5 Surprising Facts About Daydreams
They distract us for a shocking 47 percent of our waking hours
. They make us feel undisciplined and unproductive. And they don't even make us happier. So what's the upside?
They Remind You of Your Master Plan
Amid life's petty stuff—traffic jams, checkout lines, dusting—daydreaming may help remind you of larger goals
, found a study at the University of British Columbia. The brain has two networks: the "default" (associated with creativity and self-reflection) and the "executive" (planning and problem-solving); when one is on, the other is usually off. The surprise finding was that daydreaming activated both
networks simultaneously, and the dual activity was stronger in people so "zoned out" they didn't even know their minds had wandered. One theory: Big-picture plans and problems surface when the present moment is tuned out and the two networks have the chance to "mix." What comes of this are replays of the past, what-if scenarios, abstract, free-ranging ideas—and, if we're really lucky, insights