AUG 31, 2018 6:28 AM PDT

How Your State of Mind Impacts Your Dreams

We’ve all had crazy dreams of flying or being late for an important event. Some dreams have elements of our lives and memory in them, and some of them are just plain random.

In most studies of dreams and sleep, the focus is on something that is wrong with the person. They have depression or anxiety, and bad dreams or wakefulness disrupt their sleep. There’s been almost no research on good dreams and patients who report feeling well. If those with depression or anxiety have unpleasant dreams, do happy people only have pleasant dreams?

Pilleriin Sikka is a Doctoral Candidate in Psychology at the University of Turku and Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Skövde. She explained, "We wanted to address these important gaps in both dream and well-being research and to study how dream emotions are related to not only different aspects of waking ill-being but also to different aspects of waking well-being, including peace of mind. In fact, this is the first study to look at how peace of mind relates to dream content. Peace of mind is a state of inner peace and harmony, a more complex and durable state of well-being traditionally associated with happiness in the Eastern cultures."

In the research, participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire each day upon waking. They were to report how they felt regarding positive or negative emotions, peace of mind and well-being. After a few weeks of that, the volunteers were asked to keep a dream diary. Every morning, or if they awoke at night, they would write down exactly what they had been dreaming about, and whether it was peaceful or upsetting. They were instructed to be very detailed on emotions they felt in the events of their dream, and how they felt upon waking and remembering the dream. When the data was analyzed, it showed that individuals who reported greater feelings of peace of mind and well-being had more positive dream states. Participants who were anxious or depressed tended to have more dreams that were upsetting or negative.

The study authors say that their work shows that a big part of dream content research has left out the concept of well-being. While the general take away of the study is that happier people have more positive dream content, the piece of the puzzle that should be looked at closer is peace of mind. It’s the flip side of anxiety, but it’s not entirely the same as what is measured as well-being. Well-being is largely external. Being in control of your environment, experiencing personal growth, with autonomy over your life and self-acceptance. Peace of mind is internal, and this is where dreams could be related to your state of mind. Check out the video to learn more about what your dreams could mean and what’s happening in the brain when you dream.

Sources: University of Turku Scientific Reports

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JAN 01, 2021
Cardiology
Blood Vessel Damage Caused by COVID-19 Disrupts Brain
JAN 01, 2021
Blood Vessel Damage Caused by COVID-19 Disrupts Brain
Scientists have been trying to determine if the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects brain cells directly, or if the virus severely ...
JAN 03, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Users Don't Understand Health Risks of Smoking, Study Finds
JAN 03, 2021
Cannabis Users Don't Understand Health Risks of Smoking, Study Finds
A recent study has found that cannabis users often classify themselves as 'non-smokers' even though they smoke c ...
JAN 13, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Could Rotten Egg Gas Reverse Alzheimer's?
JAN 13, 2021
Could Rotten Egg Gas Reverse Alzheimer's?
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs, may prot ...
JAN 18, 2021
Cancer
An "E-Nose" Could Help Doctors Diagnose Breast Cancer and Its Subtypes
JAN 18, 2021
An "E-Nose" Could Help Doctors Diagnose Breast Cancer and Its Subtypes
Breast cancer is one of the most well-studied cancers in modern medicine. Diagnostics can already differentiate between ...
JAN 21, 2021
Health & Medicine
More Evidence Cannabis Can Calm a Cytokine Storm
JAN 21, 2021
More Evidence Cannabis Can Calm a Cytokine Storm
A new study out of Canada lends further evidence to the idea that cannabis components may help to calm the cytokine stor ...
JAN 23, 2021
Microbiology
Host Vouchering & How Can It Improve Pandemic Response
JAN 23, 2021
Host Vouchering & How Can It Improve Pandemic Response
About a year ago, I wrote about the virus that would come to be known as SARS-CoV-2 for the first time. And while we've ...
Loading Comments...