What’s the difference between visualization and daydreaming? As it turns out, quite a bit. Visualization is an important tool that helps you fine tune your vibration so you can deliberately receive what you actually want. While daydreaming serves a different, but also important purpose. A happy shiny puppy (or fully empowered human) will know how to use both appropriately.

Which is exactly why I clearly define the difference in today’s video.


Awesome Caroline’s burning question: “I’ve recently become more aware of the (fairly profound!) difference between visualization and day dreaming. I love day dreaming. Sometimes I take myself off to far off lands for an adventure, or fantasize about what I would do if I won the lottery, or occasionally what life would be like if I had a hot body, or that if guy I’ve been crushing on decided he would like nothing better than to sweep me off my feet.

I used to think that this was ‘visualizing’ and assumed that I was no good at it as none of these things have yet to happen.

Would you be able to talk a little bit about the difference? And if day dreaming is useful at all or if can in fact be destructive?”

Well, Awesome Caroline, Thank you, so much for your amazing question. I am more than happy to talk about the difference between visualizing and daydreaming.

So, let’s start off by defining what visualization and daydreaming actually are. And, you know, many of us are guilty, including me, of using it synonymously. But, as your question points out, it actually isn’t synonymous. And, here’s why I have used it synonymously sometimes, in the past.

Daydreaming and visualizing is not the same thing

Because, people who are using visualization, often work way too hard at it. They turn it into some really bad feeling exercise. They really hunker down, and they’re going to beat this thing, and they’re going to visualize. And so, for them, I often kind of say, think about it more like daydreaming and fantasizing. It should feel good. Because, otherwise, you’re not really using it for its intended purpose. But, if we’re going to be really, really honest, and we’re going to get into semantics here, daydreaming and visualizing are not actually the same thing.

So, visualizing is an important tool of creation. The way I see visualizing is this: If you turn on your television, your television has the ability to take the signal, that’s broadcast, the broadcast signal, and turn it into a visual representation that you can see. Right? Before that, you don’t see anything; It’s not physical. It’s just energy waves floating about. But, your television takes those energy waves and turns them into an actual picture. So that you can view it, you can interact with it; and with sound, oh my God. And color, nowadays. My goodness; we’ve come a long way. But, visualizing is like your television set, in your brain. What you can do with visualization is; you can take the energy, the frequency of your vibration on a topic, and you can actually see. You can have it represented to you, in a visual way; including, with sound, and music, and anything else; sensations, it’s not just visual.

When visualizing doesn’t feel good

So, turning it into a 3-dimensional experience, or an immersive virtual reality experience, that represents that frequency. So, something that you can interact with; something that you can see. If you let your visualization run rampant, or your imagination, your visualization uses your imagination, which is another important creation tool. If you let your imagination run wild on a topic, it will often show you some of your fears, some of the pieces of resistance, or just some of your beliefs. For example, you might fantasize about being with that hot guy, you mentioned. And suddenly, he turns into a bit of dick. And, why would that happen? Because, maybe you have a belief in there, that guys that are that hot can’t possible also be nice. And then, you could work on that. And, you can actually use visualization; you can change the visualization to change the energy. There are definitely ways to do that.

Why daydreaming is different from visualizing

When you’re daydreaming; usually what you’re doing is, you’re using it as a form of escape. So, visualizing is a tool; you work it. Hopefully, if you’re doing it correctly, it can be a powerful tool to help you fine tune or change your energy, or to just ferret out some information. Now, daydreaming usually isn’t like that at all. What you’re doing with daydreaming is; you’re usually distracting yourself.

So, you’re in a situation at work, or at school; or whatever.  You’re bored, or it’s uncomfortable, and you just check out, and go off into a different area. With daydreaming, a lot of the time, we’re in real fantasy land, which means, it absolutely is not real to us. So, in a daydream, the guy that you’re fantasizing about, probably won’t turn into a dick. But, the problem is, you’re not really translating the energy of what’s there; you’re just, sort of like, la-di-dah; that’s nice. But, it’s out there, in the ether, it’s not close enough to you to actually create, you’re not actually having an interaction with your energy, and it’s not a representation of your energy. Nor, can you shift energy by changing it, because, it’s too far removed.

I’ll give you an example: I was working with a young man, a few years ago, who said well… I said, “What do you fantasize about? What do you daydream about? What do you visualize when you’re thinking about being with a woman? He wanted help to have a relationship with a woman. And, he said – Well, his ideal woman, I believe, was Wonder Woman. I could be wrong about that, but it was a superhero. So, let’s say Wonder Woman. Totally understandable because she’s hot as hell, and she’s sexy; right? And, it felt good to him. So, he’s like, “Well, it feels good, so, I’m doing it right; right?” And, we checked in with it, and it was a daydream, it was a fantasy; he hadn’t made it real.

And, here’s how we made it real. We brought it closer to him. This is how we see this, Wonder Woman’s out here; we brought it closer to him, and turned her into a real woman, that he could meet in his actual life. And, that brought up, all the fear. That was a little bit, too close; it brought up tons of fear. Wonder Woman, a little bit too far out. Not engaging with the energy, at all. So, we had to find something in between. That felt like we were really engaging; it felt really good. Maybe, it felt a little bit scary good, but brought it right to the edge to where we could work with it. You don’t have to traumatize yourself and bring up all the fear at once.

So, we took it from a daydream, from a fantasy, and brought it into a visualization. This is where I would see the difference. It’s different degrees of the same thing, really. But, it’s just, how close do you get to where you currently are; how close do you get to your fears.

When distracting yourself feels better

Now, can daydreaming be beneficial? Absolutely! Distraction can be beneficial if you are deliberately distracting. Meaning, that you’re getting the actual benefit, of the feeling better. So, if you’re in a situation where you’re not feeling great, and a little bit of daydreaming helps you feel better. Or, a little bit of Netflix, or a little bit of computer games, or a little bit of reading romance novels; or whatever, you use to distract yourself. If you are doing it consciously and deliberately, then you’re getting the full benefit of feeling better. It is, actually, not the same as denial, where you’re ignoring what’s going on, and you’re just pretending to feel better. You’re not ignoring what’s going on, you’re just saying, “This does not feel good, right now. I fully acknowledge that. I see it; I’m not ignoring it. But, I’m going to go over here, and help myself feel better. I’m going to raise my vibration; I’m going to get into a better state, so that then, I can take a look at this thing again from a higher vibration. So that, I can try to pull it up instead of trying to push it up from below.”

Whereas, with non-beneficial daydreaming, you’re just daydreaming, getting to feel better, but you’re not, necessarily doing any kind of work, to shift anything. You’re not really shifting energy in daydreaming, you’re just raising yourself on a different topic. To a higher vibration. A topic that already feels good.

Bottom Line

So, if you do nothing, but daydream, you’re not going to really raise your vibration, significantly. It will benefit you slightly, but you’re not going to raise your vibration significantly. Because, again, it’s so far out. So, you’re not going to get the same benefit of visualizing something that is a little bit closer. So, again, the difference between daydreaming and visualizing is just how close it is to you; how real it is to you.

So, I hope that I’ve cleared that up, and haven’t confused anybody any further. A little bit of a technical explanation there, but hopefully, that has cleared it up for you, and given you an insight into what is beneficial. So, go ahead and fantasize; go ahead and daydream, but just bring it a little bit closer in, if you want to visualize. But, don’t turn visualizing into super hard work either. If it becomes too hard, move it out a little bit, towards the daydreaming. Let it be a little bit more fun; let it be easy and joyful for you.

Ok! So, until next week; I want to send you smooshy, smooshy, happy shiny puppy hugs, and I want to thank you, from the bottom of heart, for bringing your light to this world. Bye.

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  • “You don’t have to traumatize yourself and bring up all the fear at once.”

    Thank you for this reminder. You’re awesome, Melody.

  • Can anyone clear this up for me ?
    we get an neg emotion or feeling and that tells us we are focussing on something we dont want. THE MESSENGER emotion.
    So when we are visualising we are focussing on an image of what we want , to create the ‘feeling’ , to then attract the new reality that will lead to us being in a situation that will allow us to actually feel this way. COOL. However when visualising we can hit resistance that will bring up emotions or feelings in the way of us manifesting this and so we work with these via feeling it, breathe, observation, beliefs, etc.
    HOWEVER, what happens if whilst in the process of visualising we keep getting pulled back into the story and vision of the thing we dont want and that somehow by trying to connect with what we do want it just brings up more images of what we dont want. HENCE we then get all the messenger emotions tover again that arise with the fact we are focussing on the ‘unwanted’.
    I seem to get stuck in this loop where the ‘wanted’ vision brings up emotion about the ‘unwanted’ and before i know it i am back in that reaction.
    So my question is .. are they the same thing ?? the stuff that comes up due to resistance when focussing on the wanted and the stuff that comes up in the first place to highlight we are focussing on the unwanted.
    Do we work with this in the same way (resistance to wanted and emotions about the unwanted) or if by working with the emotion that arises in relation to the unwanted and clearing that – are we not then actually clearing the resistance to manifesting more of this unwanted instead !
    Not sure if the nuance of what i am asking is clear ?

    • Yes Ann, it’s the same thing! It’s the resistance. 🙂
      And it comes up when you focus on what you want because it directly contradicts the frequency of what you want.
      When it comes up, you can notice it and release it (through various techniques).

      By noticing it, even by bringing it up, you’re not creating more of it. It’s already creating. That’s a bit like saying that if you notice a rash, you’re creating it. You’re not. Or that you shouldn’t detox, because it brings out toxins that cause a rash. The rash is showing you what’s already there, so you can get it out. The negative emotions are doing the same.

      I hope that helps. <3

      • Thanks –
        so if we think of blue and feel fear we know that blue is ‘unwanted’
        so we visualise pink to attract a feeling of ‘calm’
        but everytime we try to visualise pink we are drawn back to seeing only the blue and so the fear gets more and more (message ‘ unwanted’ and resistance).
        So, in this scenerio the fear that arises at the continual reappearance of the ‘blue’ that arises as a result of trying to visualise the pink is actually the resistance and the more we clear this the easier it will be to visualise the pink with out the blue screaming back in our face and sabotaging the nice pink picture and so reality will start to change.
        Although other layers of resistance may also show up alongside this original fear from the unwanted focus.
        ok – think i am ‘getting it’ – thanks for your patience and explanations and come to think of it every blimen word you have ever written or spoken on this life saving website !!

  • I find this a bit depressing! I often go to places that feel amazing to me; a beautiful house, winning money, having a beautiful horse. So those are daydreams and couldn’t come true because my reality isn’t particularly close to those things? Well that sucks. So it doesn’t matter if you’re experiencing positive emotion? Those things/or similar feeling things won’t happen anyway? I get that your resistance will show up in your mind if you have any…but if you don’t, you’re just daydreaming? So confused.

    • Hey Natalie,
      I never said that your daydreams can’t come true or that they’re a waste of time. Of course it matters if you’re experiencing positive emotion. What you’re focusing on is always just a representation of what you want, and something that feels like it can definitely manifest. The key is to be aware of how you’re feeling, and to make sure that you’re not just using a daydream as a distraction WHILE THINKING THAT YOU’RE SHIFTING ENERGY and ignoring how you’re truly feeling in that moment. There’s nothing wrong with distracting, but if you’re not getting much energy going, you’re not going to manifest much difference.
      If you are already aware of how you feel, if you’re paying attention and using distraction deliberately, if you can discern the difference between how it feels to distract (relief) and attuning your energy to what you want (exciting, sometimes scary, can bring up resistance, energy changes, makes your heart sing), then you’ve already embodied what this video teaches.
      Does that help a bit?

      • Hi,
        that confuses me now as you often say to raise the vibration then reach for something that brings ‘relief’ and that this relief is a sign that you have shifted from a lower to a higher place on the ladder. Here, its sounds as if you are saying that ‘relief’ is distraction and not concious energy work / manifestation. So is it that you mean IF you are in a place where all you can do is shift to a place of ‘relief’ then this is ok because ‘relief’ is better than where you were lower on the ladder and so is a good step towards the place where there is more ability to visualise on what is wanted or more clarity.

  • I second Pamela’s Q! I think there’s something basic I am not getting here. Say that you have a dream that you’ll play in the NFL, this really excites you. But you’re 65 and it’s probably not going to happen. (Or you have a dream that you’ll date Wonder Woman, but WW isn’t “real” in our reality.) So when you try to visualize about it in more than a daydreamy way, you get a lot of “this can’t ever happen” static. How would you use visualization to bridge that gap? Would you think “Okay, Wonder Woman has the following traits that really ring my bells, now I’ll visualize meeting a strong, powerful, beautiful woman who is a leader in her field and does MMA in her spare time”? Would you think “Okay, what is exciting me, emotionally, about the idea of playing in the NFL” and try to build a visualization around those elements, but one that feels realistic to you?

    I’m personally stuck here, I think. I’m creatively blocked. After reading this, I felt excited and thought, hey, of course, I could sculpt my creative flow into being by visualizing myself being in the flow. But when I try to do it, I almost immediately get a case of the “yeah buts”. From there, I think I don’t understand how to, as I think you say in your book, pluck them out and negate them. I don’t think I understand how to bridge the gap between what I can believe could happen and what feels good to imagine.

    • Hey Cordy,
      So a lot of this really comes down to what’s happening in your energy as you do it. It all comes down to if the FEELING is real to you. And the more real the feeling is to you, the close you are to it. You can certainly use representations of your desires that aren’t realistic – to start. You can activate the energy of what you want. But if you’re actually activating it, that energy flow will create movement. And something will happen. You’ll feel better. You’ll see the progression of manifestation unfold. And, often, resistance will show up (the yeah… buts).
      So, when that happens, you acknowledge it. You acknowledge how it feels. And then you can negate that in a way that actually feels better. So, for example, you see yourself playing in the NFL, and it feels truly good. But then you hear “But that’ll never happen”, and so you can try positive what if questions: “What if it does?” Now, if you can’t truly believe that you could still play for the NFL, then I’d back up and look at what feels so good about this vision. Refine what you truly want. And then focus on that and see if you can’t accept the possibility that something that feels like that could happen. You either have to refine what you want until it feels real and possible to you, or you have to release the belief that it can’t happen.

      Bottom line, if what you’re doing is working for you, keep doing it. If it isn’t working, then this blog post might give you an insight into why not…

      Make sense? 🙂

  • Wait…I am still very confused on this.
    Taking the client’s Wonder Woman example, let’s say there is a celebrity you have a crush on and some of his attributes (or how you imagine his attributes to be) and physical qualities are ones you’d like to manifest in a soulmate/partner. Just how am I supposed to “bring that closer”…I honestly didn’t think there was a difference between daydreaming and visualizing, to tell you the truth. If I can really feel the experience and my heart rate goes up, how is that daydreaming???

    • Hey Pamela,
      Ok, so “bringing it closer” refers to making it more real for yourself. In the Wonder Woman example, the idea of Wonder Woman felt great to my client. But it wasn’t “real”. He couldn’t actually imagine himself, as he was, meeting someone like Wonder Woman. In fact, if he’d met even the actress in real life, he would’ve fallen to pieces. It wasn’t real to him. When we made it a bit more real, when we started to imagine him, as he was, meeting a woman, ANY woman he found attractive, it brought up a bunch of fear that we could then work through and release.

      So, if you’re not sure if you’re visualizing, check for “realness”, to see if you’ve gone into fantasy land. Are you the same as you are right now, or have you changed yourself in some way so that you can fit into this fantasy? This doesn’t mean you can’t use celebrities for inspiration, but it’s important that you can actually get into a scenario that you believe could actually happen. To you. Now.

      Does that help? <3

      • Hi Melody,
        Thanks for the reply and the clarification. I guess that makes sense…if something isn’t believable, then it’s not going to happen. Mine is believable to me and as a matter of fact, this is funny but I was in my bank this morning and the huge windows behind the tellers look out onto a street that runs past the side of the bank. A line of cars was stopped waiting for the light to change, and I saw a guy waiting in one that looked exactly like my celebrity crush. And I’ve seen other men that remind me of him. Keep in mind, this crush is a really obscure German actor that not too many Americans have heard of. He happens to look great with a beard and this guy had a beard, too. So I guess maybe a good next step for me would be visualizing having an engaging conversation with such a man and me being completely comfortable in his presence. By the way, my soulmate does not have to look like this guy or anything like that; it’s more of a “nice to have” quality but obviously is not the most important one! Thanks again for taking the time to respond…love your site and YouTube channel. 🙂

  • Thanks Caroline for asking this question and thank you Melody for making a video on it . I had been pretty much Confused too when my visualisations used to turn into daydreaming and then I used to be so hard on myself to get it back . At the end nothing productive came out of it Apart from a huge feeling of guilt of having wasted my time and also the tryin to make it happen mode got triggered even harder . Ur explanation comes handy to me now and would serve myself whenever I see my visuals going astray with too far removed things . I used to daydream a lot earlier and that had positive consequences quite many times . Now daydreaming seems not only far removed but it’ has become more about going extreme in it and when I tried to ferret it out I realised those emotional extremes like getting angry, etc in my visuals it felt like they made me look more cool in front of people and as if I have an authority . Does this tie down to
    Control issues ? Also does delusion and daydreaming mean the same?
    In my visuals I had more of intense emotions like laughing too much , trying to talk something worth a million in front of an important person etc . Are all these tried to lack of control over ones goals ,? If so how can I bring them to subtlety,?

    • Hey Chaitrali,
      The difference between daydreaming and delusion is whether or not you’re doing it deliberately, and whether or not you’re aware that you’re doing it. Daydreaming is an escape. It can soothe us. It can make us feel better. There’s great value in that, and we can use that. Denial is when you’re distracting yourself, when you’re escaping, but you’re not aware that you’re doing that, nor what you’re escaping from. You lie to yourself that everything is fine. You’re not aware of how you truly feel. That’s denial.
      Instead of judging your visualizations (or daydreams), here’s how I’d work with them: notice when things go overboard, when you see yourself reacting in different ways (anger, or laughing too much, etc.) and then look at why you’re reacting that way (just as you would in real life). What is it that you want in that moment? What is it that you’re attempting to get with that behavior? Just as if you’d actually acted that way and you were trying to figure out what the energy was all about. This is part of how visualization works! You can use it to see where your energy is at. Don’t judge what it shows you, just sit with it, ask some questions and see what answers you get. 🙂

      • Hey Melody , yes I haven’t been able to dig in much deeper and there’s still a lot of clarity required on this . But as far as now , I realised that this going extreme was associated with people pleasing . If I could get them to agree on something or on some issue , especially when what they believe is the complete opposite of it , and I get to change that by convincing them , then I get to feel more powerful , like I’m in the league and not cast away from the people and yes people do hold me in high regards and don’t just treat me like a ordinary person
        And also , they won’t mess with me and trick me as I won’t get tricked or cheated by them . But while doing this , I also realised that I have built these defensive walls around me and I many a times appear or project myself with the notion that u cannot take advantage of me or trick me , coz I really have that fear of being tricked , of being made into a fool. And so I’d build this wall around me to protect myself from that .

  • I should watch this video over and over until it becomes part of me , but i won’t because I have mental issues that seem to prevent me from self improvement.
    But from first impression I have felt the information presented is possibly the BIG PICTURE of where my Life needs to go.
    Its like there is REAL and NOT REAL and thats fine , but know the difference , and know to recognize andacknowledge which is appropriate at the minute.
    Thank You so much for what you do.
    Every now and then you hit EXACTLY what somebody in cyberland needed and you present it very knowledgably.

  • I practiced daydreaming when I was young and it was like I drug, I actually often felt worse when I had to go back to reality, because the difference was so big. Whereas visualizing helps me to change my reality and I feel more grounded and in touch with who I am.
    Thank you, Melody. Big big Hug

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