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Are Your Daydreams Stuck in a Rut?

Seven ways to jump-start your imagination

Daydreaming and fantasizing are great ways to explore options, escape the routines of daily life, and find outlets for intense emotion. But sometimes even your daydreams can get stuck in a rut.

One reason for that is--everything you expose yourself to in life has the potential to kick off related daydreams as daydreams are sparked by prompts from the external world. Movies, TV, music, the news, advertisements, books . . . all are fodder for fantasy, which in turn can influence consciously and subconsciously the choices you make in life. In other words, if you're following Michael Jackson coverage 24/7 or watching re-runs of "Real World: Cancun" every night, you may find yourself having tragic celebrity daydreams or fantasies inspired by grade Z reality TV.

That's why it's good to try to trace the source of your daydreams and see if they're really helping you move in a direction you want or are they just junk food for your brain? Don't get me wrong--escapist fantasies are fun and have serious stress relief value, so whatever you do, don't feel guilty about them. But if you find that your daydreams aren't inspiring or are just re-runs of material you've outgrown, you might want to try prompting more creative mind wanderings. In that case, here are my top seven suggestions:

  1. Improve the quality of your movie/TV/reading/web-surfing choices. More provocative topics will have you thinking more creatively.
  2. Try something new--listen to new music, visit an art gallery, go to a comedy club.
  3. Travel--even if it's just a local half-day trip. If you can't get away, read about someplace you want to visit or try out the food or music. The mere anticipation of travel can really fire your imagination.
  4. If you want to be more creative in your job, make an effort to meet new people in your field--subscribe to industry-related publications, go to conferences and trade shows, join organizations. These, in turn, will help spin-off your own creative musings.
  5. Exercise. Studies show that you daydream more while moving and that the creativity burst lasts for up to two hours after you've stopped.
  6. Try a fantasy camp--the choices are endless. There's even a gladiator fantasy camp in Italy. Or volunteer in some field you've always dreamed about. These new encounters will prompt a fresh round of reveries.
  7. Be wary of scary movies and 24/7 news of the endless ills in the world--both will spark "negative" daydreams. Such daydreams have a planning element to them, i.e., "What would I do if someone broke into my house?" But if they go on too long and don't get you anywhere, it's time to break the pattern and start envisioning better things.

For more on daydreaming, check out my book [amazon 1933102691] or visit my website.

©Amy Fries
photo ©Amy Fries

About the Author
Amy Fries

Amy Fries is a writer and editor. She is the author of Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers.