Have you ever been told that you have your 'head in the clouds' too much? Are you a daydreamer at work or school? If you are, it's perfectly OK as daydreaming is an effective tool that we should do more often according to Neuroscience Research Australia Senior Research Officer, Dr Muireann Irish.
Irish says daydreaming serves an important function for the human brain.
"We are actually having this evolutionary adaptive value to being able to just take ourselves out of the present moment, think about the past, imagine the future and even speculate as to what other people are thinking about, so it's this really type of sophisticated thinking, seems to elevate us beyond the other species and other primates"
Irish says her research has found that daydreaming provides a specific network that is lost in dementia patients.
"I think there is a misperception that we're actually being lazy and turning our brains off when we daydream but this isn't true, the research is actually pointing to the fact that when you're daydreaming, your brain is actually really hard at work...so the work that we've been doing at NeuRA in Sydney has actually shown that these brain regions are the very ones that when damage occurs to them in Alzheimer's, it stops the individuals from being able to think back on their past and daydream about their future."
Irish says daydreaming gives humans the ability to consider the thoughts and perspectives of other people.
"On a healthy level that's really important for us to socially adapt to different situations, to imagine what your colleagues are thinking, to reason as to why someone made a snappy comment but it's not about you because you can put it into a wider context."
But Irish say there is a line between healthy thinking and paranoia.
"In some psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression, there's a lot of ruminative thought, so people get trapped in sort of maladaptive forms of this type of thinking and in schizophrenia as well so there seems there are levels of how adaptive this type of thinking is."
Irish says positive self-talk is not a sign of being 'crazy'.
"A lot of us do have this internal monologue, so this voice that we sort of use to talk to ourselves, it could be a way of inspiring this sort of confidence in what we are doing or just working through things that have happened to us during the day but I think if the thoughts are again are maladaptive, negative thing, if the thoughts are telling you to do something bad, obviously that's a sign more of psychosis or something that's definitely more serious."
Irish says daydreaming can be a creative platform for some individuals.
"Some very famous people who have been known to show their creative bursts of energy in strange places are people like Woody Allen who finds being in the shower is his best mode of thinking whereas the author JK Rowling was found to have had all her ideas for Harry Potter on a very long train journey."
Irish says people should confine daydreaming to the right moment of their day.
"I think it's best to think about daydreaming, not to curve this activity but not to give it so much importance that it's really hampering a child's education or stopping them from paying attention."