Day Dreaming: Secret Weapon Against Loneliness

Aug 17, 2015 07:00 AM EDT | By Alexis Villarias

A survey done in 2010 shows that 35% of America adults over the age of 45 are feeling lonely.  This figure is relatively bigger than the 20% three decades ago.  This doesn't only concern the mental health of Americans but it also touches the mortality as well.  A recent study has linked isolation and loneliness to threaten longevity as much as obesity.

However, a recent study has uncovered what may be a weapon to fight against loneliness.  Researchers at the University of Sheffield and University of Sussex in the United Kingdom found that "day dreaming" about loved ones may "significantly increase feelings of connection, love and belonging."

There were 143 participants, students and staff at a British University in the experiment.  They all underwent induction, where they answered several questions to gauge their level of loneliness.  Regardless of their answers, each participant was told that they were more lonely than average.  Participants were then divided in to three groups; the social daydreamers, non-social daydreamers and a control group.  Both groups of daydreamers were instructed to daydream.  The social day dreamers were asked to imagine a scenario interacting with their loved ones, any person who they have a close and positive relationship with.  The non-social daydreamers on the other hand were asked to imagine a scenario that should be just about them.  The control group just did a memory exercise.  Answers were then compared before the loneliness induction, after the induction and after the daydreaming exercise.  Researchers concluded that the daydreaming groups felt a heightened sense of social connection over the control group, notably the social daydreamers.

However, like in all studies there are constraints that should be considered to have accurate results.  One of which is the age of the participants, 23 years old, which is quite young.  Most of them are University students.  The sample group was mostly female as well, 87 out of 143.   Despite this, we cannot ignore the result that suggests daydreaming can improve our mental state.  


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