A happier you equals happier dreams
There is an empirical correlation between positivity in waking moments and positivity in dreams, a study led by professors from the University of Turku in Finland recently showed for the first time.
Though many people may have previously assumed that positivity in waking moments correlates to positivity in dreams, there had been no empirical data on the matter before this experiment.
Furthermore, the people for whom dream research has already been conducted are those who suffer from various diseases and disorders. Thus, there was never a large study conducted on the general populace’s dream state and their peace of mind. An important aspect of the study was that peace of mind as a concept was investigated for the first time as an aspect of well-being in relation to dreams.
The study was limited to healthy native Swedish speakers without any psychiatric or neurologic diagnoses. Participants filled out an online well-being questionnaire. They then logged onto and filled out an online home dream diary, in which they reported their dreams and rated their emotional affect.
The well-being questionnaire included questions about scales measuring all the different components of well-being, symptoms of ill-being and sociodemographic questions. The scales used in the questionnaire were life satisfaction, domain satisfaction, positive and negative affect, eudaimonic well-being, peace of mind, depression, anxiety and additional measures. Meanwhile, the dream diary included both self-ratings and external ratings of dream affect.
The results showed that when controlling for other types and components of well-being and ill-being, individuals with a higher score on the peace of mind scale expressed more positive affect in subsequent dream reports. In fact, it was the only scale on the well-being side that correlated to dream affect. Meanwhile, anxiety was the only scale on the ill-being side that correlated to dream affect.
“Peace of mind is characterized by inner peace and harmony that can be achieved by accepting both positive and negative experiences, balancing between positive and negative affective states, and controlling one’s mental state,” according to the study.
This means that peace of mind is ultimately a manifestation of self-regulation and control. People with a higher peace of mind index do feel negative emotions — such as fear — but have a higher threshold for threat detection and abetter ability to regulate these states, especially when no imminent danger is present.
Therefore, the researchers propose that “whereas high levels of anxiety are characterized by relatively more negative affective states in both waking and dreaming, reflecting possible underlying affect dysregulation; high levels [of peace of mind] are characterized by relatively more positive affective states across different states of consciousness, reflecting efficient or adaptive affect regulation.” However, further studies are required before anything can be confirmed.
Ultimately, it seems that achieving a greater sense of self-regulation may result in an a positive impact on the state of someone’s mind by reducing anxiety.
Both of these changes in mindset may be able to reflect positively on the dream affect of the individual.
As a final statement, the researchers of this study said they would like peace of mind to be systematically integrated into the conceptual and empirical framework of well-being.