Title

Occupations of the Mind: Daydreaming in Daily Life

Presenter Information

Nancy Bagatell

Start Time

24-10-2008 3:20 PM

End Time

24-10-2008 3:50 PM

Abstract

In examining data from Experience Sampling Method projects in which graduate students in Occupational Therapy explored their time use and experience, I observed an interesting trend, a naming and valuing of non-observable occupations. A seemingly universal experience was daydreaming and fantasizing, a doing in the mind. Students reported that daydreaming most often occurred while engaged in other occupations, or as a secondary occupation, but quite frequently identified daydreaming as a primary occupation. Interestingly, all students indicated that daydreaming was pleasurable and important. Intrigued by these findings, I have explored the phenomenon of daydreaming and argue here that daydreaming should be considered an occupation, an occupation of the mind. While daydreaming is generally considered trivial or maladaptive and thus is often neglected in intellectual discourse, literature from various disciplines supports the notion that daydreaming is a ubiquitous experience that is purposeful and meaningful in daily life. Daydreaming has been identified as an important means of: 1) preventing boredom and loneliness; 2) amusing oneself in idle moments; 3) reducing tension and stress; 3) learning more about oneself; 4) rehearsing for future actions; 5) developing new and alternate ways of dealing with situations; and 6) creating narratives. The content of daydreams can range from the mundane to the sublime. This paper explores how occupations of the mind develop across the life span and the current research regarding the neurobiological basis for daydreaming. Examples from illness narratives, autobiographical accounts of people with disabilities, and practitioner narratives support the notion that individuals at various stages of development and with various occupational challenges engage in occupations of the mind and that these occupations hold great personal meaning.

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Oct 24th, 3:20 PM Oct 24th, 3:50 PM

Occupations of the Mind: Daydreaming in Daily Life

In examining data from Experience Sampling Method projects in which graduate students in Occupational Therapy explored their time use and experience, I observed an interesting trend, a naming and valuing of non-observable occupations. A seemingly universal experience was daydreaming and fantasizing, a doing in the mind. Students reported that daydreaming most often occurred while engaged in other occupations, or as a secondary occupation, but quite frequently identified daydreaming as a primary occupation. Interestingly, all students indicated that daydreaming was pleasurable and important. Intrigued by these findings, I have explored the phenomenon of daydreaming and argue here that daydreaming should be considered an occupation, an occupation of the mind. While daydreaming is generally considered trivial or maladaptive and thus is often neglected in intellectual discourse, literature from various disciplines supports the notion that daydreaming is a ubiquitous experience that is purposeful and meaningful in daily life. Daydreaming has been identified as an important means of: 1) preventing boredom and loneliness; 2) amusing oneself in idle moments; 3) reducing tension and stress; 3) learning more about oneself; 4) rehearsing for future actions; 5) developing new and alternate ways of dealing with situations; and 6) creating narratives. The content of daydreams can range from the mundane to the sublime. This paper explores how occupations of the mind develop across the life span and the current research regarding the neurobiological basis for daydreaming. Examples from illness narratives, autobiographical accounts of people with disabilities, and practitioner narratives support the notion that individuals at various stages of development and with various occupational challenges engage in occupations of the mind and that these occupations hold great personal meaning.