18 Comments

  1. renee

    Reply

    Vanessa, your TED talk was so well spoken and clear! I think that the information you shared is very important, especially for a generation of people who are always on the go. One question that I have for you is, how would you personally define daydreaming? I also wanted to mention that I liked the activity you included in your presentation, I think that it really extenuated your point. Great job!

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thank you Renée! I thought that this information was important as well, which was one of my main reasons for choosing this topic for a lot of us don’t see daydreaming as important or useful.

      I personally define daydreaming as “an altered state of consciousness where your mind is not directly focused on the task at hand”. There are many definitions for daydreaming but that is my brief definition of it.

      Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging comment Renée!

  2. Kendra

    Reply

    I really enjoyed your TED Talk Vanessa, especially since I am quite a daydreamer myself. Your talk discusses how daydreaming is important in terms of creativity, but do you think there is a point where one may be daydreaming too much? Where a person could get seriously lost in a made-up, daydreamed world that they’ve created? Could extensive daydreaming cause more harm then good?

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thank you Kendra for your comment!! I daydream A LOT as well (virtual high five)

      Your question is something that i thought about as well. It is a question that has been brought up by others too. I do think that too much of anything can be a bad thing. Whether that is drinking too much water, sleeping too much, or daydreaming too much.

      A site that i came across answers/addresses this question as well (http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/why-does-daydreaming-get-such-bad-rap?page=2).
      Daydreaming too much can cause negative effects such as obsessive thinking which can cause interferences with someone’s day to day functions. A person living in their subconscious mind for too long can lead them to being delusional and may cause them difficulty with differentiating the “real world” and “dream world”. Daydreaming can also be a place to escape (as mentioned in my TED Talk) and can lead to someone isolating themselves. These are all possible outcomes/effects of EXTENSIVE daydreaming. These symptoms/effects do not happen to everyone and happen when daydreaming is taken to an extreme.

      Why i did not choose to address this in my TED Talk was because i was focusing on “casual daydreaming” or light forms of daydreaming which can help with our creative process.

      I hope that answers your question and if you have any more, feel free to ask them for i would love to hear them! Thank you again for taking the time to watch my TED Talk Kendra!

  3. aileen

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    I like how you are putting an emphasis on slowing down in a world where everyone’s hurrying and I love the examples you use with your personal connections.

    Something you said that I found really interesting in your talk is how we come up with our best ideas when we aren’t thinking about it, which feels counterintuitive. Do you have any ideas as to why this happens and why we aren’t able to go into these “unexplored places” when our minds our focused on something?

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thanks Aileen! I really strived to make my TED Talk relatable and easy to understand for this is something that relates to everyone!

      I have not done extensive research on WHY we come up with ideas best when we aren’t thinking about it. A lot of the sites i visited shared ideas but no real exact reason.

      Some ideas i have about how/why it happens is because when our minds are focused on something, we can only see that one thing and may not be fully aware/focused on everything around us. When we daydream, our mind is not fully conscious, focused, or aware of our surroundings. So instead of focusing on things outside of our mind and body, we are focusing inwards (http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-daydreaming-in-psychology-definition-disorder-quiz.html). This can lead us to “unexplored places”.

      Another thing to mention is when we daydream, it is our mind moving into an altered state of consciousness. An interesting thing i learned while researching is that our subconscious mind is a very powerful tool. It …
      1. stores all our past experiences
      2. can perform every fundamental and basic level function that our subconscious mind can perform
      3. contains the runoff of emotions
      (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150217-how-smart-is-your-subconscious)

      This shows that even though we may not be fully conscious/aware when daydreaming, we can perform these basic level functions and different parts of the brain are active (limbic system, frontal cortex, and sensory cortexes are the default network that kicks it when brain not required to focus/concentrate on task).

      I hope that answers your question! If you are still unclear or have more questions, i would be happy to try and answer!

      Thank you Aileen for your comment!

  4. Weijin

    Reply

    Really cool topic Vanessa!!

    I loved the way you started with a story, it was a great hook!

    I often find that I can’t be creative or come up with new ideas unless I am relaxed and feel calm. I’m very glad to hear that relaxing helps the mind be more creative because I love to relax!!!!! Probably a little too much for my own good…

    If you were to go deeper into this topic, what would you research next? I’m also curious as to where the content of day dreams comes from (If you happen to know)?

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thank you so much Weijin!!!
      I feel the same as well! I come up with ideas best when in a relaxed environment and it was comforting to know that science agrees with that too.

      I would research more about the subconscious mind for i feel that it plays a big role in daydreaming. I would research about WHAT people daydream about and why our brain daydreams. These are all questions that i have but didn’t fully dive into just because i wanted to have a narrower topic instead of covering a bigger one and not going as deep into it.

      That is something i am curious about as well! I think that the content of our daydreams comes from past memories and strong emotions for the limbic system, frontal cortex, and sensory cortexes are still active when the brain is not fully conscious. They say that the subconscious mind is a memory box full of past experiences and emotions so i feel as if the contents of our daydreams come from this memory box of past experiences, and it is when we daydream that we can connect our experiences and create new ideas.

      WOW your question really got me thinking and helped me realize/learn something that was sitting on the surface of my mind but didn’t fully sink until now. Thank you so much!!!

  5. maeve

    Reply

    Really good job Vanessa!
    This is a cool topic and I loved the way you used personal connections, that you connected with and that the audience could connect to; like the one about shampoo, that happens to me all the time. You speaking was calm, collected and clear.
    I would like to know more about the way the subconscious works, is there a certain part of your talk you could like to go more in depth on?

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thank you Maeve!!! Haha i have no idea how many times the shampoo example has happened to me as well. Some things are so routine that we may not have to think about it too hard to be able to do it.

      Looking back, i feel as if i could have incorporated a lot more of my research into my TED Talk. I feel as if i could have added more science instead of just personal experiences and could have been more specific for i summarized a lot of the information i collected in my TED Talk.

      They say that the subconscious mind is a memory box full of past experiences and emotions. An interesting thing i learned while researching is that our subconscious mind …
      1. stores all our past experiences
      2. can perform every fundamental and basic level function that our subconscious mind can perform
      3. contains the runoff of emotions
      (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150217-how-smart-is-your-subconscious)

      This shows that even though we may not be fully conscious/aware when daydreaming, we can perform these basic level functions and different parts of the brain are active (limbic system, frontal cortex, and sensory cortexes are the default network that kicks it when brain not required to focus/concentrate on task).

      Touching the surface of the subconscious mind in my TED Talk, I myself do not fully know/understand how the subconscious mind works for that wasn’t the main focus of my topic. Although, this is an area of research that i would like to dive deeper on.

      There are many great websites about the subconscious if you are interested!

      Thanks for your questions and comments Maeve!

  6. Reply

    Really cool topic Vanessa! I really loved how you used all the personal connections to make your TED Talk more relatable. One question I have for you is what are some of the disadvantages of day dreaming? Do you think schools should encourage day dreaming more?

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thank you Ting Ting!!!

      Your question is something that has been brought up by others too.

      Daydreaming, like anything, has it’s disadvantages. Too much of it can cause negative effects such as obsessive thinking which can cause interferences with someone’s day to day functions. A person living in their subconscious mind for too long can lead them to being delusional and may cause them difficulty with differentiating the “real world” and “dream world”. Daydreaming can also be a place to escape (as mentioned in my TED Talk) and can lead to someone isolating themselves. These are all possible outcomes/effects of EXTENSIVE daydreaming. These symptoms/effects do not happen to everyone and happen when daydreaming is taken to an extreme.

      Some of the disadvantages of daydreaming can also be the fact that our mind is somewhere else. Daydreaming can interfere with one not living in the present/moment. I know that interacting with someone who is not fully present can be difficult for the daydreamer might miss a lot of stuff that can be happening. Daydreaming might also be counterproductive for getting tasks complete. For example, if you need to finish your math homework but are constantly daydreaming, the time spent on your math might be a lot longer than if you were to just focus and not let your mind wander.

      With all that being said, there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes we cannot control when we daydream but it is still important to live in the present and focus on exterior things. But it is also important to let our minds wander for daydreaming can increase productivity as well (http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/why-does-daydreaming-get-such-bad-rap)

      I do think that day dreaming should be encouraged more for many people view it as a negative thing. But i also think that people sometimes use daydreaming as an excuse for not doing anything. There is such a thing as “productive daydreaming” and “unproductive daydreaming”. Productive daydreaming means that your mind is still aware enough to recognize insight if it does come. So i do think that daydreaming should be encouraged more but I also think that educators should emphasize the fact that daydreaming can be more than just “mindless” thinking and that daydreaming has many benefits when it comes to learning.

      I hope that answers your question! Thank you Katrina for taking the time to watch and comment!! I enjoyed answering you question for it really got me thinking and reflecting!

  7. Anika

    Reply

    Vanessa!! I loved your talk so much, and it was definitely on that kept me engaged the entire time. Now I finally have a case against my mom when she gets mad at me for daydreaming too much lolll. I think all the different aspects of connecting with your audience worked wonders, from the questions you asked, to the part where you asked us to close our eyes and imagine we are in the ocean, to the movie references; you hit everything spot on! Something I think would be interesting for you to think about is: now we know that a lot of good ideas come from when we are daydreaming. However, it is also known that many genius ideas come to us in our dreams at night as well. Do you think the two are linked in terms of the state ours brains are in while dreaming during the day & night?

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      AWW thank you so much VENKATESH!!!! Hahaha yes! One of the main reasons i did this as my TED Talk was because my family and other people say i daydream “too much” and i can finally fight for my case with science backing me up! Thank you!!! I am glad that you found it interesting and engaging for that was what i was striving for!!
      That is definitely something to research and think about. I didn’t get the chance to research night dreaming but i do think that the states of our brains while daydreaming during the day & night can be related, although i do think that there are possible differences. That is something so cool though! Thank you for asking that question for that sparked interest for me as well! Now i really want to know how they are different and similar!

      Thank you so much Anika for taking the time to watch my TED Talk! I am so glad you enjoyed it and your comment encouraged me a lot and put a huge smile on my face. Your question was so interesting and intriguing as well! This is a topic i will dive deep into sometime soon over the break!

  8. Hira

    Reply

    Vanessa, this was an absolutely amazing talk! You summarized all the material you learned so effectively, and never lost my interest for a moment. It was super interactive and felt like you had a real audience there with you! This was a very relatable talk, as I am quite the daydreamer myself. At least now I know there are some benefits haha!

    What I’d love to know more about is the concept that James Webb Young touched on in his quote, about how ideas are merely different aspects of other ideas put together. I saw this come up a lot when I was doing research for my topic as well. This is more of a philosophical/opinion based question, but I’m very intrigued to know your take on it!
    Do you believe no ideas are “truly original” anymore? Do you think our world is moving forward based on how people can piece together previous ideas and form relationships between them? Seeing links and making new connections is the bulk of what being creative is, so how do you think this translates into world changing ideas that truly do move us as humanity forward (technology, etc.)?

    GREAT job again!

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Hi Hira! Thank you so much for your thoughtful, encouraging, and inspiring comment! I am so glad you found this topic relatable and my TED Talk interactive! Me too!

      That is an awesome questions. It is something that i have been thinking about for a while. AHHH this is so hard to say.
      I don’t think anything can be completely ORIGINAL for our ideas are inspired from past experiences and things that are in our world, but i do think that everyone has some originality to them and their ideas.

      James Webb Young had 2 principles of ideas:
      1. an idea is nothing more or less than a new combination of old elements.
      2. The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships!

      I like to think of the first one like an element forming a compound. Oxygen and Hydrogen = Water. Together, these elements are combined and form a new combination. The second part of his principle comes into play when the combination/reaction occurs. To be able to link the 2 elements together, one must have seen the relationship between the two elements to form H20.

      So to answer your question, I DO think our world is moving forward based on how people can link together previous ideas, forming relationships between them. To create something new, the “elements” have to mesh together into one. It cannot be separate pieces. Instead of using chemistry, i will use music to explain.

      Individual instruments are like the elements. It each has its own purpose and structure. To form an orchestra, the instruments have to COME together. They have to relate and connect to form NEW music (symphony).

      I think that seeing relationships in the so called “unrelated” ideas truly advance humanity. If we saw science and art as 2 separate things, then i would never have thought of the idea to do this TED Talk, combining the two “unrelated” subjects. When new technology is formed or “new” things are created, a lot of the times we are taking past ideas and tweaking them. Take Apple for example- iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5…

      Making the connection/seeing the relation that taking this sound and adding it with this sound can create this is a very simple example of seeing connections. Sometimes it can be really odd and seeing the relationship between a dripping bottle of black paint and a black hole (yes, that has happened to me). So yes, I do think that seeing links and making new connections is what keeps humanity moving forward.

      AHHH I still am not sure if an idea can be TRULY original. But to say that no idea is original is also kinda harsh and does not give the creators enough recognition and credit. If you take James Webb Young’s principle and say that an idea is simply and new combination of old elements, then i would say that an idea cannot be 100% original but it is partly original for taking this sound and making a remix with another sound is NEW music. So i do think that every new idea has some originality to it for ideas are based of past knowledge, experiences, and emotions.

      I hope that answers your question (sorry it is so long)!

      Thank you so much for watching my TED Talk! I really enjoyed exploring my mind about what i think about originality and your question!

  9. nathan

    Reply

    Vanessa that was great! I loved how you used pop culture and told stories to express your ideas, it made the video more interesting as a whole. Beyond just that I also enjoyed the topic as whole, day dream to me just seemed like a great idea for a TED Talk, at one point I was considering doing it myself. Though I would like to ask, judging by what is said in the video that daydreaming is a process that helps many with finding the answer to the problem they’ve been trying to solve, is also true in the reverse? Can daydreaming often or at the wrong time lead to ill effects that may contribute to stress or anxiety? Though Vanessa in the end I would like to say thank you so much for making such a fun, engaging and interesting TED Talk!

    • Vanessa

      Reply

      Thank you so much Nathan!!!
      That is a really interesting question and is something i haven’t really thought about/considered. Kendra and Katrina asked about the negative effects of daydreaming but saying that it can lead to stress and anxiety is slightly different.

      Too much of it can cause obsessive thinking which can cause interferences with someone’s day to day functions. When someone obsessively thinks about something, that could lead to stress and anxiety if they are obsessively thinking about something that stresses them out.

      A person living in their subconscious mind for too long can lead them to being delusional and may cause them difficulty with differentiating the “real world” and “dream world”. Their “daydream world” may or may not be a pleasant place, so obsessive daydreaming or thinking stressful/anxious/dark thoughts can definitely lead to ill effects.

      Daydreaming can also be a place to escape (as mentioned in my TED Talk) and can lead to someone isolating themselves. This also means that they may visualize or imaging scenarios that may end up leading them to be more anxious/stressed (ex. if they have social anxiety and think a lot in their head and then become even more anxious).
      But then that brings me to the question of “what is the difference between just thinking and daydreaming?”

      These are all possible outcomes/effects of EXTENSIVE daydreaming. These symptoms/effects do not happen to everyone and happen when daydreaming is taken to an extreme. So i do think it is possible that daydreaming could lead to ill effects that may contribute to stress or anxiety but “light daydreaming” or the daydreaming i was talking about in my TED Talk (which is just letting your mind wander) may not cause these effects.

      Your interesting question has led me to new questions of my own now. Huh now i am really curious about “what is daydreaming” and the differences/connections between daydreaming, your subconscious mind, thinking, and night dreaming. I didn’t really go too deep into the things listed above for i really wanted to focus my TED Talk on how daydreaming helps our creative process.

      Thank you Nathan for your question and i hope i answered yours.

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