Idle daydreaming or soft fascination?

Image by Amit Dey from Pixabay

Did you ever get told off at school for staring out of the window and accused of being a day dreamer?  Like a lot of things in recent years, daydreaming has now been relabelled “soft fascination”.  It’s the art of softly focussing on something, like the trees bending in the wind, that can invigorate your brain and boost wellbeing. So says Heidi Scrimgeour in Psychologies Magazine. Activities requiring periods of intense focus can have a negative impact on wellbeing and performance, whereas those that soften your attention can have beneficial effects.

It is important to have a balance between being switched on and being receptive to slowing down.  If we were focussed, goal setting, planning and doing all the time this would lead to stress and fatigue.  Enabling our soft focus provides a place of trust, renewal and rest.

Soft fascination, diffused thinking, or daydreaming, whatever you want to call it, is important as how well our brain functions is linked to the quality of our work.  The article suggested that time spent outdoors stimulates the kind of attention that is good for us, can help us concentrate better. 

Problems that seem insurmountable can be put into perspective by watching a raindrop sliding down a window or watching waves at the seashore wash in and out.  But you don’t have to travel far, or even get out into nature if that’s not your thing. Drifting away whilst staring at the bottom of a coffee cup at your local pitstop has the same effect.    Letting your mind wander creates opportunities for ideas and reflection that don’t always come when you’re sat at your desk in a busy office.  Its about giving yourself permission to pause, allowing space for new ideas, solutions and opportunities to come into your life.

Ruth Thomson shared three ways to create soft fascination in your life:

  1. Rethink the idea of work – a walk in nature, a mindfulness session or relaxing in the bathtub is work too.  Your brain is still working for you and ideas will start popping into your head;
  2. Recognise the benefits – going for a mindful walk or other mindful moments have scientific evidence in making you feel better.
  3. Find your soft activity – it may be swimming, walking through the woods, meditating.  Find an activity that works for you and embrace it.

You are not a machine, and your mind needs to rest too.  However, there’s a difference between switching off and relaxing.  Allowing your mind to wander is vital to counterbalance time spend doing things that lead to attention fatigue.    Soft fascination comes from a “place of loving kindness, compassion and wisdom “says Karin Peeters. Soft fascination can bring us efficiency without wasting time, resources or energy through intuition and alignment with heart and soul.

What have you been finding soft fascination in lately?


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