Daydreaming for Brain Health
by MARK UNDERWOOD
May 23, 2013 | 853 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

 



 



If you put an imaginary bubble around your head —a comic book type of balloon that showed a picture of what you were thinking about, what would it be?



Even while you are reading this you might be thinking about how you can’t wait to stretch your muscles and take a walk or start reading that best seller you just checked out from the library.



If that ‘thought bubble’ was permanent, what a rude awakening that would be for most of us.  The reason is that daydreaming goes on all the time in all of us.



Now here’s something to really make you glad you don’t have a ‘Velcro’ bubble of ideas swirling around your head. Researchers have found that one-third to one-half of our waking life is spent daydreaming!



So if you find your mind wandering during the day, rest assured, you are not alone.



There is also good news attached to all that daydreaming.  Wandering thoughts like what a warm beach would feel like now, or how nice it would be to sit in a classroom again studying astronomy or mulling over whether you should buy an electric bikecan help improve your life.



Many of us understand sleep is crucial to good health. But we are just beginning to understand that those brief mental naps we take in between emails, or looking out the window during a boring meeting, may actually be contributing to our overall restfulness. Taking a break is also thought to give the mind a break from stress, a brief release and is an important way for the body to cope with the caustic effects of stress.



Give Yourself a Daydreaming Break



Current research is discovering more benefits attached to daydreaming. Researchers have found that daydreaming in adults may help repair some damage from aging brain cells. This damage may contribute to memory problems, concentration and affect other important mental tasks.



The benefits of daydreaming are also related to sleep which is crucial to overall brain function.  Research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has highlighted how quality sleep, which can include daydreaming and an occasional afternoon nap, may help cognition functions such as memory and concentration skills.



Daydreaming can jump start new ideas that you mull around in that thought bubble. Think of daydreaming this way: Pondering life may lead to improving the quality of your life.



Dreaming while you’re awake can inspire you to try something new, break up your routine and do something you haven’t done in a long time. When was the last time you went ice skating or used a recipe that wowed your family?



Daydreaming can help you work through your thought process and get inspired and get going.



Use Daydreaming to Improve Your Life



If your daydreams are filled with thoughts like, “Oh, I wish I could do that, but I don’t know” keep these daydreaming tips in mind.



Small nuggets of an idea can lead to big things that may change your life. And daydreaming is one place for new ideas to form.



Daydreaming about people, places and possibilities can motivate you to take the plunge in making positive changes.



But some people need even more of a motivator. If that’s you, here are some things you should know about lifestyle changes—maybe first thought about in daydream—to help you improve your health and even help you live longer.



    • Jot down your dream ideas:  If you’ve been daydreaming about something that pops up often, take note –literally –of your thoughts. If you keep dreaming about breaking your routine, it may be time to act on those thoughts and take a few days off.


    • Thinking about becoming more active? Do it. According to a British Medical Journal study people who are 75 or older and physically active lived 5 years or longer than those who were sedentary.


    • Get unstuck from too much TV. If you’re daydreaming about sewing, golf or playing Scrabble, make it happen. A surprising new health study found the more you sit watching TV, the less healthy it may be.  The study found that for every hour an adult over 25 sits in front of a TV, it may decrease their life by 22 minutes.


Put Your Daydreams to Work



Just imagine how many of these types of daydreams you have every day. Think about how many you probably have in a week’s time.  Hundreds and hundreds, but what are you doing with these moments of leisure?



There’s no better time than now to use daydreaming to improve the quality of your life.

  ABOUT MARK UNDERWOOD

 

Mark Underwood is a neuroscience researcher, president and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience, a biotech company located in Madison, Wisconsin focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel technologies to support cognitive function and other age-related health challenges such as memory. Mark is also creator of popular brain health supplement Prevagen. Mark has been taped as an expert in the field of neuroscience for The Wall Street Journal Morning Radio, CBS and CNN Radio among others. Mark is also a contributor to the “Brain Health Guide” which highlights the research at Quincy Bioscience and offers practical tips to help keep healthy brain function in aging. More information can be found at:  www.quincybioscience.com.

 

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