Wishing and hoping and dreaming . . .

Hope and its connection to daydreams.

Posted Aug 12, 2009

A former high-school classmate of my daughter is now serving in Iraq. On her Facebook page, she writes that "daydreams and music" are the only two things getting her through the ordeal.

Likewise, in a Today Show segment about wounded soldiers returning from Iraq, one soldier talked about his participation in a filmmaking program in which disabled veterans were being taught how to write, shoot, and edit films. In describing the renewed hope he gained from this program, the young vet said: "I daydream a lot about things I'm going to do now. The same daydreams you have when you're twenty years old--I have those daydreams again."

We daydream for a variety of reasons, and one reason is they give us hope and help get us through the rough and boring patches of life. This isn't a small thing. All of us face our challenging days, and without the capacity to envision a brighter future or new goals, life would be bleak indeed.

In that way, daydreams may be a bellwether of how positive we're feeling about the future and how resilient we can be in the face of life's difficulties. While the relationship between daydreams and depression isn't entirely clear, there are some theories that depression is marked by a lack of daydreaming--in other words, when depressed, we lose our ability to daydream in ways that boost us when feeling low or amuse us when tired or bored. Could it be that when the world goes flat and gray that our daydreams have ceased to work their magic and the world looks one-dimensional, without possibilities, without hope?

How do you use daydreaming to help you get through life's rough patches? Do you have any favorite recurring themes or images that you find either comforting or inspiring?

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Copyright: Amy Fries

Photo credit: istock.com/Panorios