We all do it. Staring through the train window as the world slides by or looking deeply into a blank ceiling.

Daydreaming moves us from the real world with its problems, responsibilities and routine into a place that’s only limited by your imagination.

It starts young

When we’re young, we act out our fantasies with dolls, cars and other children. It helps us make sense of our world. We observe and learn all the things around us and then repeat them in our play-acting. We instinctively notice the way people talk to one another and the rules of society. We learn about ‘Mommies and Daddies’ and ‘Good-guys and Bad-guys’. At this age, daydreaming and play-acting allow us to imagine a world beyond our small world of home and school.

As we get older, we draw these fantasies into our minds. Partly because society starts to think that we are too old to play-act. So daydreaming is our mind’s way of carrying on the fantasies and learning, without being laughed at.

Fantasies and frustrations

We use daydreaming to make sense of our experiences. We can replay them again and again to understand them better. Whether it was an argument or a date, we can transport ourselves back to the situation and be plunged back into the sea of emotion – good or bad – and feel it, make sense of it.

We can also use daydreaming to experience the delights of a future desire. The fantasy of a new house, a dream holiday or a new partner can give us the energy to make progress and achieve our goals. They can also offer us a temporary release from frustration and stressful situations.

Daydreaming can become destructive though. If our frame of mind is one of disappointment and frustration with our lives, we tend to reflect this in our daydreams. Dreams of escaping to a new life and focus on what you don’t have can cause you to feel depressed. Instead, use daydreams to appreciate the good in your life. We all have areas we’d like to improve, but let daydreams inspire action without being negative.

You are in control

As the author of your daydreams, you have the power to shape them to your fantasies and use them as a way of understanding your world better. Use them as a force for creativity and progress. But be aware of your frame of mind. Don’t allow your daydreams to take over and reinforce your frustrations. Instead, use your daydreaming time to be grateful for the good things in your life. Allow them to fill you with energy and excitement for the future, inspire action and fulfil your dreams.