http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/business/another-theory-on-why-ba...

Apparently, for people who don't feel much connection to their "future self" (that is, they have a hard time imagining themselves in the future) the parts of their brain that are active when thinking about their future self are the parts associated with thinking about other people. Meaning their future self is seen as another person, not them.

"Ignoring the needs of our future self is one way we create problems for our present self. Another way is by dumping all the issues we don’t want to deal with now on the mythical future self who’s somehow going to be more patient, more organized, more restrained — more everything we’re not now."

Sound familiar to any MD'ers here? I had theorized that daydreams are like a false prediction, imagining a false future, this kind of reinforces that idea. If you go by what the study is showing it also would explain how daydreams alleviate the discomfort of fear. We daydream up this future self and then attach to it the idea that it is somehow capable of dealing with all the problems we're not.

In other words, by daydreaming in this manner we are somehow assuring ourselves that our fears will be resolved in the future by this other self which in turn gives us a false sense of security and allows us to feel content not acting on the fear now.

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It might also be that those that do have a strong connection to their future self are the ones who are addressing their fears (for example, about not having enough money to retire on in the future) and this drives them to act in the present.

Those that don't have the strong connection to their future self likely lack that connection because they don't want to face the fear, so they disassociate with their future self as a means to pass the responsibility and avoid having to think about the fear. It has been my experience that most people who lack future planning also have unrealistic ideas about what their future will be like (somehow they are going to have a successful rap career and take care of everything even though they've got no rapping skill and never bothered to learn any). Their future plans are halfhearted and almost pure fiction.

I bet most people in this group are prone to daydreaming (perhaps not all of them compulsively, though). When faced with a fear they create a fictional future self (or some other character or avatar that represents themselves) that somehow will resolve the fear for them. Though the contents of daydreams can be pretty fantastical, the actual events are pretty well grounded in realistic feelings. The difference between Superman stopping a crime and a common man stopping a crime is the actions, the intent and purpose are still very much the same.

Hmm...I like the way you put it. By the "reversing technique" you suggeested recently, I realized that in my DDs I'm the exact reverse of what I have been in the past. In them I'm never weak, stupid, or living a boring life. And things are really as I see them, so I can always find a solution. 

Perhaps that's why my MD is tolerable lately, as I've grown a pair and started to fight for my dreams. 

...at least I've gotten rid of the "living a boring life" part :p

You hit this right on the mark. I cannot see my future self at all; instead, I see a "fantasy other person" that will never exist in real life. Actually, I'm not sure what I should do for the future. I imagine myself going into the IT field, but I'm not sure if I will make it as a programmer or systems analyst because I have no professional training on programming. I also thought about withdrawing from this world and joining a monastery. I'm not sure which is the path I should choose.


I used to be so certain about my future. When I first entered college, I thought I could enter the medical field, but I didn't have the grades nor the passion nor the people skills. So, I started exploring different career fields. My future is like a cloudy crystal ball that changes so constantly.

One thing I've been doing lately that is producing some pretty interesting results is trying to daydream about something that I am just about to do. For example, each morning I set my coffee cup on the counter next to the coffee pot and before I go about pouring and taking a sip I try to daydream myself doing that very thing (as detailed and as close to reality as I possibly can). Basically I am making very near-future predictions, but I notice I am getting better at doing so.

I am not sure where it will lead just yet, but my guess and hope is to slowly but surely extend these predictions farther and farther until I am to the point where I am developing very realistic thoughts about the future. I don't want to stretch my predictions too far out, I don't want to be so far removed from the present that I blindside myself with futures that never happen, but it'd be useful to clearly visualize a plan of action that happens over the course of days.

That sounds like an interesting experiment :D

so are you saying that if you actually become this fantasy person in reality, then your md will go away? cause it makes sense that you want to be this future person so if you become this future person, you will have accomplished a great, great goal. 

if you are saying that i agree 

but i would say that even when you accomplish your life's greatest goal, there will be many more great life goals. however, you will feel better about yourself for completing that one great goal and you will have more happy daydreams and daydream about one less thing. this won't stop your md, it will just make daydreaming not depressing.

im at the point in my life where i almost daydream in everything i do. even while working in a resturant, i will be daydreaming while making food lol. it would take like a big rush to get me to concentrate at my fullest extent. or i will be watching a movie and daydreaming, but if its a really good movie then i won't daydream. so to stop md, i would have to always be working at busy hours or playing hockey, keeping super busy 24/7. and this is obviously impossible there are times when we must rest and when we aren't doing anything that we find interesting or that keeps us concentrated to the fullest, we tend to daydream. therefore, it is almost impossible to stop md 

but if you accomplish your greatest life goal, you won't feel bad about being a mder. cause that means you accomplished something great and that means you can accomplish many more life feats. while daydreaming. 

I think a "life's goal" is a fool's errand because life changes constantly. How can you survive if you don't adapt to the changes in your life? In that regard I think you should always stay true to the goals that are relevant to you at the moment and be ready to let go of the ones that no longer suit your life. I mean if a goal still feels important to you 10 years later by all means keep at it, but to continue grinding away at a goal that has lost its meaning just because you're afraid to "lose" all the time you "invested" into it, that is pretty detrimental. Time is not a score you keep, it is passing moments.

That said, the goal of what I am trying to accomplish in the post before yours is not to eliminate fictional daydreaming or MD or such, rather it is to get better at using daydreaming as a planning device. To daydream about my immediate future and explore some of the possible actions I could take in a given situation. This is useful because fear often leads us to believe we are trapped in a situation, in exploring other approaches I can challenge my beliefs about the fear and find better ways to respond to difficult situations.

Before I can do all that, though, I need to get better at just realistically imagining situations that are likely to happen. That is what I a currently working on.

This is interesting to consider. I always thought that constantly fantasizing about the future meant that I was better able to relate to my future self than I was to my current/normal self.

Lauren-That's not far from the truth, if you ask me. Thinking on how you would want your future shows you what you would be more comfortable with. Only...we sometimes just dream through the future, because we're afraid to risk living it, and give reality the chance to turn our dream into something ugly. Maybe we're all closet perfectionists? :p

Gina, I agree. I think part of the reason that I am feeling much worse lately is because I'm now the age I used to fantasize about being. I'm realizing that time is limited and I may never achieve those dreams if all I do is keep dreaming.

The best thing you can do, I think, is look at where you are and from there pick a good direction and take one small step in that direction. It might not be going exactly where you dreamed you'd end up but it is at least momentum of some kind. You can always change your direction at any point, so it would be better to focus on what you want now rather than what you wanted in the past or what you think you might want in the future.

You, in this very moment you are in, is who you are. Who you were is already gone and who you will be doesn't actually exist. Stay focused on who you are.

Well, I am also at the age I fantasized about. That's the reason I just started fighting my MD. I don't want to wake up one day and see in the mirror an old, lonely hag that has dreamed her life away. Sacrificing my dreamwalks is certainly worth avoiding that!

It's as if I'm a butterfly in a cocoon. When it all started I was a child, and wrapped myself in the MD cocoon to protect me from everything that tried to change me-or crush my spirit. And it worked. Now that kid is waking up from a loooong daydream, unweaving the cocoon is a hard work though (People always think I'm younger, usually 6-7 yrs younger, about as long as my "heavy DD period". Funny, isn't it?)

Another interesting thing... I'm starting to realize what I want from life, but I also get flashbacks of wanting the very same things before getting wrapped in MD. And flashbacks of situations pushing me to wait for being the person I wanted to be. In the surface I became empty and weak, but in the end it looks like I were just really stubborn! It's only today I realized this (Because of massive flashbacks, mainly!)

I believe that getting out of MD won't hinder my imagination, as I remember being creative all my life. It just won't be overactive anymore. I'm discovering new things every day, maybe I should start blogging this? XD


Lauren W. said:

Gina, I agree. I think part of the reason that I am feeling much worse lately is because I'm now the age I used to fantasize about being. I'm realizing that time is limited and I may never achieve those dreams if all I do is keep dreaming.

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