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new study Published in the academic journal the dream He points out that dreams are not only essential to our sleep cycles, but also play an important role in our waking lives, even bad dreams and nightmares.
Psychologist Olivia Cohn, a co-author on the new research, finds that “experiencing the emotional tone of a dream and the way the mind responds to a dream influences a dreamer’s psychological pattern of orientation to and framing of waking experiences.”
According to Kuhn, dreams can be divided into two categories:
- unobtrusive dreams It has a pleasant or relatively neutral emotional tone. They do not make the dreamer feel distressed and the dreamer remains asleep during them. The morning memory of unobtrusive dreams seems to lead to a decrease in negative emotions that day.
- bad dreams It is a less common form of dreams that includes any combination of bad dreams and nightmares. Bad dreams differ from nightmares in that during the nightmare the dreamer awakens from the unpleasant emotional content, images, or story while bad dreams also contain disturbing emotional content but do not make the dreamer wake up.
It gets more accurate from there. Varieties of nightmares include traumatic, recurrent, and idiopathic:
- after shock Nightmares are where a nightmare begins after a traumatic experience of a potential threat to one’s life or witnessing of a potential threat to another person’s life. Post-traumatic nightmares are often very vivid and distressing.
- frequent nightmares where the content of the dream is repeated during his life; It can happen without any traumatic experience
- unknown reason Nightmares often involve content related to fear, aggression, and death, and usually appear during periods of increased life stress.
In Kuhn’s study, the primary focus was on bad dreams and nightmares. They found that:
- The morning remembrance of unexplained nightmares reduced negative feelings that day
- Relatively speaking, the morning memory of a mixture of bad dreams and idiopathic nightmares on a particular night increased negative feelings that day.
This means that although we may view all bad dreams as bad experiences, they may actually serve a purpose, and when handled properly, they may benefit us.
“Different types of disturbed dreams may affect our emotion differently because their purpose is to draw our attention to different outcomes,” explains Kuhn.
Kuhn explains that a combination of bad dreams and nightmares can focus our attention on how we are heading and framing the day. As much as these dreams indicate stress, we may feel the need to resolve or share (a psychotherapist) what is contributing to the increased stress so that it can be treated and released.
More specifically, nightmares of unknown origin may help us feel better the next day for the following reasons:
- Relativity. Having a nightmare and waking up from it can help them feel better about their current reality. In the morning, the individual feels better compared to the stresses of the previous day that may have caused the nightmare.
- emotional integration. Waking up from an unexplained nightmare during the night and then feeling less negativity the next morning may aid the emotional integration process that occurs in mentally healthy individuals. As the nightmarish emotional tone occurs during the night, as soon as morning arrives, sufficient integration has occurred and there is relief from emotional negativity.
According to Kuhn, if someone is dealing with prolonged waking stress (relational stress, fight-related stress, or more) the dream repetition is a reminder of the need to address stress on a deeper level.
She advises taking care of one’s life circumstances in a way that feels safe and supported. This may include:
- Working with a therapist who can support one’s involvement about their dreams, perhaps noticing patterns over time and addressing life stresses
- Writing down the dream or clarifying the dream in detail, orally or visually, and changing the ending of the dream. Then, throughout each evening before bed, the individual may narrate the new dream aloud, rather than the old one, for a few minutes. This process of recording, changing, and exercising is the precursor to terrifying evidence-based recovery therapies.
- Having comfortable things to interact with (a soothing sound to listen to, a teddy bear to cuddle, or a soothing scent to smell) when waking up from a nightmare can help integrate emotions from disturbed dreams and create a greater sense of emotional safety and safety.
“Remain curious about your own mind, with sympathy for its attempts to support your own survival,” advises Kuhn. “Remember that dreams are uniquely yours. They are not reality, but are instead the art on the innate canvas of your mind. Ultimately, it is the dreamer’s power to decide what his dreams mean.”