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The Rewards of Directed Daydreaming

By Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, MDs

The Monkees recorded the song “Daydream Believer” in 1967, and it topped the charts at No. 1.

Believing in daydreams has always been a winning idea – as researchers have now confirmed. They suggest that when you turn your idle thoughts to daydreaming about pleasant memories, a future accomplishment, or an event you’re looking forward to, you boost your wellness and increase pain tolerance.

For their study, published in the journal Emotions, the researchers helped volunteers shift from their standard (usually fretful) idle thoughts to pleasant and meaningful daydreaming. The participants found that they enjoyed such directed daydreaming about 50% more than when they simply thought about whatever came into their mind.

If directed daydreaming seems like a waste of time, consider this: Another study found that 76% of men and 25% of women would rather give themselves an electric shock than be alone with their thoughts. That’s a pretty clear indication that directing your daydreaming along a more positive path might infuse your life with a much-needed sense of relief and happiness.

Plus, happy people live longer. One study found that over 30 years, very happy people had a 14% lower risk of dying compared to unhappy folks.

Make a list of five meaningful and pleasant things in your life. It can be anything from how you make oatmeal to something you’re working to achieve. Then sit in a quiet spot, breathe slowly, and let your mind wander over those topics for five minutes.

You’ll face the day with renewed optimism and resilience.