Daydreaming is often thought of as a frivolous exercise; something that wastes time, and decreases productivity. However, there are several recent studies that show that allowing your mind to wander unfettered, can actually help you to brainstorm, and assist in the creative process!
Here are four tips to help you brainstorm to your full potential!
#1. Set Yourself Up For Success:
This is far and away the most difficult aspect of daydreaming. Our daily lives are so filled with distractions, and we all have such busy lives that it can be a challenge to carve out time specifically for daydreaming.
First, make sure that you have a concerted period of time during which you can daydream. Any kind of distraction can impede the daydreaming process, and make you feel stressed out and unfocused.
Find a good place to daydream. For me, this is usually at home with a nice cup of tea, and a lovely view of my backyard, but I’ve also had great success in a more stimulating environment, like at the park, or the reservoir near my house. The important thing is that you feel comfortable, and calm.
Clear your mind. I like to do this by focusing on my breathing for a few minutes. Often my head is so full of thoughts that I feel like I can’t escape them. By focusing on my breathing for a few minutes, the thoughts become more of a distant murmur. I’ve also found more intense meditation to be very effective in quieting my mind. The best analogy for quieting thoughts that I’ve heard, was that your thoughts should seem like cars passing on a street; you know they’re there, but you are not attached to them.
Now you’re ready to let your mind wander!
#2. Allow your mind to wander:
Letting your mind go about its business, can feel very strange. So often we are trying to do the opposite, by insisting our minds focus on the task at hand. Letting go, means giving your mind permission to think about whatever it wants, and often it can feel silly and inane, but once you do it, your mind will take off running!
#3. Guided daydreaming:
Allowing your mind to wander is a great tool, but sometimes it can mean that you just get lost in thought. This is a nice way to take a break but it’s not all that helpful if you’re interested in using daydreaming for idea creation. Often you can bypass a great idea if you’re not paying attention.
I like to continue along a line of thought until I notice that I’ve landed on an interesting or unique thought, and then I like to trace back how I arrived at that thought. Figuring out how one thought leads to the next can often uncover interesting ideas and most importantly how my mind connects two things that may seem quite unrelated. Forming connections between things that don’t seem to be related, is the stuff that great ideas are made from!
#4. Impossible Imaginings:
If my daydreaming does not yield brilliant results, then I sometimes like to play a mind game called ‘What If?’ This is a process I’ve discussed here before, and I find it very effective for idea generation. It involves imagining scenarios that often couldn’t work in real life, but give you amazing scope for the imagination if you take the time to think through what could be. Another thought exercise I like to practice is to juxtapose two seemingly contradictory ideas together, and see what connections I can make between the two disparate ideas.
Many of the magical contraptions I wrote about in Magician’s Mayhem, and Magician’s Mastery are a result of this thought exercise!
Tell me, what are your best practices for daydreaming?
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