If you find yourself daydreaming at work (it happens to the best of us!), you shouldn’t beat yourself up. In fact, according to a new study, daydreaming isn’t necessarily a sign that you have trouble focusing but rather that you’re a creative person. So stop asking yourself “Is daydreaming bad?” and keep reading to find out why you have nothing to worry about.
Eric Schumacher, an associate psychology professor at Georgia Tech, recently conducted a study where he and his colleagues looked at the brain scans of more than 100 people who were told to focus on a fixed point. This allowed researchers to determine what parts of the brain worked together when a person was in a resting state versus an aware state, study co-author Christine Godwin said.
Once the team had figured out what areas of the brain were active when a person was in a resting state, they compared that information from tests participants took that were aimed at gauging their creativity and intellectual abilities. Participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding how much their minds wandered during their daily life.
What Schumacher and Godwin found was that people who reported higher levels of daydreaming also scored higher on the creative and intellectual tests. This could be because smarter, more efficient brains can finish a task faster than others and therefore have more time to let their minds wander.
“People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can’t,” Schumacher said in a press release. “Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn’t always true. Some people have more efficient brains.”
What are the signs of an efficient brain? Being able to tune in and out of a conversation and still respond without missing key information is one sign, Schumacher said. He compared it to an absent-minded professor who, despite being absolutely gifted and brilliant, is off in his own little world. Another example, according to Schumacher, is a child who is too intellectually advanced for his or her grade. While said child’s classmates need five minutes or so to learn something new, the academically gifted kid might begin daydreaming because he or she has figured out the lesson before everyone else.
See? Nothing to worry about! And now that we’ve interrupted your reverie for long enough, we’ll let you get back to your daydreams.