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Dreams are a measure of mental health

Your dreams tell you something about your mental health. If the content of your dreams is mostly negative, you will probably suffer from anxiety and worry. On the other hand, if the content of your dreams are mostly positive, then you probably have peace of mind. Finnish psychologists, affiliated with the University of Turku, come to this conclusion in a study they published in Scientific Reports.

The researchers asked 44 study participants for 3 weeks to write down their dreams every morning. The participants had to indicate whether they would label their dreams as positive or negative.

The study participants also completed questionnaires on the basis of which the researchers were able to assess their mental health.

The higher the study participants scored on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), the more often their dreams were negative. The GAD-7 measures feelings of anxiety, fear and worry.

Dreams are a measure of mental health

Dreams are a measure of mental health

The researchers had expected that happy and satisfied participants would have more positive dreams than unhappy and dissatisfied study participants. But the researchers could not find an association. Not if they looked at results of standard tests that Western psychologists use to measure satisfaction and happiness.

But there was an association between positive dreams and the outcome of a test that determined the peace of mind of the study participants. The more inner peace the study participants reported, the more positive their dreams were.

Dreams are a measure of mental health

Dreams are a measure of mental health

Peace of mind
Psychologists measure inner peace by presenting people's pronouncements as "I feel content and comfortable with me in daily life" and "The way I brings peace and comfort". Then they ask people if they recognize themselves in those statements.

Peace of mind is a calmer and calmer feeling than what most people understand by 'happiness'. Although westerners also find inner peace valuable, it is more important in Eastern culture than in the West. [J. Happiness Stud. 2013 14:571-90.]

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 24;8(1):12762.

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