Daydreaming gets a bad rap. It’s what our minds do when we should be doing something else, when we should be being productive, when we should be checking things off the to do list…

But what if we recognized daydreaming as an essential part of creativity? What if we actually carved out time for it? What if your most brilliant idea yet is only a daydream away?

As a working creative, I’ve come to embrace my daydreaming tendencies as a powerful tool. When our minds are loose in a free flow of thought, that’s when we’re most primed for inspiration. Why do you think the best ideas always come in the shower? Or right before you fall asleep? It’s only in these moments of lucid thought that we can tap into the power of our subconscious minds.

Because creativity isn’t linear. It isn’t efficient. It’s not a process of checking things off a to do list. It’s trying things on, moving them around, discarding them, starting over. It’s not a process you can rush, but it is something you can cultivate by carving out time in your schedule to explore free thought. Scroll on for 5 ways to spark daydreams and let your mind run free.

featured photo by jenn rose smith

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Take a long bath.

No books. No magazines. Just you and your favorite scented candle. Try and soak for 15-20 minutes before bed and let your mind wander.

photo by jenn rose smith

Take a solo road trip.

Not only is road tripping an environmentally friendly way to travel (as opposed to flying), miles of open road does something good for the brain. I’ll never forget my solo road trip down the Baja peninsula and some of the deep thoughts that came to me on that drive.

photo by jess attie

Start doodling or make a collage.

Drawing and vision boarding are two of my favorite activities that put me in a relaxed, lucid state of mind. Check out our complete guide to making a great mood board here.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Go for a walk (or run) by yourself.

No phones, no friends, no strollers, no pets. Just you and pavement. Take a long stroll or jog around your neighborhood at sunset. Not only is it good exercise, it will stimulate plenty of free thoughts and ideas.

photo by ashleigh amoroso

Just sit by the beach (or pool.)

Something about being near a body of water — oceans, lakes, rivers, even pools — sets the human mind at ease. It’s the same way we can trance out staring at a campfire. It strikes something deep and primal in the human mind. When we’re near water, we’re in a safe place of life and abundance. Things can grow near water, and so will your thoughts. In fact, I write this to you now from a beach in Indonesia. I came down here with a notebook this afternoon to waste time and do a bit daydreaming, and sure enough it turned into something productive. Funny how that works.

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