Turns out, a peaceful mind can foster happier dreams. It has long been assumed that the content of dreams can tell us something about a person’s well-being. However, so far, dream researchers have mostly studied the dreams of people suffering from various disorders and we know very little about the positive side. Well-being researchers, on the other hand, have specifically studied happiness, but have neglected an important aspect of well-being — peace of mind.
Lead author Pilleriin Sikka says, “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. “Even though it has rarely been directly measured in studies of well-being, in several philosophical traditions and spiritual approaches, peace of mind has always been regarded as central to human flourishing,” added co-author Antti Revonsuo.
The findings of the study showed that if we want to understand how dream content is related to well-being. It is not enough to measure only the symptoms of mental ill-being; we should measure well-being in its own right. “Surprisingly, those aspects that are typically considered and measured as ‘well-being’ were not related to dream content. So there seems to be something unique about peace of mind and anxiety,” added Sikka.