Daydream Believer: Examining the Tangible Benefits of Idle Thought

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recent studies have found that daydreaming can have some very tangible benefits. (bruniewska/Shutterstock)

We've all felt the urge to drift off during the day. Whether it’s a teacher droning on and on, or a rabbi mid-sermon, or a lecturing parent—every now and then, we all need time to daydream.

And recent studies have found that daydreaming can have some very tangible benefits, particularly for children.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, professor of psychology at the University of Southern California's Brain and Creativity Institute, focuses her research on what she calls "constructive internal reflection." She discusses the benefits of daydreaming with Jessica Lahey, a teacher and writer. Lahey recently wrote about Immordino-Yang's work for The Atlantic.


Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Jessica Lahey

Produced by:

Katie Hiler and Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [8]

Siah from Saratoga Springs NY

I daydream almost every minute of the day at work, sometimes I have to bring myself back to reality and actually pay attention to real life.

Oct. 18 2013 03:51 PM

Carl, your comments are being read, all right ~ if not by us, then surely by the NSA haha
This topic greatly interests me ~ I devote my daily commute (bus+subway) to constructive reflection about myself, my loved ones, my job, the earth, the universe, etc. Rushing thru life's surface is not for me. Wouldst that each individual couldst build time into their day for reflection & evaluation, instead of ferrying around the kids, zapping each other on Grand Theft Auto, cheating on their spouses, their exams, their taxes, their customers/clients/constituents... {sigh}
Just hope Caroline doesn't run me over while she's behind the wheel LOLOL

Oct. 18 2013 03:08 PM

Hi Carl,

We read all the comments we get! Thank you for adding your voice to the discussion, and for listening. Have a fantastic weekend.

T. J. Raphael
Digital Content Editor
The Takeaway

Oct. 18 2013 01:54 PM
carl from queens

Just realized errors in my comment.. The last sentence should have been, And lets ''not'' forget all animal causes, because not only is it the right to do, but also how much they contribute ''to'' mankind... My brain and my left index finger operate in two different time zones. Why I made this correction I don't know, nobody is reading my comments.

Oct. 18 2013 01:27 PM
Kay Merkel Boruff from Dallas

BRAVO! for discussion "dreams" and education. My dream is that more schools, like Hockaday, my 100 year old girls' school in Dallas, will allow students more time to write, read, & dream. Dreaming is beneficial in all disciplines--math, science, dance, English. How will we find a cure for cancer? Solve our health care problems? Write the next best seller?

Oct. 18 2013 12:57 PM

I day dream a lot ~ happily, but when I'm driving sometimes I come back from where ever when I'm at a stop light and have my turn signal on. The thing is I should not turn at that corner. I wonder where would I be if I just daydreamed myself around town? I do miss some really good ideas when I'm in the car because I don't have any way to write them down.

Oct. 18 2013 12:57 PM
Kay Merkel Boruff from Dallas

I dream that my novel Z.O.S. will be published so others can read about living with PTSD and depression. Hope comes with the morning sun.

Oct. 18 2013 12:03 PM
carl from queens

I daydream that one day we will realize the folly of all governments spending case money on guns and bullets to kill each other, and redirect these funds to fight our natural enemies such as ''Mother Nature'' when she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, ignorance, poverty, education, disease, etc. And lets forget all animal causes because not only is it the right thing to do, but also, how much they contribute mankind.

Oct. 18 2013 09:59 AM

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