How to stop daydreaming and concentrate?

A girl daydreaming on her bed before going to sleep.

Mary admits:

I have a serious problem, I daydream at work, when walking, even before going to sleep on my bed. It’s usually something about being some popular star or hero.”

Daydreaming is a common problem among all people young and old. Done in moderation, it can be a normal, healthy activity.

However, too much anything can be harmful. Especially this is so, if the daydreams are affecting your daily productivity.

Suppose, for example, that you sometimes imagine you are a famous singer.

At first you might spend just a few moments each day imagining yourself on stage receiving the adulation of a crowd.

But as the weeks pass, you begin to spend more and more time in your fantasy world of concerts, interviews, recording sessions.

The fantasy brings you such pleasure, and you can’t make it stop.

Dangers of daydreaming

A young man having fantasy daydreams.

‘So, what’s the harm in pretending?’ you ask. For one thing, experts say that compulsive daydreamers often “cannot . . . function well in the real world.”

Living in a dream world hinders the growth process; you cling to, rather than put away, unproductive lifestyles.

You develop unrealistic, rather than realistic, views of life.

Instead of developing your perceptive powers to solve problems, you stifle them by retreating into a world of fantasy.

The daydream thus takes over your life, to the detriment of real-life relationships and priorities.

The book Daydreaming, by Dr. Eric Klinger, points to what may be the greatest danger of daydreaming, namely that:

dwelling on something you want but should not have, may make it harder for you to resist pursuing it."
Action is preceded by thought.

And while you will not likely become a drug-addicted rock star just because you sometimes dream about being a famous musician, you might cultivate an unhealthy appetite for the desire for immediate gratification at the expense of realistic goals in life.

Stopping daydreaming excessively

A lady daydreaming as she watches the sunset in the background.

How, then, can you break the hold of this fantasy?

First of all, it might help to ask yourself why this fantasy so appeals to you. Is it because you want others to like you?

Do you get pleasure out of imagining that you possess the beauty or talent that made this celebrity popular?

Or perhaps you simply envy the individual’s seemingly carefree and risk free lifestyle.

One mental-health professional observed this regarding the popular singer Madonna:

"In the fans’ minds she is free from cares about money and loneliness."

Some may therefore dream of being like her.

But is it really true that celebrities enjoy carefree lives?

Actually, life in the fast lane has left many of them physically and emotionally wrecked.

In spite of wealth, many celebrities suffer financial woes. Few enjoy stable marriages.

Do you want to set your heart upon living such a life?

Of course, it’s only natural to want to be loved and admired.

This may cause you to have recurring daydreams in which you imagines yourself to be “someone special whom everyone likes.”

But a daydream—no matter how vivid or realistic—cannot really satisfy those desires any more than dreaming about eating can fill your stomach.

So instead of dreaming about being liked, work on making yourself likable.

Keeping your concentration

A young man try to keep his concentration in the office.

For many people however the problem is, not so much the content of their daydreams, but the way these intrude on their studies.

“I can’t concentrate on my studies,” some may complain. “I can never keep my mind on one thing.”

How can you pay attention to what you are hearing or studying?

Some researchers believe it may help if you simply make yourself aware of how much you daydream.

Perhaps you could just make a mark on a piece of paper every time you find yourself drifting off.

When students in one study did this, daydreaming decreased significantly.

Also try cultivating an interest in what you are learning.

If you have made up your mind that Math is boring or that history is dull, you’ll have a hard time concentrating.

Your studies will be a lot more interesting, though, if you remind yourself of how you can benefit from the information.

At the very least, studying may help you to improve on your abilities.

You can also learn important skills.

For example, Math will serve you well in a secular job, in the managing of a household, and in handling certain responsibilities.

A knowledge of History can help you understand people and current events.

When studying, it is important that the individual clear the mind of preoccupation with other thoughts, to enable one to concentrate and to be single-minded relative to the matter at hand.

We may still be keyed up over some happening in our secular life, or upset over some incident of the day.

Hence, we may sit down to study some material. We read a moment and then think, ‘What did I read in that paragraph?’

We must get other matters off our minds as we study specific subjects. It is true our minds can be sidetracked by the happenings of the day, but this only hinders study and its joy.

On the other hand, we do not want to be so relaxed that we become drowsy after reading one paragraph.

If you find yourself in such a situation, try shorter, but more frequent spells of study.

Of course, appreciation for what you are studying is vital, a lack of it, will causing your mind to wander.

It’s particularly tough to concentrate when you are doing something routine, such as washing, cleaning, or filing. How easy it is to lapse into a reverie!

But a positive attitude can help you to concentrate.

When you keep your mind on what you are doing, the job will gets done faster.

Conclusion


Daydreams may be pleasurable, but they are no substitute for reality.

Do not allow them to take over your life. Discipline your mind.

Keep it focused on things that are worthwhile.

In this way, not only will you stop daydreaming too much but you will get a more rewarding real life.

For a more in depth discussion on how to improve the power of concentration, please read the following article: 7 ways to improve power of concentration.

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