As a child after a fall or loosing a toy, teenage angst, exam time, break ups, even through our whole adult life when there’s a time of worry and stress or problem that seems nigh on impossible to solve how often do the phrases “sleep on it” or” things will look better in the morning” get said and how often are they right?
Are they just “old wives” sayings or did those old women really have knowledge and insight into how our subconscious comes to life in those dark night hours, able to seemingly provide solutions to problems, rationalize, consolidate, forgive and to heal.
The human mind has two domains: the conscious and the unconscious.
The conscious or “waking state” is the time when we are subjected to our problems or “we take in the pieces of our personal life puzzle”, the unconscious or “sleep dream” time is the time we work on the images and if the pieces are the right ones put them into some kind of order.
Dreams are reported as highly visual and often illogical in nature, which makes them ripe for the type of “out of the box” thinking that some problem-solving requires, says Dr Deirdre Barrett, a Psychologist at Harvard University who has studied problem solving in dreams for more than14 years.
After a breakup or emotionally upsetting event our dreams allow us the opportunity to “replay” scenarios often with different endings or “what if” scenarios, which allow us to accept, forgive and deal with the situation and enable us to move on. When faced with similar situations in the future we are perhaps better equipped to make better judgment calls in a similar scenario.
Professor McNamara from Boston University also adds that the situation is a familiar one and these alternatives are called scientifically counterfactuals.
“ In psychology and cognitive neuroscience counterfactuals are treated as mental simulations of possible worlds or how things might have been if one variable in a mental model had changed, i.e. (I failed the test), we generate a counterfactual (if I had studied more) against which we compare the negative event. The comparison process reveals that the counterfactual alternative seems plausible (I could have studied more) By engaging in these counterfactual simulations, we may more easily learn to how to avoid negative outcomes in the future, or we may learn how to strive more effectively for current unmet goals or desired outcomes”.
Garfield (1974) stated, ” Once your dream has provided you with your own poem, or painting, or solution to a problem, you know. Ever after you will be able to seek inspiration and help from your dream state. Those who do not believe in dreams have only nonsensical ones”
Dreams are therefore the recognition, re-examination and recomposition of our own unique “pieces” and only the dreamer possesses both dimensions of the puzzle, therefore only they can use them. This is why dreams if captured can be a very personal and powerful self awareness and self help tool.
“Old wives” saying? We think not. Dreams are a means by which we can observe ourselves, give us a better understanding of who we are and an awareness of how we function, they give us a freedom from preconceptions and a new dimension of problem solving unattainable in the conscious mind.
Naturally to use our dreams wisely we first need to remember them, record, and reflect on how they make us feel. This can be challenging. We often wake up in a rush and tear headlong into the day without giving ourselves the chance to reflect on a night’s sleep, an event which takes up to a third of our daily lives.
This is where dreamboard comes into its own. The Dreamboard app has both a daily reminder feature and an alarm function that will gently wake you and allow you to instantly record your dreams. You can then capture your immediate thoughts and feelings through simple user-friendly icons and symbols and then add the additional dream narrative in a separate text field.
Should you wish to reflect on or even edit this later, logging onto your personal account at dreamboard.com can presently do this. However we know how much people would like this on their mobile device. Watch this space for future developments!
So keep recording and reflecting on your sleep and dreams at dreamboard.com or via the Dreamboard app and let us know if your dreams have offered you a solution to a problem and if “things really did look better in the morning”