Learning to tolerate discomfort

We daydreamers tend to have difficulty tolerating unwanted feelings and emotions. I think it’s because we never have to. When real life becomes uncomfortable, we can disappear to a better place in an instant; and while we’re there, our real-life problems seem comfortably far away. But the problem with doing this is that we don’tContinue reading “Learning to tolerate discomfort”

Other conditions that tend to be associated with maladaptive daydreaming

In their 2017 paper, Eli Somer and colleagues looked at a group of maladaptive daydreamers to see whether they’d been diagnosed with any other mental-health conditions. Their results were striking: 77% of the group had ADHD, 72% had some form of anxiety disorder, 67% had depression, and 54% had OCD or a related disorder. TheseContinue reading “Other conditions that tend to be associated with maladaptive daydreaming”

When coming back to reality is painful

There are several reasons we might feel bad about daydreaming, but a common one is that when we come back to reality we confront the heartbreaking fact that all the wonderful things that just happened in the daydream world aren’t real. That realisation – that real life is less fulfilling than fantasy – is painful.Continue reading “When coming back to reality is painful”

Negative daydreams, part 2. Using DBT to create a calm alternative to distressing themes

Last week, I explored some possible reasons why we might daydream about things that upset us. Here, I’m going to look at how a technique from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can help us break out of a cycle of distressing daydreams. This technique, called “IMPROVE the moment”, is a crisis-management technique. That means it doesn’tContinue reading “Negative daydreams, part 2. Using DBT to create a calm alternative to distressing themes”

Negative daydreams, part 1: why do we daydream about upsetting things?

Although many of us have difficulty limiting the amount of time we spend daydreaming, most of us have at least some control over what we daydream about. Our daydreams are so vivid that they can generate real and intense emotional responses. So why is it that we sometimes daydream upsetting scenes that cause us veryContinue reading “Negative daydreams, part 1: why do we daydream about upsetting things?”

Three ways my imaginary friends help me in real life

Since I started consciously using my daydreaming to enhance my real life, two of my characters have evolved beyond the plot and become a key part of how I succeed in life. So for the purposes of this post, I’m going to draw a distinction between characters and imaginary friends. My characters (I probably haveContinue reading “Three ways my imaginary friends help me in real life”

Immersive daydreaming and flow – distinctions and similarities

Professor Eli Somer describes immersive and maladaptive daydreaming as states of dissociative absorption. Let’s break down what that means. Absorption is the process of becoming absorbed, focussing or concentrating intently on one thing and ignoring any distractions. Dissociation means a disconnection or separation. When we become dissociated, we become detached from reality and lose ourContinue reading “Immersive daydreaming and flow – distinctions and similarities”

Healing my inner child – a daydreaming experiment

In the last few weeks, I’ve realised that many of my negative thoughts and emotions come to me in the voice of a traumatised yet defiant seven-year-old stamping her foot and shouting that life isn’t fair. I’ve been asking myself why my wounded inner child shows up as a seven-year-old, and I think it’s becauseContinue reading “Healing my inner child – a daydreaming experiment”

Guilt and shame

Guilt and shame are two emotions that are familiar to many of us, but if you’ve been feeling guilty or ashamed of your daydreaming, it’s worth considering the difference between them and what you can do to reduce the suffering they all-too-often cause.  Guilt We feel guilt when we’ve behaved in a way that goesContinue reading “Guilt and shame”

Acknowledging the reality of your daydreams

It’s very easy to dismiss our daydreams as pure fantasy, and to draw a very firm distinction between the reality of our real life and the fiction of our daydream world. But it’s worth remembering that even though your daydream world only exists in your head, there are aspects of your daydreaming that reflect whoContinue reading “Acknowledging the reality of your daydreams”