The Power of Daydreaming
I think daydreaming is highly under-rated. Letting the mind wander while the eye watches the clouds passing or the trees waving in the breeze is a calming way to let go, to release the cares and worries of daily life, and return to center.
Have you noticed that sometimes when your mind wanders it goes down channels that make you uncomfortable—remembering a bad job interview, or a fight with a friend, or an embarrassing childhood incident? Sometimes our minds get into ruts that do not serve us, and it is up to us to create new pathways for the mind to follow.
How do you know your mind is going somewhere unhelpful? You feel it in your stomach, right? That uncomfortable feeling, guilt, sadness, shame, anger, stress. Any of the negative emotions that can be summed up with the expression “feeling bad.” This is not to say that the emotions are bad, but that they generate a bad feeling within you.
That bad feeling is a sign that it’s time to pull your mind back from that particular channel and send it down another one, one that generates positive emotions that make you feel good. After all, while you’re daydreaming, shouldn’t you be feeling good? This is about letting go of the worries of the world, not ruminating on them, not digging up the past to feel uncomfortable about.
Actually, I think our minds spend a lot of time focused on things that make us feel bad.
Watch your mind today. Notice how often it follows familiar ruts that generate negative emotion within you. It’s easier to notice how you feel inside than it is to follow your mind. When you “feel bad,” check what you are thinking about. And change it. Find another path for your mind to follow. Regain control of your mind and your experience.
(This is not denying that there are stressors in your life—past, present and future. Think of the stressors in the moment when you are actively engaged with them, otherwise leave them alone. For example, if there’s a problem at work, think about it at work in a constructive manner—do your problem-solving, or get help, or accept that it’s insoluble and find a way to live with it. Give it to your unconscious, intuitive mind to work on and leave it there. Don’t let it be the theme of your day. Still enjoy interactions with others, a walk outside at lunchtime, other parts of your workday. At the end of the day, let it go completely and go home thinking of things that make you feel good.)
I offer a 30-day challenge to start the process of retraining your mind.
For one month, start each day with the intention that you will see only things that you want to be, do or have. In other words, you will only see things that generate a positive emotion within you.
Keep reminding yourself of this throughout the day, and you will notice that where previously you might have seen a traffic jam, instead you will see an opportunity to look at your surroundings for things that you would like to be, do or have. You might see the person in the car next to you singing to the radio, and you can feel their happiness. Or you might see that the car is one that you want and you can take the time to enjoy the idea of having it. Or you might see a pretty planter with flowers you would like to add to your garden. You get the idea. Instead of focusing on being stuck in traffic and generating negative emotion, you focus on the things that you want to see, do or have, thus generating positive emotion. The traffic is still stuck, but you feel good.
After 30 days of daily practice, not only will this become a habit, but your life will be transformed.