Studies have shown that if we allow our brains to wander without any control on our part, such as daydreaming, there is a high likelihood that it will end in a negative thought and make us feel bad. Dreams can turn into nightmares, imaginary friends into monsters, and hallucinations into bad trips.
American psychologist, Dan Gilbert, conducted a worldwide study on the physical states of happiness using an app to ask three questions at random times across each day - "What are you doing?", "What are you thinking about?" and "How are you feeling?"
This study confirmed that happiness depends not simply on what we are doing at the time, it depends more on what we are 'thinking' about at the time that we are doing it. It is not the fact that we are doing what we enjoy that makes us happy, it has more to do with what we are thinking. You could be doing something that you enjoy but be thinking about work, as an example.
Essentially, we are controlling our state of mind dependent upon whether we are controlling our lucidity.
As an aside, the things that make us most happy are; having sex, talking with friends, engaged in sports, and playing or listening to music, in that order. What makes us the least happy, again in order are; work, being at home on the computer, or travelling on public transport. (For those who may be thinking that perhaps we could have sex on public transport to make it a much happier experience, NO. Try talking with someone or listening to music when you are next on public transport).
Our degree of happiness really does depend on controlling our thoughts, we are far less happy when we allow our brains to wander freely.
But, what if we believe that we enjoy daydreaming? The question to ask yourself is, are you daydreaming or are you imagining? The latter is the case and it can be good for us. Imagining, controlling your daydream towards an outcome, excites our brain, allows it to switch on our creativity, and motivates us.
Rather than randomly daydream, 'visualise' your goals, 'think' about ways to improve your life, 'escape' into your brain by imagining yourself achieving great things. Imagination has led to many great breakthroughs in our history.
Imagining works in a similar way to mindfulness, meditation, and the myriad of other mind control techniques with the exception that we don't want to calm our brain, we want to fully engage it.
Imagine it, don't dream it, it might just happen. And, you will be much happier no matter what the outcome.