moments – but daydreaming actually makes us miserable, scientists say. We spend almost half of our waking hours dreaming our lives away, no matter what we are doing, they say. Contrary to popular perception, our idle thoughts don’t make us happy, even if they are about something pleasant. Instead, daydreaming only leaves us yearning for what might have been.

A study at Harvard found that our minds wander 46.9 percent of the time. It is only during sex that the brain fully focuses on the task in hand.

Researcher Matthew Killingsworth says: “This study shows our mental lives are pervaded….by the non-present.” ‘

Day dreaming involves living in either the past (re-living last Friday night’s party, recalling a childhood free from responsibility) or the future (imagining myself as rich, successful, irresistibly attractive etc). Your imaginary world may seem to bring happiness, but inevitably you have to come back to the present. Even if the present moment is something you’d rather avoid, refusing to be here right now won’t change anything, except temporarily in your head.  And you miss what is happening in your life right here and now. Ultimately it’s better to acknowledge the moment, do something about it if you can, and if you can’t, simply accept it as the present reality

Use your senses to heighten perception of the now. See, hear, taste, feel, smell. Be aware of the vibrant life all around you. Know that essentially you are that life that runs through all things.

Alternatively, perhaps we should just have much more sex!


About Jill M Jacques

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have spent most of my life here doing the usual things - marrying, having children and caring for an array of pets ranging from dogs to silkworms and chameleons. I first became interested in philosphy and its practical application in everyday life in my early 20s and spent many years as part of a group that pursued this goal. Drawing on this experience, I have been running "How to live in the Now" programmes for over 10 years. I wrote this book in response to requests from group members for something "simple and practical". I tend to see the funny side of life situations and enjoy writing humorous back pages as well as short stories and some poetry. Some of these have been published. Being here now is what really matters.
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