THE STRAIGHT UP
The Incredible Power of Daydreams Why It’s Okay to Let Your Mind Wander
I believe the greatest tragedy of my life is the fact that I don’t have a hammock.
expanse of green grass that spreads over entire city blocks. It was a bit cool that day, but I couldn’t help but lie down and relax. I watched the clouds go by and saw the fantastical shapes my imagination created for me. If you haven’t watched the clouds recently, I recommend it. We have a lot of responsibility, and it’s no wonder our thoughts feel like they’re being tugged in every direction. But this is why it’s important to give ourselves a mental break from
Hammocks are the ultimate place to take a break, and considering howmuch I appreciate rest and naps, not having a hammock feels like a significant oversight.There’s nothing more enjoyable than lying back on a bright summer day to sway in the warmbreeze.The experience is restful, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to let your mind wander, which has surprising benefits for your mental health. Unfortunately, rest and daydreaming are sometimes vilified. If you aren’t focused and working, you’re wasting time, right?A 2012 study fromDalianUniversity ofTechnology inChina even suggested a wanderingmind could lead to depression. However, more recent research shows something else entirely.One study published by Elsevier Science found that people who let their minds wander tend to bemore creative and have higher reading ability, fluid intelligence, and better problem-solving skills. And another study seems to disprove early findings that connected a wanderingmind with depression. In fact, the researchers determined that if you let yourself daydreamabout topics that interest you, your moodmay actually improve over the long run. Now, this doesn’t mean we should be zoning out while in themiddle of working on a time-sensitive project or while driving. I don’t
it all. I’ve even let mymind wander while brushing my teeth in the morning.That’s how I discovered there’s a tile onmy bathroomfloor that totally looks like ET sitting at a desk!
“I THINK WE ALL NEED TO RECOGNIZE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR US TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LITTLE MOMENTS TO LET OURSELVES RELAX.”
think any of my patients would appreciate it if I started daydreaming while adjusting their braces! Instead, I think we all need to recognize how important it is for us to take advantage of the littlemoments to let ourselves relax. This is why I find hammocks so appealing. Once you lie back, there’s nothing to do but relax and daydream. I recently enjoyed a really nice daydreaming session at Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia. My husband and I were walking along when we came upon the big
ET emails home
It’s May. School’s almost over, and we’re no longer hunkering down for the winter. It’s the perfect time to do a little daydreaming! Go to the park, listen to the birdsong, or do a little fishing. Now, I don’t caremuch for fishing myself, but for the people who do love to fish, I imagine it’s a bit like lying in a hammock. –Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225www.drpitner.com
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