If you've ever suddenly "come to your senses" while driving alone and wondered how you got there, or reached for the soap in the shower and thought to yourself, "didn't I already do this?", you've been running on autopilot, your mind wandering in a daydream. Don't worry, you're normal. We all do it.
Your daydream destinations say a lot about the real you. Where do you go on your mind wandering journeys?
Do you long for the good old days? Do you climb into the way-back machine to revisit pleasant memories from your childhood, or the day you first met your spouse? Then again, maybe your favorite is the day you brought your first born home from the hospital, or your first real date. The past can be a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.
If you find yourself constantly returning to past mistakes and hurts, you might be stuck in yesterday. Bill Harris, founder of The Centerpointe Research Institute says in his First Principles, "Let whatever happens be OK." That's great advice. You can't change the past, so why let it make you miserable today. Let go and get on with your life.
Maybe you like to keep things tidy. You find yourself going over the tasks ahead or cataloging your day. It's a great way to stay ahead of the game. Or do you time travel into the future to worry about what might happen (but probably won't)? Be easy about it and quit worrying. Have you ever thought you might be creating your future in your daydreams?
Are you a dreamer? Do your daydreams take you far into the future, playing at what if, creating your ideal life? Do you fantasize, imagining the perfect mate or the ideal job? Focus on your dreams - often. They might just come true.
Probably the best daydream is having no destination at all. Simply let your mind wander like a leaf drifting downstream or a bee flitting from flower to flower. It's easy. Just take your paddle out of the water and let your thoughts go. If you're like most people, wonderful, creative ideas will pop into your head when you least expect them. Nurture them and keep coming back for more.
Our minds are amazing. Whenever we don't have a definite task in front of us, our thoughts wander. You can build a better future, relive pleasant times or talk with your muse. But, your daydreams can be like quicksand that suck you down into unpleasant memories, or constant worrying. Whether you control your daydreams (you can you know), or let them control you says a lot.
If you would like to see how your mindwandering compares to others, you might like to try this 12 question survey: (http://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/uphp/malia/survey.php/show?s_id=1).