It’s what allows you to feel real emotions when you watch a film or listen to a piece of music and to recall and refeel an event from your memory. It’s also what makes your dreams seem so real, and if you’ve ever had a nightmare or seen someone else experience one, then you know how life like they appear.
Now scientists have found a way to demonstrate the effect on the brain during dreams, using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and other sophisticated equipment; to prove the point.
Their studies showed quite clearly that the area triggered in the brain by a real action, squeezing a fist, was also triggered when the dreamer dreamed they squeezed their fist. So to the unconscious, there was little, if any, difference between the two.
“Our dreams are therefore not a ‘sleep cinema’ in which we merely observe an event passively, but involve activity in the regions of the brain that are relevant to the dream content,” explains Michael Czisch, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry.
This helps to explain why techniques like visualisation and hypnosis, therapies like Time Line Therapy™ and other self development tools like dream boards, well formed goals and affirmations work so well; because your unconscious accepts them as real. As far as your brain is concerned, the scenario you just imagined in your head is real. So when you worry about what might happen, you experience all the dread, fear and other emotions as well as the chemical processes within your body, that would arise if it really did happen – for nothing! Just one great reason to focus on positive things and occupy your mind with happy endings!
As well as helping to explain why the techniques which use an element of active imagination work so effectively, this also gives us carte blanche to daydream! So next time you get caught ‘miles away,’ ‘away with the fairies,’ or with your ‘head in the clouds’ you can smugly explain that you are merely dreaming your future into reality!
To read a full report on the findings of the study carried out click here
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