I Am a Maladaptive Daydreamer | How to Control Extreme Fantasizing

October 26, 2016 | Written with Love By: Shaina Leis

We all daydream occasionally- about the boy we like, a tropical vacation or what it would be like to walk the red carpet.

But ever since I was a little girl, my “case” of daydreaming has been somewhat extreme. As I got older, it began interfering with my everyday life to the point where I completely tuned out my teachers in school or I would remain in bed longer than necessary to continue the alternate reality in my head.

Pretty recently, after catching myself gesturing and talking out loud to a daydream, I decided to do some research. After all, I could not be alone in this! Could I?

That’s when I came across the term, “maladaptive daydreaming.” And low and behold, I checked off every symptom.

It’s not a mental disorder of any sort- and in fact, it’s not considered a disorder at all. But, it is becoming more recognized.

So today, I just wanted to SHARE some quick information about “maladaptive daydreaming” and my quick tips on how to manage this behavior.

To WATCH this week’s video, “I Am A Maladaptive Daydreamer! How to Control Extreme Fantasizing,” click the image below.

with gratitude and much love,



I’m Shaina, and I am a maladaptive daydreamer.

Hello internet! Yes, my name is Shaina and yes I am actually (and literally) what’s known as a maladaptive daydreamer.

In just a second, I’m going to tell you what that is if you’re unaware, but I just want to say Hi, welcome back if you’re a regular on my channel and if this is your first time, it’s nice to meet you.

It’s storytime, let’s gooooooo.


Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a daydreamer. Not sure if you know this, but as children, we all have our own ways to cope with stressful situations…some kids draw, I would daydream.

It was a way for me to escape my reality (when I wasn’t completely happy with it) and instead create my own ideal reality in my mind and live there.

I would say my daydreaming reached an all time high in high school. From the outside, it looked like I was paying attention in class, I was getting good grades so it wasn’t anything that like my teachers or parents noticed.

It continued throughout college and into my twenties, until very recently I came across the term, “maladaptive daydreaming.” As I was reading the symptoms, I was checking each one off and in my gut, I knew…BINGO!

So what is maladaptive daydreaming?
In a basic sense, it’s an excessive form of daydreaming. I’m going to put the symptoms down below, but it’s such an extreme form of fantasizing that it tends to interfere with your normal everyday.

For example, you don’t pay attention in class, it takes longer to fall asleep due to daydreaming or you stay in bed longer (in the morning), to continue daydreaming…it’s an addiction. It’s a way to escape pain and stress, the same way that alcohol or drugs are used.

Sometimes you may even talk, laugh and gesture as you daydream. That’s the point that I was like “OK, I need to google this shit.” Am I crazy person?

But here’s the difference between a mental health issuue, psychotics or schizophrenics- maladaptive daydreamers know the difference between a daydream and reality. There are NO blurred lines here and I can attest to that.

It’s not even categorized as a disorder of any sort, but it’s becoming more recognized.

So today, I just wanted to share this…because as satisfying as it is to daydream in the moment, and although it’s not a dangerous habit, it’s not in a sense healthy in terms of living your best life.

I’m definitely not an expert (or a doctor) in terms of how to control it, but I do want to share 3 tips that have helped me.

1.) Understanding the importance of the present moment. Once I started reading self help books, and learning about the power of now, and getting out of your head and into your life, I was like, “I need to knock it off.”

The ability to clearly visualize my goals and dreams is useful, but daydreaming about me and my ideal man in a scene from the Notebook is not so useful. And I use that as an example because common triggers are movies, music, books and so on.

Once I realized that my fantasizing was not getting me any closer to where I wanted to go (or at least not any faster), it was CLEAR to me that I had to try to stop once and for all.

Educate yourself on the disadvantages of maladaptive daydreaming so that it motivates you to make some changes.

2.) Take action and remain conscious.

Habits are hard to break so this is by no means easy, but the more you catch your mind drifting and remind yourself to NOT go there, the weaker that habit becomes. It’s an everyday muscle that needs to be worked out.

with that being said…

3.) Choose a time of day to allow your mind to wander.

Quitting any habit cold turkey can sometimes backfire, so I’m an advocate for choosing a time of day to allow your self to daydream.

I’d recommend not choosing CLASS or work to be your “freebie.” For obvious reasons and because they’re lengthier periods of time.

4.) Meditate

It’s a great way to practice being in the present moment and get a handle on when your mind wanders.

That’s what I’ve got for you guys. I’d be really interested to hear if any of you watching this can relate to this and/ or found these tips helpful. Please comment down below, like this video and remember to SUBSCRIBE for a new, FREE video every week. Thanks so much for watching. Bye.


Hi there! I'm Shaina Leis- founder of this inspirational space :) I'm a Certified Life Coach with a passion for helping young adults better themselves and their lives. In this blog, you'll find general advice, career guidance and so much more. Have fun!