High school can be really stressful -- to say the least. Our weekly "Hey, It's OK!" series is here to remind you of all things you SHOULDN'T be worried about, no matter who tells you otherwise!
Daydreamers often get a bad rap: If you're prone to have your head in the clouds rather than your two feet on the ground, there's a good chance that you've gotten flack from teachers, parents and friends for being a space cadet. But we think -- and scientific studies prove -- that a wandering mind is actually a pretty great thing to have. Scroll through the list below for five reasons it's OK to be a daydreamer.
1. It's a sign of creativity.
Neuroscientific research has supported the notion that artists and other creative types often have their head in the clouds, as daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
2. Daydreams can lead to epiphanies.
A 2012 study found that a wandering mind can sometimes wander into brilliant ideas and sudden realizations, because daydream actually involves a very active mind. Researchers found that daydreaming is correlated with the working memory, which has to do with recalling information in the face of distractions.
3. Daydreaming promotes self-knowledge.
Taking the time to explore and discover your inner world through night and day dreaming is a great opportunity to get to know yourself better. Scientists have found that daydreamers tend to have a more active brain network, which involves self-representations, autobiographical memory, perspective and imagination.
4. Daydreamers are super smart.
The same study found that daydreamers' minds drift into the clouds because they actually have too much extra capacity to merely focus on the task in front of them and nothing else.
5. Some of the most visionary minds in history were absent minds.
The root of the absent-minded professor stereotype lies in the truth that many highly intelligent individuals are prone to daydreaming. Influential historical figures such as Sir Isaac Newton and Leonardo Da Vinci -- whose scientific innovations and art changed the world -- were known to be a little on the spacey side. And based on what we now know about daydreaming, that quality actually may have played a central role in their discoveries.
Tell us: Are you a daydreamer? Share your story in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTeen.
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It Can Boost Your Creativity
Clearing out distractions and allowing time for reflective thought is a great way to tap into your creativity. <a href="http://zenhabits.net/creative-habit/">Being alone with your thoughts</a> is oftentimes a prerequisite for the kind of outside-the-box that's necessary for artistic expression.
It Can Alleviate Depression
Although loneliness can be a contributing cause of depression, <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1131927?uid=3739936&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21101521304683">studies have found </a>that time spent in solitude can actually ward off depression in adolescents. A 1997 study found that although teens didn't describe solitude as a positive experience, many reported increased feelings of well-being afterwards.
It's A Chance To Slow Down & Recharge
When you're away from people, technology, work and the myriad distractions of everyday life, you can finally take time to breathe and just be. Use your alone time as a chance to clear out your cluttered mind and just get back in touch with yourself.
It Allows You To Reflect
It's tough to stop and take stock when you're constantly on the go and spending time with friends, family or classmates. Taking a little "me" time gives you an opportunity to get away from distractions for long enough to reflect on your relationships and the course of your life so that you can determine what changes, if any, you may want to make.
You Can Actually Have Fun By Yourself
Once you become more comfortable with the idea of being alone, doing activities like shopping, seeing a movie, or hiking by yourself can actually be enjoyable. You can do whatever<em> you </em>want without having to adhere to anyone's preferences, schedule or expectations. You might discover that spending at least one afternoon or evening per week on your own doing something you love can be totally relaxing and liberating.
It Can Boost Your Self-Esteem
Learning to enjoy the time you spend alone can help you to build a better relationship with yourself. Voluntary solitude is a great way to get back in touch with your feelings and remember all the things that make you awesome. If you want to feel more confident and self-sufficient, first tackle your fear of being alone.
It Can Improve Memory & Focus
Time spent in solitary reflection has been linked to <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201201/6-reasons-you-should-spend-more-time-alone">improved concentration</a>, as well as higher levels of academic performance. In their book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," authors and sociology professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa <a href="http://www.bucknell.edu/x67495.xml">find that students who study alone</a> are more apt to succeed and retain knowledge than those who study in groups.