Five reasons for daydreaming

If your daydreaming is maladaptive, you probably daydream because you have to. You’re using it as a coping mechanism because you don’t have a healthier way to cope. But if you’re an immersive daydreamer, you have control over your daydreaming. You daydream because you want to. So why do you want to? What benefits does daydreaming provide when you’re not using it as a necessary coping mechanism?

Your daydream world is unique. No-one else is daydreaming exactly the same things that you are. And so the benefits you’re getting from your daydream world won’t be exactly the same as anyone else either. That means there are probably as many different reasons for daydreaming as there are daydreamers. But there are a few common themes that probably resonate with a lot of us.

To escape

It isn’t only maladaptive daydreamers who daydream to escape from real life. If real life is so bad that you want to escape from it all the time, that can be a big factor in your daydreaming becoming maladaptive. But it’s perfectly normal to want to step away from reality now and again. That’s why people read novels, watch movies and go on vacations. Sometimes, it feels good to be transported to another world. Daydreaming purely because it’s fun is playing, and play is just as important for adults as it is for children.

To be a different person

You might become a completely different person in your daydreams. Or you might become an idealised version of yourself – the person you would have liked to be if real life hadn’t got in the way. Or you might be you but with a different lifestyle – as a talented celebrity, for example. If you feel that your life circumstances are holding you back from being the person you want to be, daydreaming can give you an opportunity to be free of those constraints.

To connect more deeply

In your daydreams, nothing is hidden. Your daydream characters know everything about you. And you know everything about them too, because you created them. You can edit any parts of their personality that you aren’t comfortable with. And that means you can be authentic and vulnerable with them, because you know they won’t judge you. And therefore, you can connect very deeply. That can be compelling if many of your real-life relationships feel a bit insecure or shallow.

To explore

This is a huge one for me. My mind is always asking “what if…”. My imagination wants to explore crazy scenarios that would never happen in real life. I want to go to more places than will be possible in one lifetime. I want to answer questions that have never been asked. There are infinite possibilities, and we only get to explore a tiny fraction of them in real life. That’s not enough for me. I want to experience more. And daydreaming allows me to do that.

To provide motivation

Using your daydreaming to motivate and inspire you can be powerful. You might use your daydreaming to develop a clear vision of how you want your future to be, so that you can work towards it. Or you might talk to your daydream characters about your goals and aspirations, so that they can encourage you and gently hold you accountable. Or perhaps you daydream to evoke the feelings of confidence and determination that you need to take action on your goals. Immersive daydreaming can be the tool you use to make your real life into whatever you want it to be.

We’re all different

If you’re a maladaptive daydreamer, or if you’ve overcome maladaptive daydreaming, you’re probably used to thinking of daydreaming as an escape, or as a way to meet needs that aren’t being met in real life. But that’s just one way to think about daydreaming. There are many different reasons to daydream, and many different types of daydreamers.

I’ve always been an explorer. I’m curious about everything. And for me, one of the most beautiful things about overcoming maladaptive daydreaming was that I set my imagination free to explore. Once my daydreaming wasn’t constrained by having to meet a need, I could use it to take me wherever I wanted.

But not everyone has that constant, restless urge to explore. Maybe you just want one really deep connection that you don’t think you’ll ever find in real life. Or maybe you’ve always wondered what it would be like to pursue a particular career that you don’t have the resources or the talent for. Whatever you’re using your daydreaming for, it’s all valid. Part of being an immersive daydreamer is finding your own unique way to use your wild imagination to add meaning, purpose and depth to every aspect of your life.