Would you be surprised to hear that daydreaming is also a form of creative visualization? It’s true, and it can be a productive self-help technique! Artists, dancers, businesspeople, managers, athletes, fighter pilots – the types of people that benefit from daydreaming and visualization are of endless variety.
Daydreaming has gotten a bad rap for seeming to be a useless, non-productive, bad habit. Who hasn’t seen a tv show, or read in a book about the lazy schoolboy who engages in daydreaming all day long instead of doing his schoolwork? In reality, focused creative visualization is simply “the next step” in daydreaming, and can be a valuable tool for the imagination.
Whereas with daydreaming, you tend to let your mind wander without realizing or thinking about it, visualization has the intent to help your mind focus on the goal at hand, and creatively come up with actions to take to reach that goal.
In ancient times, while mankind was still developing, survival was dependent upon the ability to adapt to dangerous situations that were constantly changing. Daydreaming creates a state of mind similar to that of a sleeping dream state, but you are lucid and self-aware. By taking past memories and superimposing those memories onto new situations, early mankind used daydreaming to help them adapt to common challenges. Daydreaming helped mankind stay alive, and pass their experiences on to subsequent generations! Without it, it’s unlikely we’d be here today!
Today, we daydream in a different way. Daydreaming today is less about survival, and more about wishing. We use it less to figure things out than we do to imagine a certain situation to our liking.
The main difference between daydreaming and creative visualization is that when you are focused on visualizing a certain situation, it give you the impetus to actually take action and move forward towards the goal of attaining that situation. When you are “just” daydreaming, your mind lazily floats around from topic to topic, situation to situation, but there is little drive to actually do those things.
So, daydreaming is visualization without any specific action-taking in mind. Creative visualization has the intended outcome of figuring out the precise actions one must take to attain the goal. Both are excellent exercises for the mind, and both can be utilized as tools to help us reach our goals in life.
The next time you catch yourself daydreaming – don’t stop! Keep on dreaming!