The part of the brain associated with daydreaming also allows us to perform tasks on autopilot, a Cambridge University study has found, and there is hope these findings can help people with mental illnesses.
A collection of brain regions known as the ‘default mode network’ (DMN) is active when people are daydreaming or thinking about the past or future, the BBC reported, and lead author Deniz Vatansever says the DMN allows people to predict what is going to happen and reduce the need to think.
“It is essentially like an autopilot that helps us make fast decisions when we know what the rules of the environment are. So, for example, when you’re driving to work in the morning along a familiar route, the default mode network will be active, enabling us to perform our task without having to invest lots of time and energy into every decision,” he said.
He added that when the environment changes, and no longer conforms to our expectations, our brain enters a ‘manual mode’ that overrides the automatic system, or DMN activity.
The BBC said that previous research has found the DMN is more active during states of rest, and that it can behave abnormally in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).The researchers hope their findings will help those with mental health disorders – such as addiction, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders who can have automatic thought patterns that drive repeated, unpleasant behaviours.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy says clinical hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as it is a natural state of mind and an important part of everyday life.
“Whenever our mind wanders, daydreams or is focused on something, such as reading a book, driving a familiar route, watching a film we are in a state of hypnosis,” says the NCH. During a hypnosis session, an NCH therapist will use a range of different techniques to relax you, make you feel comfortable and work with you towards achieving your goal.
“After a session you may feel uplifted, lighter and very relaxed. Often change is very subtle, as your hypnotherapist will be working with your subconscious mind, and you may just notice a very positive shift in how you are feeling.”
The NCH adds that the person being treated is always in control and the session with the therapist is usually relaxing.
“It’s a lot like drifting off to sleep at night – that stage when you are not quite awake and not quite asleep – you may feel a sense of weightlessness or you may feel heaviness as all your muscles relax. Everyone experiences it differently, and your therapist will be able to reassure you and help you relax and enjoy the experience. Most people are surprised at just how relaxing it is.”
By working with the subconscious mind, hypnotherapy can help with a large range of issues from anxiety and bad habits to phobias, weight management, addictions and low self-esteem and from sexual problems to childbirth.
If you think hypnotherapy can help you, contact an NCH therapist near you by using the NCH directory. It can be a life-changing experience.