Maladaptive Daydreaming & Extreme Fantasizing | How to Control It

Summary: Maladaptive daydreaming is a form of dissociation, extreme fantasizing. It is usually when an individual spends more time in their mind (inner world) and neglects their outer world. Many times it is a coping mechanism for anxiety, stress, depression, etc. And, this is an excellent way of releasing those negative emotions and feeling, but just not when it becomes problematic and addicting.


Hi everyone! This video is going to be about maladaptive daydreaming and fantasizing, what it is and how to control it. Just what is maladaptive daydreaming? Well, technically it is fantasizing, dissociation and we’ve all experienced this. Thinking about something in our minds and dissociating from what is going on around us. We could be lost in thought for a few seconds, minutes, or to a severity, hours or more. This, in moderation, is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. But, like anything, it can become problematic and be abused and become an addiction. So, when does it become a problem? Well, maladaptive daydreaming is when it becomes an addiction and you are spending more time in your mind, and neglecting your outer world, such as your friends, family, school, those sorts of things.

Many times it is a coping mechanism, dissociation, perhaps for anxiety, stress, depression. And, there is nothing wrong with that in itself. As a matter of fact it’s a great ability to have and I did a video dedicated to finding your inner relaxation place if you are interested in checking that out. [Inner Relaxing Place] It’s a place you create in your mind that will allow you to release any stress and anxiety you have and just relax. That is wonderful, it’s a form of meditation, and meditation is one of the most helpful things you can do for your mind, body, and spirit. It can be a very spiritual practice and allow you to connect and understand yourself on a much deeper level. As well as make you more creative and imaginative. Developing these wonderful abilities. It could also be like a lucid dream.

So, those are the positives of this, or rather, when you have control over it and it is not taking over your life. It becomes maladaptive daydreaming or extreme fantasizing when, as I stated earlier, it makes you spend so much time in here and not out here, neglecting things that are important to you in your outer world. Coping mechanism or a way to release stress and anxiety is good, but addiction and neglect of your outer world is bad.

So, I thought I’d share some personal experience with you now of times that I have been lost in thought when it has been problematic and troubling for me. Times when it was uncontrollable. So, when I’m not actively doing something or when I get distracted from doing something, I can become absorbed in the thoughts of my mind. Mainly it’s negative thoughts, thinking and worrying about mistakes I’ve made, upcoming worries that will cause me anxiety and stress, traumatic memories.

I can become so immersed in what I am thinking that it manifests into my physical body. What I mean is, sometimes I will talk out loud what I was thinking and that catches me off guard. Other times I can imagine some physical sensation, like let’s say someone hitting me, or other abuse, and I can physically feel it on my body. Other times I can imagine something emotional and I reenact that in my mind and I can make myself get into a very different mood than I was in prior to thinking about it. And, that is quite interesting actually.

And, there is nothing wrong with actually feeling what you are thinking because that goes to show how powerful the mind is. You think of something and you can physically feel what you imagined, in all sorts of ways. So, you can use that with positive intentions to improve the quality of your life. It’s very helpful actually. What I mean is, thinking of something positive that makes you feel good about yourself, will make you actually feel those emotions and physical sensations.

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But, there are many other ways of handling this sort of behavior that I will discuss now.

Control Fantasizing

What are some ways of dealing with maladaptive daydreaming and extreme fantasizing? Well, the number one most important thing is learn to control it. But, how do you do this? Well, the first thing is to learn to recognize the behavior and want to change it. You cannot change it if you are unwilling or do not acknowledge it. You have to take that initiative first.

After you have done that, discover what is causing you to do this? Is it being triggered by something? If so, what is it and why? If something is triggering it, there is always a reason. If you are not being triggered, why else are you doing it? Is it an escape from life, a coping mechanism, perhaps an addiction? Maybe you feel more confident in the inner world which makes you want to be there more instead of your outer world. Or, maybe it’s uncontrollable for you and you don’t realize you are doing it. If that is the case, it’s usually caused by it either being triggered or a coping mechanism or addiction.

If you do not know how to control the dissociation, the best practice I give is to intentionally dissociate yourself with a positive effect so you can learn where the boundary is and how to handle it. Generally meditation and self-hypnosis can lead you to learning that skill which I highly recommend. Dedicate a place and time each day, including a timeframe, to allow yourself to become fully immersed into this fantasy to release those negative emotions and get what you want from it. Then let yourself come back.

Additionally, when you created a world to relax, that’s great. But, when it becomes an addiction it’s time to re-evaluate why you created this world. It wasn’t to live in. So, you need to get back on track as to why this world exists in the first place. Make goals for yourself.

If it’s a negative place or negative thoughts are forming causing you to physically react to those, like I described with my example when I think of trauma and I can feel it, physically and emotionally, gently shift your attention to something positive that will make you feel better physically and mentally. Think about your achievements, your goals, what you want your ideal life to be like. Shift from the negative world into a positive world. Again, don’t make it an addiction to the point where it’s all you want to do is be in that world.

For instance, if you have more confidence in your inner world which is why you spend so much time there, transfer that to your outer world. Imagine, visualize your confident self from your inner world as the person that you are every day in your outer world. Perhaps imagine in your mind two yous. The confident one that exists inside your mind, and the other one that lacks confidence that is who you are in day-to-day life. Then perhaps imagine them merging into one. So that you are confident not only in your inner world, but also in the outer world.

Technically this is hypnosis. You are hypnotizing yourself to become more confident. Which can work tremendously if you keep at it. And even better, with your imagination and dissociation abilities, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to accomplish this. Just visualize and imagine like you usually do. Use those skills since that is what will help you. It’s an excellent ability to have since you can utilize it to your advantage, in a controlled environment to hypnotize yourself, and give yourself suggestions to better your behavior.

Since dissociation occurs with hypnosis, this can really aid you since you are already quite hypnotizable. What should be noted is that those that have experienced trauma are generally more hypnotizable than those that haven’t which can make them more suggestible. So, use that ability to your advantage. It’s a trade off in a sense being highly hypnotizable. You are more prone to these sort of situations where it can be uncontrollable and you are dissociating, but once you can learn to control that ability you have, you can use it with very positive effects. So, that is how you should see it. There is nothing negative, just a trade off of something you need to learn how to utilize the ability properly.

And lastly, if you are having an issue coming back to the outer world from this fantasy, create a portal to come back. I have a portal in my personal inner relaxing place that allows me to come back to myself from a fantasy. I discussed this in my finding your inner relaxing place video which I will have a link in the description. But, imagine a portal that if you walk through it, you will wake up from this fantasy, but will possess the positive qualities you had in your daydream.

After enough attempts of waking up after going through this portal, it will become conditioned and you can manifest it when you realize that you are in this state and come back to yourself. Again, it’s about learning that boundary and taking control of it.


So essentially, fantasizing and daydreaming, perhaps even to the point of having a lucid dream, are not abnormal by any means and is something we all experience in various degrees. It can be very helpful. It’s a wonderful coping mechanism, in moderation. But, for those that are addicted or cannot control it, maladaptive daydreaming, it’s time to re-evaluate why this world exists in your mind, and discover that boundary between inner vs outer world. Allowing yourself to be the confident person in your daydream so you don’t need to escape into your inner world to be that confident person. Bring them out because it is you and you can be that person if you try.

So, feel free to share your experiences and I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

Additional Info

Maladaptive daydreaming was a relatively new concept to learn about as it was something I had never heard of. But, I found it fascinating as it was essentially intense meditation and lucid dreaming that one has become addicted to. The problem is that the addiction takes up so much time from a person’s day and people generally use it to escape problems, responsibilities, even friends and family.

Regardless, I think with the ability of creativity and imagination people have that daydream like this, they can positively change themselves by using those abilities to manifest change in their life. They can turn something negative, like this addiction, into something that will benefit them. This is something I teach to many individuals, to use what they consider negative personality traits or habits and turn them into positive ones to manifest change. This is what has helped me tremendously!

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Published: (updated: )

Mental & Physical HealthAddictionCreativityDissociationMeditation

About the Author

Autumn Asphodel
My name is Autumn Asphodel (also known as Elle Stone) and I am a motivator and coach to help others live a better life through natural means, hard work, and dedication.

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