How Having Daydreams as an Adult Can Change Your Life

UPDATED: June 12, 2023
PUBLISHED: May 3, 2016
millennial woman sitting in window having a daydream

When we were children, many of us believed anything was possible. We created worlds where we were the main characters and everything revolved around our wants. Our friends came over and became part of these worlds and we had the time of our lives laughing, playing and being who we wanted to be. It was magical.

But as time passed and we grew older, people saw what we were doing and they weren’t sure they liked it anymore. They saw us being young, excited and joyful—what they used to be. They started saying things like, “Grow up!” “Act your age!” and “Be realistic!”

The importance of having daydreams

Maybe they didn’t understand the importance and benefits of daydreaming, particularly in regards to creative thinking. According to a study published in Human Brain Mapping, daydreaming and attentional control can affect our creative ability. As the researchers discovered, “positive constructive daydreaming was positively related to creativity, while poor attention was negatively related to creativity.” That is, increased rates of constructive daydreaming benefited creativity levels, while a lack of attentional ability negatively impacted creative performance.

Another study, this one published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, found that “there [may] be at least two distinct routes between daydreaming and creativity. One goes through personally meaningful daydreams, which are surprisingly common and appear to be a source of creative inspiration, behavior and problem solving. Another route goes through a much rarer, fantastical type of daydreaming. Though seemingly frivolous, fantastical daydreaming may be a significant source of artistic creativity.”

For adults, daydreaming may not just benefit our creative ability, but our relationships as well. A 2022 study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that, “In contrast to general daydreaming, which was associated with lower subsequent relationship investment size (i.e., magnitude and importance of resources attached to a relationship) in the marital partner, partner-related social daydreaming led to a greater subsequent investment size.” Not only that, but the investment effect of daydreaming was only seen in individuals with secure attachment styles.

Following your dreams

Alternatively, perhaps they didn’t consider that letting us choose our own futures might be better than choosing for us.

We didn’t know that these people (parents, teachers, counselors) probably weren’t mad at us—instead, they may have been disappointed with themselves for allowing their daydreams to die.

What they don’t know, and maybe even you don’t realize, is that dreams can never be destroyed. They can be battered and bruised, but they can never die. Dreams just sink into a deep sleep in the back of your mind. They lie there, like Sleeping Beauty, waiting for the day they will be realized.

Well, it’s time to wake them up, to remember the magic of your youth and the days when there were no impossibilities. It’s time to revive your daydreams and start living the life you’ve always wanted to live.

Each and every one of you was born rich. The mental limitations holding you back are often those you have imposed upon yourself. So, why aren’t you living out your dreams? What’s stopping you?

If you’re not thinking big enough, or if you aren’t focused on exactly what you want to do, you may not be living the life you truly want to live. Once you believe in the possibility of achieving anything and focus on exactly what you want to have, exactly what you want to do, exactly who you want to be, your mind can take you there.

Predetermine the objectives you want to accomplish. Think big, act big and set out to accomplish big things.

This article was updated June 2023. Photo by DimaBerlin/Shutterstock

Mark Victor Hansen

Mark Victor Hansen is best known as the co-author for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and brand, setting world records in book sales, with over 500 million books sold. Mark also worked his way into a worldwide spotlight as a sought-after keynote speaker, and entrepreneurial marketing maven, creating a stream of successful people who have created massive success for themselves through Mark’s unique teachings and wisdom. With his endearing charismatic style, Mark captures his audience’s attention as well as their hearts. Having spoken to over 6,000 audiences world-wide with his one-of-a-kind technique and masterful authority of his work, time and again he continues to receive high accolades from his audiences as one of the most dynamic and compelling speakers and leaders of our time. Mark and his beautiful wife, Crystal Dwyer Hansen, have co-written their newest book to be released in April 2020 called, ASK! The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny.