Dreams and Psychology

August 01, 2022

Dreams and Psychology

What are dreams? 

Many of us wonder why dream experiences feel so real, sometimes so good that we do not want to wake up but sometimes they are so scary that we want to get out immediately. What are these experiences? Is there another world after we sleep or is it just our mind creating some imaginations and stories. 

Some people believe that Dreams have a purpose but it may not be to send us messages about self-improvement or the future. On the other hand some have different perspectives about dreams, they strongly believe that dreams want to remind us what we are continuously ignoring. For example: If we are not properly looking towards our health than dreams make our body and mind aware about it. 

Dreams have a direct connection with psychology as dreams play with our subconscious mind creating various visualizations, stories, images, movies and what not. The dream state usually happens in the lower levels of brainwave activity; Alpha and Theta 

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Role of dreams in Mental Health: 

According to the book of Dreams and Psychology, Dreams are a universal human experience that can be described as a state of consciousness characterized by sensory, cognitive and emotional occurrences during sleep. The dreamer has reduced control over the content, visual images and activation of the memory. There is no cognitive state that has been as extensively studied and yet as frequently misunderstood as dreaming. There are significant differences between the neuroscientific and psychoanalytic approaches to dream analysis. Neuroscientists are interested in the structures involved in dream production, dream organization, and irritability. However, psychoanalysis concentrates on the meaning of dreams and placing them in the context of relationships in the history of the dreamer. Reports of dreams tend to be full of emotional and vivid experiences that contain themes, concerns, dream figures, and objects that correspond closely to waking life. These elements create a novel “reality” out of seemingly nothing, producing an experience with a lifelike timeframe and connections. 

Dreams help us to heal mentally: 

Sometimes, we are so puzzled up in our real life that we are not able to figure out the solution that keeps on revolving in our mind and when we are dreaming our mind helps us to find the solution and keeps on healing our mental state. Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley conducted a sleep study published in the journal Current Biology. Walker’s study concludes that when people go through an emotional event, this triggers the release of stress hormones which prioritizes that event in your mind. This is a reminder to your brain to work through it during sleep. Walker explains, “Somewhere between the initial event and the later point of recollecting, the brain has performed an elegant trick of divorcing emotions from memory, so it’s no longer itself emotional.” 

You can overcome your fears through dreams: 

This applies to Lucid dreamers (who have some control over their dreams), they can control some amount of their dreams and can practice whatever they are afraid of. For example: if any person is afraid of public speaking, they can find out the ways to control their fear and eventually can apply it in real life. In this way, with time, they can lose their fear of public speaking. 

Dreams as a Cognitive Process Calvin S. Hall proposed that dreams are part of a cognitive process in which dreams serve as "conceptions" of elements of our personal lives. Hall looked for themes and patterns by analyzing thousands of dream diaries from participants, eventually creating a quantitative coding system that divided what's in our dreams into a number of categories.  

According to Hall’s theory, interpreting dreams requires knowing:  

• The actions of the dreamer within the dream  

• The objects and figures in the dream  

• The interactions between the dreamer and the characters in the dream  

• The dream’s setting, transitions, and outcome.