What did Sir Issac Newton and Albert Einstein have in common?
… They were not just great thinkers, they both liked to daydream!
In recent years numerous studies have shown the surprising benefits of daydreaming. Daydreaming can sharpen the mind, increase creativity, boost working memory and cognitive functioning.
Have you ever tried to search your brain for the meaning of a word, it was on the tip of your tongue, but you still felt that you couldn’t reach it? Or have you ever gone to great lengths to create a language learning plan to achieve your goals, but never actually took any steps towards actioning it?
The problem you might be facing could be to do with your own self-limiting beliefs and negative thinking patterns. These beliefs and negative thinking styles are not necessarily fact, but rather a mere opinion on how you view the world around you based on old memories.
“By letting your mind wander, you are stretching new neural pathways in your brain—while at the same time—giving the analytic, task-oriented part of your brain a much needed break” –
As you daydream, you can explore the more creative, frontal lobe areas of the brain. Creativity can play an important role in out-of-the-box thinking. Contrary to what you may believe, taking time out just to cloud glaze and see the pretty shapes they make or simply having a break from technology can actually increase productivity levels!
What if you applied daydreaming to language learning? Imagining having conversations in your target language. No, I am not saying ditch those language tutorials, but including some daydreaming states, in-between language tutorials and focused study sessions could have some surprising benefits to your learning ability!
Modern scientific studies have now revealed that when asked, people who were given a “daydreaming” exercise in between performing tasks had increased performance in comparison to another group that was required to focus on their tasks without having any time to drift off. Therefore there does appear to be a cognitive benefit for daydreaming.
“Daydreaming and meditation are connected” –
Daydreaming can help give you the ability to ‘think outside of the box‘ and let go of any self-limiting beliefs or negative thinking habits you may have towards learning new skills. Allow your imagination and learning ability to grow as you daydream your way to success.
Applying daydreaming to language learning exercise
- After a study session take 10 minutes out. Begin by taking a few moments to get settled in a comfortable sitting position, close your eyes or just focus on a spot in the room, next take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once you feel calmer . . . imagine, in your mind’s eye, that you sitting on a puffy cloud and gently floating up towards the sky.
- Now imagine that you can feel the surface beneath you becoming soft and fluffy; surrounding you with its protective support. See the walls and ceiling around you disappear as you float up . . . drifting on the cloud.
- Next, imagine you are surrounded by people on their own little fluffy clouds that speak the language you are learning. Try to reach out to them and have a conversation in your target language. Really visualize and audiolize yourself in deep conversation with them. What does it feel like? What does it sound like?
- You might imagine you are at a restaurant and ordering some food or shopping for new clothes. Try to picture the signs in your target language. Are they easy or hard to read?
- Allow yourself to daydream on your drifting cloud for as long as you are able to. And when you are ready to return from the journey, drift slowly back down to where you started, open your eyes or take your eyes off the focus point and give yourself a gentle shake.
- Take a few moments to write down your experience. Did you have any realizations? Did you become aware of any goals you might want to set? Did you know more words than you thought?
Apply a more diffused and mindful learning style where you let your thoughts drift naturally. . . up in the clouds, and see what happens. Daydreaming can be used in conjunction with The Pomodoro Technique. This is when you study for a set-period such as 20-25 minutes, then take a 10-minute daydreaming break, then focused study for another 20-25 minute study session. By retraining your brain you’ll stop standing on the edge of your language learning potential, and start fulfilling more of what you’re truly capable of achieving.
How did you get on?
Share in the comments section below or on one of our social media channels how you got on with this practical daydreaming exercise.
Transform your self-limiting beliefs and negative thinking habits today…
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