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
SEP 28, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Why Some Young, Healthy People Get Severe COVID-19
SEP 28, 2020
Why Some Young, Healthy People Get Severe COVID-19
Since the start of the pandemic, scientists have been trying to find out why some people get such severe illness from SA ...
OCT 01, 2020
Health & Medicine
Menopausal Women Find Relief in Cannabis
OCT 01, 2020
Menopausal Women Find Relief in Cannabis
A growing number of women may be using cannabis for managing menopause symptoms, evidence from  the Midlife Women V ...
OCT 04, 2020
Cardiology
The Genetics of Body Fat May Shape Health Risks
OCT 04, 2020
The Genetics of Body Fat May Shape Health Risks
The work may help explain why men and women are at risk for different diseases and often respond to different treatments ...
OCT 05, 2020
Cancer
Does Having an Appendectomy Increase Your Risk for Cancer?
OCT 05, 2020
Does Having an Appendectomy Increase Your Risk for Cancer?
Cancer research is more than just the study of diagnostics and novel therapies. Researchers also investigate the causes ...
OCT 05, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
A Rare Form of Dementia is Discovered
OCT 05, 2020
A Rare Form of Dementia is Discovered
There are different types of dementia, a term for a loss of cognitive function, including Alzheimer's disease and Le ...
OCT 22, 2020
Immunology
Migraines: Dark Times and (Pharmaceutical) Rays of Hope
OCT 22, 2020
Migraines: Dark Times and (Pharmaceutical) Rays of Hope
Despite being commonly used interchangeably, headaches and migraines are worlds apart. Migraines are by far much more pr ...
Loading Comments...