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Daydreaming and Imagination – Creativity or Avoidance?

Miss Pykowski...listen's okay to daydream

Does Daydreaming Encourage Creative Thinking?

There are many reports on the value of mind wandering to encourage creative thinking. But is daydreaming always helpful to be more creative?

In his post Need to Generate Another Big Idea? Try Daydreaming! John D. Moore, PhD reports on a study from UC Santa Barbara that found “the group that performed best were the ones who were assigned to complete the easy task.

“Many participants reported that they were daydreaming while performing the easy task. Researchers believe that this daydreaming helped unlock their creativity.”

dreamer-beachPsychologist Scott Barry Kaufman describes research indicating that creative people tend to daydream more often, even while concentrating on tasks.

He writes, “A key theme that has emerged is the striking continuity between night-dreaming and daydreaming, and the ability of creative people to harness this continuity.”

From my post More Daydreaming, More Creativity.

Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and co-author with Carolyn Gregoire of Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind.

Imagining and Daydreaming

Psychologist Margaret Paul quotes Albert Einstein in a post of hers:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

She continues, “We are often told that in order to manifest our dreams, we need to be able to imagine them.

“I have personally found this to be true, and I’ve also discovered that there is a big difference between imagining and daydreaming.

“You are imagining when you are open and allowing creativity from Spirit to flow through you. The state of imagining comes from your soul, your essence – your inner child.”

She says the “definitions of imagining and daydreaming can overlap – the distinction really has to do with whether you are imagining from your loving Adult as a form of creativity, or whether you are daydreaming from your ego wounded self as a way to avoid feelings.”

This emotionally unhealthy form of daydreaming is, she notes, “an addictive way to avoid feelings and does not lead to creative manifestation.

“I have worked with numerous clients who used daydreaming as one of their major addictions.

“For example, Tyrone started to daydream as a child when his parents used to punish him by sending him to his room. He would feel so alone that he learned to use daydreaming as a way to cope with his feelings of abandonment.

“It worked well for him as a child, but now as an adult, daydreaming is keeping him from being present with himself.”

From her post The Difference between Daydreaming and Imagining.

Psychologist Margaret Paul is co-founder of Inner Bonding, an approach to “creating unconditional self-love and satisfying relationships that blends cognitive psychology and spiritual practices like mindfulness.”

She is presenting a free webinar in July, 2016:

6 Secrets to Fully Loving Yourself free webinar

The page for the event promises a number of benefits:

Get a whole new understanding of the causes of depression and anxiety

Discover how to use self-love, instead of food or other inadequate substitutes, to fill emptiness

Approach new relationships from a stance of fullness rather than neediness

Make advances in healing core shame

Move out of stagnation into a life of aliveness, passion and purpose

Sign up for the free recording: 6 Secrets to Fully Loving Yourself.

Alanis MorissetteSinger/Songwritter Alanis Morissette says of her Inner Bonding experience:

“I am grateful for this tool that encourages me to tune in and find the most loving steps to take on my own soul’s behalf.

“This process is of great nurturance to my artist, who I see as being synonymous with my inner child.”

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How are you using your imagination?

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe“Using your imagination is always a fine thing for an actor to do.”
Michelle Williams

“Great acting comes from a well-developed imagination.”
Acting teacher Jason Bennett

Imagination is central to creative expression.

Psychologist Carl Jung talked about using imagination as a means to access our unconscious, one of the main sources of creative ideas and energies.

He developed the concept of Active Imagination as a “meditation technique wherein the contents of one’s unconscious are translated into images, narrative or personified as separate entities.”

Read more in my post Michelle Williams on Acting and Imagination.





Daydreaming and Imagination – Creativity or Avoidance?

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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Some excerpts from The Creative Mind are included in his newsletter .
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2016). Daydreaming and Imagination – Creativity or Avoidance?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Jul 2016
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