If your tendency to daydream interferes with your daily activities, this may be a sign that you need to improve your concentration and save your dreams for the night. To daydream less, it can help to understand the extent and purpose of your daydreaming habit. Then you can apply techniques to reduce the habit, increase your concentration, and participate in activities that keep your attention.
Method 1 of 4: Analyze Your Dreaming Patterns
Step 1. Understand the purpose of daydreaming
Knowing why you tend to daydream is crucial to knowing how to change it. If you don't know why something is happening (what the real problem is), you may have a harder time finding a solution. Sometimes people dream as a way to avoid stress or other painful feelings. This imaginary world allows them to escape and avoid dealing with negative emotional states. Daydreaming can also represent a way to relieve yourself by imagining that your wishes are being fulfilled. In addition, fantasizing can be linked to a need to forget certain information (trauma, painful situations, etc.). Actually, daydreaming allows you to forget memories or information previously received.
- Make a list of the types of dreams you have when you are awake, and what you think is the function of those fantasies. For example, you could identify that you often dream of conversations with friends, which helps you predict what might happen and practice responding. Another example is, if you have dreams about buying a home, this could help you think that you will have a better day and hope for the future.
- Ask yourself "In general, what is the purpose of daydreaming?" Do you daydream about escaping, getting distracted, feeling better, or spending time?
Step 2. Recognize patterns in your dreams
By understanding the patterns of the fantasies you have, you can develop an ability to reduce each type of fantasy. Do you mostly daydream at school or work? Are there certain situations that trigger your dreamy behavior?
Recognize how often you daydream. Set your alarm for one hour. Keep track of how many times you fell into a dream during that hour. For example, the moment you realize that you are dreaming, write a mark on a piece of paper and keep doing it. This will allow you to be more aware of how much you really daydream. Sometimes it can take a few minutes to realize that you were daydreaming and that's okay, you just have to count every time you realize you were doing it
Step 3. Identify the negative consequences
If daydreaming causes difficulties in your daily life such as changes in work or school, in interpersonal relationships or in personal obligations, you may be dreaming too much and this can be harmful. Unfortunately, a scattered mind can produce negative emotions.
List the negative consequences related to your fantasy life. This list can include things like: less time with family or friends, falling behind in school because you can't concentrate, not being able to finish work due to being distracted with fantasies, and your family and friends feeling that you are not listening to them because they are daydreaming
Method 2 of 4: Apply Techniques to Reduce Daydreaming
Step 1. Be more aware
You must first be aware of your daydreaming habit when it occurs, to begin to change it. Once you have identified the purpose, patterns, and consequences of daydreaming, it can be helpful to begin to identify when you are dreaming in the moment.
Signs that you may be daydreaming include the following: losing eye contact with someone during a conversation, having difficulty concentrating on the task at hand, not remembering what was just said in a conversation, having unrelated thoughts current situation and having imaginary conversations with people or imagining events that occur in your head
Step 2. Keep a record of your dreams
Once you have identified that you are daydreaming, stop immediately and write down what you were dreaming about, as well as the time, day, situation or place you were in, and how long your mind was wandering. This will help you be aware of when you daydream and better understand your behavior patterns.
Question the usefulness of daydreaming. Ask yourself, is daydreaming helping me in any way?
Step 3. Set guidelines and limits for your dreams
Certain types of dreams can lead to negative results. For example, if you dream of people you don't know very well, you can become more lonely. However, if you imagine people who are close to you, you can increase the feeling of connection and satisfaction with life in general.
- Choose boundaries that, when you cross them, tell you to stop daydreaming. Some of them could include intimacy, spending large amounts of money, or extreme violence.
- Sometimes when you are lost in your own dreams and wasting time, you should look at your watch. A watch is a reminder of how precious it is to make the most of the present time because it will never come back!
Step 4. Focus your dreams
Mental wandering can serve for introspection and for the fulfillment of your personal goals. Imaging and visualization techniques are common in therapy, especially in the treatment of anxiety and depression. By applying visualization techniques, you can focus your dreams on something that is useful and relaxing for you.
- An example of an imagery exercise is closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a safe place. This place can be a beach, your room, a church, or anywhere you can feel safe and relaxed. Imagine how it feels to be in this place. Be aware of the temperature, the air, how your body feels, and the other sensations and feelings you experience. Imagine how it smells and what sounds are produced in your safe place. Are there other people in your safe place? What are you doing in your safe place? Stay in your safe place until you are completely relaxed and ready to open your eyes.
- Online resources can guide you regarding imaging techniques.
Step 5. Get up and move
The moment you realize that you are daydreaming, get up and do some activity. This serves to drain a bit of physical energy, and at the same time, it can help your mind refocus and reduce dreams.
- Try stretching. Stretch your arms towards the sky as far as you can without feeling uncomfortable. Then spread your legs while you're standing still and stretch your arms toward the ground (so it's not uncomfortable for you).
- Jump open and close your legs, run in place, or wave your arms. Try to do whatever is safe and appropriate for where and where you find yourself.
Step 6. Reward yourself for being focused
Every time you can complete a task without falling into the trap of daydreaming, reward yourself. This idea is based on positive reinforcement, a component of operant conditioning, and research has shown that it increases positive behavior (such as sustained attention). In addition, it is a way of setting personal limits (by not doing something fun until you have completed a task) and setting something to look forward to (the reward).
- Try to reward yourself with something you like, like a candy or other snack.
- You can even allow yourself a 5 minute break from your work as a form of reward. If you take breaks appropriately, your overall productivity will increase. Use this time to do something you enjoy, like play games or write to a friend.
Step 7. Consider the option of receiving treatment
Excessive daydreaming can become a problem if it causes problems in your personal life, such as difficulties in relationships or school, in your ability to do your job, or in other daily activities. If this is the case, a treatment may be a helpful option.
Contact a psychologist, couples and family therapist, or psychiatrist
Method 3 of 4: Increase Focus and Attention
Step 1. Try mindfulness exercises
If you are daydreaming, it means that you are focusing on a fantasy or your own thoughts, which are not necessarily related to what is happening around you. Being aware is being focused on the present moment.
- Try eating a piece of fruit that you like while concentrating on how it feels, how it looks, and how it tastes.
- Use online resources to learn about awareness and try awareness techniques.
Step 2. Use rooting techniques
Rooting helps you detach yourself from emotional pain; It is especially useful in dealing with difficult situations and emotions and can serve as a healthy and useful replacement for dreams or fantasy. You can practice rooting in any situation and at any time of your choosing, thereby refocusing your mind. After the rooting exercise is done, go back to your initial duties or tasks. You will find that you will be able to concentrate better after applying a specific rooting technique.
- Name some of the objects in the room and their different uses.
- You can name a color or animal that comes to mind.
- Remember not to spend too much time doing the rooting technique; otherwise, you will use it as another form of daydreaming. Limit yourself to about 1 minute and then go back to what you were doing previously.
Step 3. Get enough sleep
A lack of quality sleep has been linked to increases in daydreaming. If you don't allow your mind to rest at night, it can become hyperactive during the day. People with sleep problems also suffer from high levels of depression, anxiety, and medical problems.
- Plan a bedtime (one hour to sleep and one hour to wake up) and sleep at least 8 hours a day.
- Try relaxation and breathing techniques to help you sleep at night.
Step 4. Take a break
If you find that your thoughts are distracting you, it may help to take a break. Sometimes being distracted is usually an indication that we have been working very hard. Taking breaks can increase overall productivity, especially on tasks that require mental strain.
- Try taking a walk or walking down the street.
- Do something you like for a few minutes: eat a snack, listen to music, or watch something on TV.
Step 5. Involve your body and mind
If you're someone who starts daydreaming when they're not particularly focused on a task, like when you sit idly by, try doing something. Being fidgety can really help people with attention problems focus better.
- Grab a pillow, stuffed animal, or stress ball that you can play with.
- For some people, listening to music while working on simple tasks helps focus. It serves as a partial distraction for the mind, so that it can focus on what is important.
Method 4 of 4: Participate in Activities That Hold Your Attention
Step 1. Find new hobbies
Participate in fun activities that you can focus your attention on.
- Do something that inspires you like walking through a beautiful place, meditating, looking at artwork, among other things.
- Try exercise like biking, walking, sports, dancing, aerobics, and yoga.
- Avoid activities that can encourage daydreaming like watching too much television. If you watch too much television, your creativity may be reduced and you may see your daydreaming increase.
Step 2. Talk to a friend or family member
People who receive adequate social support tend to have better overall mental health. We need social support to deal with any problems, which can be excessive rambling or distraction.
- Pick someone you know very well and with whom you feel very comfortable. Then ask if they would be available to answer the phone and chat with you if you have become very engrossed in a dream.
- You can ask your friends or family to alert you if they notice that you are daydreaming. In this way, you will be more aware and you will know your level of attention better.
Step 3. Plan less, do more
Planning can be a way of daydreaming because you spend a lot of time thinking about a situation and not a lot of time taking action. It's time to stop dreaming and start doing!
- Make a schedule and stick to it. If you find yourself daydreaming, get up and get out of the situation or do something productive.
- If you fall into a dream, little by little go back to what you were doing before your mind wandered. Try to be tolerant and not very critical of yourself.