Daydream Believer: The Benefits of Daydreaming
“The most successful people in any endeavor – whether business, science, athletics, or the arts- are visionaries. And what is a ‘vision?’ At the end of the day a vision is just an upscale word for ‘daydream,’ and ‘visionary’ an upscale word for ‘daydreamer.'” -Amy Fries, writer and editor
While I was growing up I spent what felt like a considerable amount of time immersed in a state of daydreaming. Staring out the car window, lying in my bed, or under the willow tree in our backyard- these were the coveted places to daydream. I loved to let my mind wander and allow it the freedom to roam in possibility, the grander the better. Years later, as a “grown-up,” I continue to believe in the benefits of the daydream. Recently several studies have been published highlighting those benefits (I’ve provided some resources below). We naturally and unconsciously daydream many times throughout the day, lasting for about one minute. Once we are aware that we are doing it, or make a conscious decision to do it, we are able to hone our daydreaming skills to affect a real vision for our personal future. From a business perspective, daydreaming is an incredibly useful tool to use at work to trouble-shoot a stubborn problem, or discover new ways to create and innovate.
The Daydream Environment
Daydream “portals” are accessible at any time, anywhere. I encourage and promote regular daydreams at your desk during the workday. Simply push your chair away from your desk, place your hands in your lap, take a few deep breaths, relax your body and let your mind roam. Beyond the office walls there are ample daydreaming spots. I share a few here that have a distinct multi-sensory appeal; a sentient spirit, a palpable warmth, a visually aesthetic balance. I’ve discovered a few key spots around Los Angeles, and a space in New York City that spark a good daydream when I need one.
In An Urban Space: At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City I discover velvet in various hues, artworks by the 20th century masters Basquiat and Warhol, a signature frankincense scent, friendly staff, and a cozy, dim-lit sleeping quarter. This boutique hotel is in and of itself, a daydream. If you are not a guest of the hotel, not to worry, order a tea in the artistically inspired Rose or Jade bar, and watch as the artistic daydreams unfold.
Under a Willow Tree: There is something incredibly poetic about willow trees. When you discover this compassionate tree, it beckons you forth with a promise of peaceful daydreaming. I had one in my backyard growing up and spent a lot of time under its languid branches. The leaves and bark of the willow tree contain salicin, known for its medicinal properties. When metabolized by the body, salicin produces salicylic acid, known to ease body pain. In the presence of this majestic being the mind, body, and spirit is soothed. Willow trees make for some great daydream material.
Amongst the Art: The evolving landscape, the grand architecture, the neutral color palette, the breathtaking views. These are the wide-open spaces of The Getty Center in Los Angeles. Once you take the tram to the top of the mountain you are in another world. In this elevation there are endless areas and nooks suspended in time, shadow and light to host your endless daydream scenarios.
Imagine (in a daydream perhaps) if we regularly and consciously engaged in this process, what we would, could envision for ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet. Daydreaming, like downtime, a good night’s sleep, and seasonal cleanses are a profound way to experience renewal, one of the Seven Outposts of a Slow Beauty practice.
Recommended Reading and Research:
Daydream at Work Wake Up Your Creative Power by Amy Fries.
For more information about Shel Pink or Slow Beauty please visit www.slowbeauty.com