Is daydreaming just harmless escapism or serious problem?

Is daydreaming just harmless escapism or serious problem?

Dubai - Normal daydreaming is even a good thing, but maladaptive day dreaming can disturb the individual's day-to-day functioning and cause social isolation

By Ankita Chaturvedi

Published: Sat 27 Aug 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 27 Aug 2016, 2:58 PM

Thinking is a natural, almost subconscious process in every human being. But, according to the experts, if it is not constructive, it can challenge your mental health.
Kritika Ghosh, a counselling psychologist and psychotherapist has worked with adults and teenagers in Dubai for almost 8 years. She thinks too much day dreaming, specially, can be a symptom of concern.
Almost everyone wanders off into fantasy land sometime during the course of the day, but maladaptive day dreaming can disturb the individual's day-to-day functioning and cause social isolation. It can also become an obsession if not checked in time.
Ghosh said: "One of my patients, a 45-year-old Dubai resident, is always stuck in 'what if' situations. Being a working woman and mother of two grown-up children, she was facing difficulties fulfilling her duties because of her constant thinking habit. Initially, it was difficult for her, but after a couple of therapy sessions, she has learned to avoid becoming trapped in excessive thinking. She started keeping a diary as well to overcome this problem".
How to spot a daydreamer
Daydreaming is like musing or being in a fantasy while wide awake, mostly consisting of thoughts of wish fulfillment or hopes. At one moment, you may be going about your daily work and the next, you catch yourself lost in the world of imagination.
"According to studies, 96 per cent of adults engage in it at least once a day. The scientific description is 'a short term detachment from one's immediate surroundings'. During this time, a person's contact with reality is a little bit blurred or partially detached. Sometimes, it can be a reflection of stress," said Dr. Haytham Shabayek, specialist psychiatrist at Medeor 24x7, Abu Dhabi.
He added: "Normal daydreaming is not a problem. In fact, it is a kind of stress-relief process which helps soothe a person's emotional and psychological state. It also opens the doors of creativity, decision making and problem solving. So, usually, it is a good thing".
The father of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud, interpreted daydreaming as an expression of repressed instincts similar to those that are revealed in night-time dreams. So daydreams are based on dreams that's close to the subconscious' surface, because of "relaxed censorship".
The impact of daydreaming
It can leave a positive as well as negative impact on one's life. There is no doubt that daydreaming can be dangerous if excessive; uncontrolled, it can lead to mental issues and illness, including feelings of isolation, depression, bipolar disorder or alcohol abuse.
Dr Sana Kausar, family medicine specialist and aero medical examiner at University Hospital Sharjah (UHS) believes one should be try to be in a positive environment and have a good connect with family and friends to avoid day dreaming. It can lead to many other problems including palpitations, weight loss or gain and a lesser happiness quotient in life.
But, at the same time, Dr Kausar thinks it is beneficial if it just a means of light escapism, helping the mood to lighten. Studies show that if daydreaming is done in a controlled way, it can actually help in improving mental health.
Daydreaming triggers
> Watching TV after a long ?of day work
> Repetitive movements while sitting or walking
> Not engaging in any constructive activity
How to develop a balanced thinking pattern
> Live in the present and respect the importance of now: it will make you an attentive person.
> Staying busy is a good way to be mentally active and reduces the chances of getting distracted from reality.
> Indulge in healthy eating habits and a good night's sleep.
> Exercise regularly or involve yourself in physical activities.

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