The Seduction of Daydreams – Why Positive Thinking is Not Enough

I notice this feeling I get when I daydream. It happens when I daydream about anything – more money, my next romance, the living situation I’m calling in, the car I will buy, my most perfect holiday plans, next summer’s adventures. When I dip into this reality in the dream space in my mind, I experience an elated, almost buzzy sensation – my body and being teems with all this fertile possibility. I love inducing this state. I go there very often, especially lately. I can be riding my bike, or in line at checkout, but my mind is daydreaming about the picturesque views from my new kitchen, or all the places I can road trip with my new car.

But there are a couple of problems here. First off I realized the other day that I’ve been “dreaming” about that car for months, and I don’t have it yet. That made me wonder about this daydreaming state I go to. What is it about? Why is it not really resulting in action?

A recent New York Times article, “The problem with positive thinking” sites studies which have determined that positive thinking – or simply just imagining the outcome you want – is not only ineffective, but can drain one’s energy to actually manifest what one wants. You can read more about the specifics of the studies here.

The author describes one outcome of positive thinking as a loss of energy, and I have a supporting explanation of why we might stay in the day-dream/positive thinking state and not move into manifesting. I realized in myself that my relationship with that daydream state is actually an addictive relationship, and here’s why: The pathway in my brain is such that my body receives a reward of happy brain chemicals whenever I think about things beyond my reach. That sensation I’m experiencing, I’m experiencing through a state of longing, of something that is not quite mine yet. This means that I’m wired to stay in a state of longing, in a state of don’t-yet-have. If I want to receive a rush of those happy brain chemicals, my body is literally trained to get those through the thought process of daydreaming. All of my energy is motivated towards producing those chemicals, and the pathway my body knows is one through daydreaming, not action.

In plain language: I’m addicted to daydreaming. That is, my body and brain are literally wired to keep me in a state of longing, as opposed to a state of having.

So how do I rid myself of this addictive cycle, and how do I move something from dream into reality? If this is an experience that seems familiar to you, maybe this lifemap I’ve developed can help you too:

1) Listen to your thoughts. Investigate what is making this daydream pathway strong. What’s keeping dreams as dreams, and not as reality? I discovered a whole bunch of beliefs around keeping daydreams as dreams. I found general fears and doubts around what would happen if my dreams became reality – beliefs like “my dreams are finite.” (if my dreams are finite, then they better stay as dreams because eventually I’ll run out!). I also found beliefs that were holding me back from realizing the specific dreams – beliefs like “owning a car is a burden” (why would I want to create opportunity for burden?!).

Pay attention to what you are thinking and telling yourself – all the time. Question whether those thoughts have to be true, or if they are just protecting you or preventing you in some way. Write down the ones that are clearly not serving you. Make a commitment to think a different thought. Better yet, come to Community Theta Healing or book a private session and have your friendly local Theta Healer help you shift these beliefs on all levels. Retraining your brain by pure willpower is hard. You may find the process way more immediate and easeful through Theta Healing.
2) To break the addictive cycle of daydreams and happy brain chemicals,  we need to fortify other pathways to happiness in the brain. What if I could change that pathway of longing in my brain so that I have this bodily sensation around the abundance that is already in my life, about the dreams that have already come true? The more we can reinforce pathways that connect happiness with what we have, the more we can experience happiness in our present state of being. When we fortify the pathway of gratitude, creating a mind that can find happiness in what is, we don’t have to rely on getting that feeling (and the chemical components of that feeling) from the pathway of longing.

How do we do this?

  • Keep a gratitude journal – Every day, write down three things that you love about your life now.
  • Create some affirmations Say them to yourself on the daily – things that you love about yourself or your life. This will help you create new repetitive thoughts that affirm you instead of negate you.
  • Continue to listen to your thoughts. Encourage the positive, but don’t completely block out the negative. The negative thoughts are your clues to the work you still have to do.

Consider these affirmations/downloads:

  • I experience happiness and joy from my reality and my life.
  • My dreams, aspirations, inspirations are infinite.
  • I know how to live my dreams into reality.
  • I am capable, able, willing and worthy of living my dreams into reality.
Photo by Bonnie Chan

October 29, 2014

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