The weight that stress and depression has the potential to put on you at times can be overwhelming. Though there are ways to manage the symptoms, sometimes it feels like there is no other option other than to accept what you’re feeling and suffer from it. No one should have to feel like this though. Stress and depression can negatively affect your life. With new research being contemplated on a regular basis at a higher rate than ever before, treatments are being revealed to provide relief. These treatments might be something you do regularly and just aren’t quite yet aware they are benefiting you! The idea that dreams can alleviate stress and depression has been proposed recently, as studies report people feeling less distressed not just from sleep itself but from the actual dream, having remembered it.
Stress and Depression Relief
When it comes to stress and depression, dreams may not typically be your first guess for alleviation. Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, has went as far to describe the benefits of dreams as stating, “It’s almost like having an internal therapist, because you associate [through dreams] to previous similar feelings, and you work through the emotion related to it so that it is reduced by morning.” With this concept, dreams share a person’s subconscious thoughts and allow them an opportunity to figure out ways to deal with pressing issues they tackle in their waking life. In this sense, dreams can be compared to the new method of upcoming and noticeably beneficial virtual reality therapy. This is because dreams, like the virtual reality therapy, provides a similar but alternative state to reality where the sufferer can face their feelings in a setting that lets them misbehave if they must and “live” an almost rough draft or rehearsal of a situation without the actual consequences that would occur in reality of their waking life.
Rosalind Cartwright’s View on Dreams
With studies dating back to 2003, acclaimed researcher Cartwright had proved her hypothesis that a person’s dreams could indeed result in a better mindset for them upon awakening. She viewed 31 participants that were suffering from major depression. The people that had started their dreaming before others also had their dreams occur for a greater amount of time. In addition to lengthier dreams, these people could remember what happened during their dreams and carried an overall content mindset as opposed to the other dreamers who were claimed to have “felt even worse in the morning.” This lead to a well backed-up conclusion of the study that showed how dreams can not only affect a person’s mood, but more specifically can relieve feelings of stress and depression. Cartwright took her inception of dreams and their benefits further in time, as demonstrated in her publishing “Concerns “article is specifically were she states her stance on dreaming being a probable factor for regulation of mood. She goes into further detail on her study’s findings that show how the participants with longer length dreams also proved that their dreams were denser. With this, their dreams involved them being accompanied by a greater number of people and being in several different settings. Cartwright extrapolated as to why by stating, “This heightened dream complexity was characteristic… they seemed to be putting things together in new ways, ‘changing their minds’ during sleep.” This is where she inferred that these participants’ dreams acted similar to how a therapy session would work because underlying emotions are being addressed through situations. She did go on to add that, “Those who failed to remit without treatment had short rather stark dreams or no recall at all. These are the depressed that require some treatment intervention, antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a therapy directed to dream change.” This is important to take to heart because, although dreams may alleviate stress and depression, some mental states have a severity that needs professional attention.
Dreams are shown to ease the depressed and anxiety ridden minds of plagued individuals. Though the state of the subconscious mind when dreaming is still being studied and not entirely understood, it is a widely intrigued topic and expected to provide beneficial information pertaining to possible health benefits after more scientific studies are conducted. Nevertheless, an adequate amount of sleep guarantees proper replenishment of the body and restoration of the mind to prepare for the next day, which can be an important factor when it comes to maintaining relief from daily stress and anxiety.