People dream about different things and do it in different ways. Someone is given to fantasies during the working day to cope with stress, others allocate free time for this, and still others prefer to have their heads in the clouds before going to bed.
According to some studies, this is not just a habit or feature of the human brain. Dreams benefit the mind and psyche – which one, read in this material.
1. Dreams make people more creative.
Daydreaming has been considered a sign of the creative mind for centuries, and for good reason. A 2021 study in the US found that dreams can indeed help develop creativity.
Scientists have used an electroencephalogram to track what happens in people’s brains when they dream. To do this, the participants in the experiment were asked to perform simple daily tasks, thinking “about their own”. Scientists periodically interrupted the subjects with questions about what they were thinking at the moment, without stopping to control the activity of their brain.
Some participants in the experiment went into “shackled ruminations,” for example, about a fight with a spouse or about how to deal with a problem at work. These thoughts were focused on certain tasks and problems. And for those who indulged in dreams, they “moved freely” thanks to alpha fluctuations in the frontal lobe.
This kind of brain activity corresponds to an aspect of creativity called divergent thinking. It is used to solve problems by looking for non-standard solutions and generating many different ideas.
2. Dreams help train working memory
A study published in the American Journal of Psychological Science in 2012 found that dreams are inextricably linked to working memory. This is a type of memorization that allows you to capture and recall information despite distractions.
Here is an example of how this type of memory works. Imagine that, leaving your friend, you promise to call her when you get home. On the way you go to the store, then chat with a neighbor. And when you come home, despite all the side affairs, you call your friend back. And if the working memory is not sufficiently trained, you safely forget about the call.
In the study, the researchers sought to understand the relationship between working memory and daydreaming habits. To do this, they first asked the participants to complete one of two extremely simple tasks that could encourage them to “move their heads in the clouds.” They then measured each participant’s working memory, testing their ability to remember a sequence of letters interspersed with a set of simple math questions.
The researchers found that those participants who tended to “head in the clouds” performed better on the task than those who were focused on reality.
These results, according to the researchers, point to the fact that the mental processes underlying dreams may be very similar to those in the brain’s working memory system.
3. Dreams Help Manage Anxiety
A 2016 study in British Columbia found that dreams can help people deal with anxiety.
People who allowed their minds to drift away from stress and important matters experienced less anxiety and anxiety than those who continuously focused on solving important things.
In addition, a fantasy break can help those who are trying to cope with negative thoughts. It is important to force yourself to dream positively, for example, by writing a list of pleasant things to do or things to think about in advance.
4. Dreams help you get closer to people.
Julia L. Poerio, a researcher from the UK, conducted an experiment in 2016 that showed that dreams can strengthen relationships with people.
When people dream about events related to a partner, friends or buddies, they have an increased feeling of love and affection towards them.
Leslie Ellis, PhD from the USA explains:
When we imagine something with clear images, our brain does not distinguish it from reality. Therefore, fantasizing about a strong and cordial connection with someone, for the most part, it seems that it really exists.
5. Dreams make it easier to get things done.
In 2019, American scientists conducted an experiment in which they wanted to determine whether dreams can improve the quality of work of employees.
It turned out that those who took short breaks during the day to immerse themselves in their own thoughts did better. They felt happier, more energetic, and came up with new ideas faster than those who didn’t indulge themselves.
Read related:In the world of dreams: what is maladaptive daydreaming and how it can ruin your life
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