Monday, May 27, 2013

Dreams, Depression, Anxiety and Meditation

Recent research conducted by Nicolle Miller examined the effect of meditation on dream imagery and waking day anxiety and depression levels. In her study she measured depression and anxiety levels as well as had people record one dream. She then taught them how to meditate and instructed them to meditate in a basic way for 10 minutes twice per day for one week. Results showed that mood changed over one week and dream imagery also changed. Preliminatry findings from this study suggest that mood can be regulated to some degree with meditation and the mood is also reflected in dreams. How might this be helpful and what are the next steps for this research?

68 comments:

  1. This is an interesting finding. I believe that a meditation/mood/dream connection could be helpful because it could be one more "tool in the toolbox" to help with mood and/or anxiety disorders. I am a firm believer that if people need to take medication that it is only one piece of the puzzle. If we are looking at health holistically (i.e. mind, body, spirit), meditation could be utilized to develop positive health for both body and mind.
    In terms of "next steps" for this research, I would be curious in knowing the subjects studied. For example, I wonder if we would see this result in different cultures, are there differences between men and women in regards to this finding, would different age groups experience the same type of results, etc. It would be interesting to try this with children and young adults to see if it could be utilized as a protective factor/intervention. Perhaps the next steps could include studying meditation with mood/anxiety and dreams in different populations?

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    1. I definitely agree with Marsha here in that this is a very interesting finding, however I feel like the connection between mood and meditation is quite an obvious one and I can see how meditation can improve one’s mood. This knowledge is helpful in educating others on the importance of our dreams. This can also be helpful for a wide variety of people. For example, meditation techniques can be utilized to improve mood by those with mood disorders, alcoholism or addictions to other substances. As mentioned previously, this technique helps those who have anxiety disorders or higher levels of depression. With that being said the positive results from the research of Nicole Miller may eventually develop into potential treatment strategies and programs. In other words, research can be conducted with the treatment aspect in mind and how meditation can more successfully be implemented into a treatment program for these individuals. Again, I agree with Marsha in that it would be interesting to look at these findings across cultures and genders and see where any similarities and differences may lie. Research with different populations would definitely build a greater knowledge base regarding this particular topic. It would be very interesting to see if these techniques work with children.

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    2. Mediation, like other mindful based techniques have been shown to give an individual an element of control over their mood or emotions, thus like Lindsay mentioned, these results are not surprising. However, having meditation scientifically proven to change mood and finding a link to the changing mood being experienced in the individual's dreams is important. As mentioned, this is important for knowledge and educational purposes. With more research and findings like Nicolles' , I believe that people will start realizing that some holistic approaches like mediations can be just as effective at treating mood disorders as medication. These findings might also allow people to realize that dreams can express symptoms of illnesses or conditions that they might be unaware they have. Thus, this research is helpful at emphasizing the importance of dream interpretation for understanding our dreams might significantly improve overall health.
      As mentioned it would be interesting to see the cross cultural differences mediation would have on depression or anxiety disorders. I also think it would be interesting to look at how mediation and depression/anxiety might already correlate within this cultures; such as looking at the percent of individual whom mediation within the culture, as well as the percent of depressed individuals found within the culture. It would be interesting to find whether mediation can be significantly effective at preventing mood disorders as they are at treating them.

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    3. Bethany de KoningMay 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Wow that is really interesting. Through meditating for this course I have not noticed any mood change but I have noticed my dream imagery has changed. The pictures in my dreams are a lot clearer and I can notice more detail in them and remember my dreams better. Firstly, meditation can be helpful because it can increase moods and therefore increase overall happiest and quality of life. Not only is this a good thing in healthy people but it is especially helpful for people who suffer from depression and anxiety. Meditation might be able to be used in place of medications. This also especially helpful to those who do not want to take medication for depression and anxiety because it gives them a less risky option for treatment. Meditation can also be helpful if it changes dream imagery because it may help the dreamer better analysis their dreams. The next step in research is to test the effectiveness of meditation for treatment of depression and anxiety against the effectiveness of medication. As well test meditations effects in combination with other natural remedies, such as yoga.

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    4. From the study, the preliminary findings that mediation can help regulate mood and impact your dream imagery would be helpful in general for individuals well being. Mediation could help maintain a stable mood for individuals, even on those tough days. Mediation tactics clear your mind and help free you from your stress and fears. Therefore further research could be beneficial in cases such as depression and anxiety (as Nicolle Miller has done). Depression and anxiety consume individuals lives. Research should continue with the links between mediation that could alleviate symptoms and create a better waking life for individuals.

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    5. Nathylova NesmonMay 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Research studies has proven the validity of meditation methods in a way that it has an impact on individuals' mood and dreams imagery. Since mood and dreams correlates, the findings from these studies can lead to a dramatic change in individuals' dreams and aid them in better dream interpretations in relation to their waking life. As stated above, happier mood equals more positive dreams, which results in healthier waking life.

      I agree that medication is only half of the solution to mood and anxiety disorders. Training your mind, in this case through meditation will greatly enhance treatments for these types of disorders, as well as dreams.

      With regard to the next step in meditation research, it may be scientifically useful to include the results variations of meditation between ages and genders. For example, as stated above, is meditation more useful for females or vice versa? How old does an individual have to be in order to take part in meditation treatments? Researchers should begin to take a directional approach towards answering these questions, which would then make meditation more useful in many other aspects of life.



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    6. That's interesting. I have already been introduced to the difference in how different cultures present with depression and how treatment is handled (or not) amongst them. But I never thought about the gender question. There is after all a higher incidence of females reporting suicidal ideation but a higher incidence of successful suicide attempts in males (Kozier et al., 2010).

      Kozier, B., Erb, G., Berman, A., Snyder, S., Raffin Bouchal, D.S., Hirst, S., Yiu, L., Leesberg Stamler, L., & Buck, M. (2010). Fundamentals of Canadian nursing: Concepts, process, and practice (2nd Canadian Ed.). Toronto: Pearson.

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    7. It is great that there has been research finding that meditation is helping with people’s moods as well as changing the imagery of their dreams. It is good to know that meditation can be used to help with stress and anxiety. In today’s society, it seems as though there is a lot more stress and anxiety in the world. If meditation can help with these feelings and help change the imagery, it would help reduce stress and anxiety significantly and allowing for a more restful sleep. I think that the next steps in research would be to continue to find meditation techniques for individuals experiencing extreme stress and anxiety to help alleviate these feelings. I agree that it would be good to study the effect of meditation of different cultures, as different cultures experience stress and anxiety in different ways.

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    8. Danielle LachanceMay 30, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      Along the same lines as many of the previous comments, I think this finding is significant in lending support to meditation as an effective alternative medicine, if not to encourage its practice in mainstream health care. As mentioned above, I agree with the holistic approach. I think it would be extremely beneficial if more family doctors recommended meditation to supplement other forms of treatment, or as a main form of treatment in itself, and findings such as this appear to be one step closer in that direction.

      I also agree that one possible next step would be to test the impact of meditation on dreams within different populations. I wonder if some individuals suffering from a mental disorder wouldn't see a change in dream imagery, and if so, if that might be a way of diagnosing an underlying problem.

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  2. Samantha BayntonMay 27, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    As mentioned above, this is an interesting finding. I believe that meditation on dream imagery and waking day anxiety and depression levels would be useful because meditation is a way to relax and train the mind to relief any stressors. By meditating, these patients can use this as another resource, which could be very beneficial to their treatment.
    I think the next step for research could be to look beyond the current population. For instance, you could teach meditation to people with anger problems, alcoholics, bipolar patients and so forth, to see if you would get the same results. In addition, I agree with Marsha and it would be interesting to look at different cultures, genders, and children. As Lindsay mentioned, by looking into different populations, this will definitely build a strong knowledge base for this area of research.
    For this course we are told to meditate twice a day for ten minutes, which we need to do for an upcoming assignment. I have had anxiety all throughout my childhood, and it seems to be getting worse with age. However, when I started practicing meditation I could definitely see a difference in my dream imagery. My anxiety problems from my waking day life would usually continue into my dreams at night. However, this has stopped since I have been meditating. This goes to show that meditation can be a very useful tool in helping with health problems. By meditating twice a day, I have developed a positive mindset.

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    1. Courtney FriedrichMay 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      I agree that this is an interesting, yet obvious finding. Meditation is a tool that is used to relax, and calm the mind. This allows for stress to be released, making positives in ones life more apparent. Mediation can allow for more positive or calm dreams, since the meditator is more relaxed in their day. These findings can mean that those stressed out can use mediation for mood regulation.

      Like mentioned above, this research can be further used for the treatment of things such as anxiety, depression and any mood disorders. Samantha explained that mediation has already improved her anxiety problems, and I think this is amazing. I have so many friends with anxiety issues, and if they had the ability to substitute their medications with medication, there would be tremendous improvements in modern treatments.

      I believe that if the mood problems are successfully helped with meditation, this practise could be further extended to research many other medical issues. I have learned from stress speeches, that stress can cause a lot of harm on your body. Thus if you can use mediation to relieve some stress, the likelihood of stress doing damage to your body is decreased. I believe these findings will have a tremendous effect on healthcare.

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    2. What about thinking about meditation in a slightly different way? If meditation is a way to relax and clear ones mind of any thoughts or worries, could we not also look at it as a way to tap into your subconscious? By trying to allow any thoughts that come into our head while meditating to 'float away', are we not, in essence, creating a pathway for thoughts to come in from a more subconscious area of our brains? As we try to relax our mood and create a quiet zone, are we not just getting rid of conscious thoughts and distractions, thereby allowing the source of these stronger emotions to come to the surface? This was illustrated as we were meditating and watching the screen, but allowing thoughts to play on the screen in this relaxed state and then allowing them to change. Is this not much the same as when we relax at the end of a long day and slip into sleep, then allowing our subconscious thoughts (ie dreams) to occur?
      By this train of thought, meditation would then be a way to alter our mood into a more relaxed tone, thereby allowing more hidden emotions to come to light, or to be used as an aid in remembering our dreams.

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    3. This is an interesting thought as to see whether there are age/gender/population effects on the protective effects of meditation of individuals with disorders. A longitudinal study considering both biomarkers, psychological markers, and dream imagery should be conducted in a population over a ten year span using meditation exercises. The sample could include people with mood disorders, alcholisms, and a healthy population. To see whether meditation can prevent illness rather than just minimize negativity and increase positivity. Are there any long-term effects to meditation practices and dream imagery or are the effects just short-term based on the study done by Nicole Miller.

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  3. I find it interesting that if mood is reflected in dreams because of what we are doing during the day such as meditating, what does that mean with the dreams taken as a prophesy of things to come, as some may believed?

    I am curious however if research could lead to finding if people are more likely to fall asleep easier or stay asleep if they meditate during the day and eliminating or decreasing the need for sleeping pills?

    Christine Dunn

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    1. Hi Christine,

      From my experience of meditating past few weeks, I have slept better and learned how to fall asleep when I cannot help myself stop think about things. I definitely think that meditation has improved my sleeping quality so does my walking day life because I feel that I am fully relaxed from the good sleep so I feel so much better in my walking life which is also reflected my mood in walking life. Just like you mentioned, I am also curious how meditation is related to the quality of sleep and possible to reduce the need for sleeping pills.

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  4. I agreed with the above comments. Meditation can improve cognitive activities and mood disorder. It can also improves emotional and physical well-being such as stress and depression or mental health. Meditation relax ones mind and help the person to concentrate on positive aspect. For instance chronic patients, meditating regularly will be beneficial to their treatment. Besides, it can be helpful in educating others who do not have prior knowledge about meditation and dream interpretation. For my understanding, mindful meditation is a spiritual connection that helps individuals to focus. Therefore, teaching people with anger management, substance abuse, mental health issues and chronic diseases will be essential. Marsha made a very important point, health holistic is mind, body and soul and therefore meditation can improve both mind, body and soul. As Samantha mentioned in her comments that since she started practing meditation, she can see the difference in her a dream imagery. Such witness shows that meditation can be a useful element for health issues across the globe. I believe researchers will look into culture and gender diferences when compelling sampling population.

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  5. Mediation is definitely a whole body body experience which can service as a benefit to the entire body on a variety of levels. It is difficult to interpret the benefits available from meditation as they are personal and unique to everyone who practices it. The connections that develop as a result as likely to be influence be the level of commitment displayed by the individual as well as what type of current physical health they are experiencing in relation to their expectations regarding the experience.

    Gathering data relating to health and levels of commitment, expectation pre and post study in addition to the actual amounts of mediation activity completed by individuals would allow for a greater amount of knowledge to be gained from participants.

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  6. It makes perfect sense and is expected that meditation would decrease stress, anxiety, depression etc. and change dreams and increase the remembering of dreams. For those who are always busy and never have time to just take a few minutes and breathe or think in their day, end up going to bed with all their thoughts and stresses. I find laying down in bed is when I think about everything, therefore this is probably why most of my dreams are about school, work, relationship issues, etc. These are all recurring dreams because these are the things I think about last before falling asleep. With meditation, it allows for us to take a breather and relax. It allows us to ease our mind and lose some of that stress that would follow us to bed. Because of this, our dreams may be different than if we hadn't meditated. This must be a huge reason why meditation helps with stress, depression, and anxiety, as well as with the type of dreams we have.

    From personal experience, I have always been directed by a councilor to incorporate deep breathing techniques into my day to calm my anxiety and stress but I have never been directed to try meditation. Meditation is definitely something that calms and de-stresses so it amazes me that it is not used as much as it should be in the clinical setting. I believe more research should be done and meditation should become a bigger part in therapy and counseling.

    Stress and anxiety are growing problems in our world right now so more should be done to improve this. Things like meditation should be taken more seriously and used more often in our clinical approaches to lowering the rates of stress and anxiety.

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  7. Meditation just seems to have a bad stereotype with it for some reason. I used to think meditation was a religious or cult thing until I started learning more about it. Movies also stereotype meditation and make it look like a "strange" act, rather than something positive. I'm curious as to why this is?

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  8. Stressful life events can cause anxiety and depression in your waking life. If your brain is constantly thinking and feeling anxious or depressed than your dream imagery will reflect these emotions as well. Meditation can calm a person down and release some of the anxious and depressed feelings for the time while meditating. Taking moments out of a stressful day to relax and take a breath before bed or starting your day can create a more calming mood.
    Proper mediation techniques can take some time to learn but research has shown that it can reduce stress levels and help control depression and anxiety in people during their waking and dreaming life.
    The next steps that researchers could take may be study specifically with certain mental illnesses, and try to find easier methods to teach meditation. Using meditation as a therapeutic alternative to antidepressants or antianxiety medication would be beneficial and there are no side effects to mediation. Clinicians should become more knowledgeable in mental health treatment techniques that are less harmful and possible even more effective than the over prescribed medication in today's society.

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  9. Wow Samantha. It is great to hear that by meditating you have positively impacted your dreams. This is an interesting concept for improving not only sleep habits but symptoms of depression and anxiety as well. By relaxing the mind and body, we can positively effect our dreaming selves. This seems like a logical next step in the progression of dream interpretation. Dreams give us insight into waking day life to show us how we can change our waking day lives. It only makes sense that by changing our waking-day lives, we can influence our dream imagery.
    As mentioned briefly in lecture, the next step for this research could be to look at differences between males and females who have used meditation in waking life. Using this theory to help the lives of individuals with severe addiction could be very useful as well. By meditating in waking life, dream cravings may decrease and help individuals gain confidence in their lifestyle change.

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  10. Anxiety and depression are both significant mental disorders in our population today that can have a profound effect on an individual’s day to day activities. As suggested in previous postings, medication is only a crutch in aiding the individual who has the mental disorder, which means that other alternative therapies should be used. The fact that meditation has been shown to help in some degree with mood is great, because this means that individuals with anxiety and depression may have another potential means of coping with their disorder. Not only would the meditation help aid the anxiety and depression in waking life, but it could also help the individuals who re-live their anxiety and depression in their dreams.

    Next steps for this research would likely be to explore this phenomenon further. At this point the preliminary findings only suggest that meditation may help with mood. Further studies may include larger sample sizes and having the individuals record more than one dream before meditation begins to ensure that they are having anxious/depression dreams before meditation. The researcher could also study different types of anxiety such as Post traumatic stress disorder and see if meditation helps with this type of disorder.

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  11. Michelle McGrathMay 28, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    I agree with your point, Rebecca, that medication is not always the answer in treating anxiety and depression. These medications come with many unpleasant side effects, and may just treat the symptoms rather than allowing the individual to tackle the underlying causes of their condition. I think using meditation and dream imagery as an adjunct therapy for depression or anxiety could help people discover and treat the root cause(s) of their condition as well as the associated symptoms, as many have mentioned above. Meditating twice a day could not only calm the mind and promote relaxation, but allow individuals to discover and analyze the imagery in their dreams and what this means in their waking life. This could help people to reflect on and change anxious or ruminating thought patterns indicative of depression and anxiety. It could also uncover a specific event, person, or season in the individual's life which has contributed to their anxiety or depression and allow them to properly work through whatever could be influencing their anxious or depressed thoughts. Further research could include dream imagery interpretation and the discovery individuals suffering from anxiety or depression may uncover as well as the insight this may give them into their condition.

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  12. The findings of this study, that meditation can help to regulate mood and anxiety, are extremely important. People suffering from these disorders can have a severe amount of trouble functioning in waking day life, and their sleep suffers as well through unwelcome dreams. If it is true that meditation can help to improve your mood and decrease your anxiety in waking life, this can help people to accomplish more and also to live a more holistically fulfilling life. Often holistic care is forgotten when it comes to treating mood disorders, however mood disorders cannot be properly treated by one single method. To only rely on medication is only solving the physiological issue. This will not address the social, psychological, spiritual, etc. issues that also play a part. If these people can improve their waking life, their dreams should improve as well.

    I believe that research should expand to try meditation on other psychological disorders, such as bipolar or schizophrenia. Perhaps these patients could be trained, through meditation, to focus on the part of their mind that helps them function properly in waking life, and to block out the part that interferes. This would be interesting to study further. However, since meditation requires practice it may be difficult to get the more severe patients to be able to achieve true meditation.

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    1. Hi Miranda,

      I like your idea of meditation might can help people with other psychological disorders. As my understanding of people with psychological disorders, they have difficulty with controlling their mind (thoughts). We know that meditation can help people to relax their mind and body. As you mentioned in your discussion that meditation might be difficult to be practiced among those people with severe mental disorders, but I believe that there might be a way to help them to learn and practice meditation. It would be great to find a way to help them to meditate so that they can manage their thoughts and study how it would change their dreams and walking life.

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  13. Meditation is an excellent technique for people suffering from anxiety, depression or other mood disorders. Speaking from experience when I had anxiety, I was suggested to a program that included meditative exercises and found increases in postivity. It seems that dream imagery is reflective of the mind-body connection,as waking day events tend to spill into dream imagery. A holistic approach to wellness is important because just fixing an issue as it arises is not as effective as prevention by better lifestyle practices. The reflection of mood in dreams could be diagnostically helpful for clinicians to offer better treatment options based on the patient's interpretation of their own dream imagery. The regulation of mood is very important in determining the quality of life of an individual. If meditative exercises, improve mood regulation then it is worth it to exploit the properties of meditative exercise and it's effects on both the body and mind through dream imagery.

    The medical nature of some physicicans is to immediately treat a patient with medication based on somatic symptoms, however unobservable dream imagery may be more effectively analyzed through meditation. The next step for research in this area is to find the appropriate avenues in which meditation and dream imagery are associated with one another. Is it the brain waves produced by meditation that provide a more balanced platform for the mind to focus on positive attributes of life and negate the negative or is it that meditation is actually improving the condition physiologically by allowing the body to heal itself more effectively. How much meditation is required to effectively minimize negativity expressed in mood disorders? Are there gender, cultural, and individual variations to the effects of meditation on dream imagery and mood. There are still many questions to be answered in this topic of research that may validate the practicality of this research in a clinical setting.

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  14. From the results of this study and those I have seen in my daily life, it is clear there is a connection between the mind and the body. Nicole Millers study shows us that by simply altering your state of mind you may be able to also alter the effects and outcomes of your dreams. Meditation has been able show a positive impact in allowing people to release the stress they are carrying and allow them to clear their mind completely, even if its just for ten minutes. In allowing the mind to rid itself of all the negativity its possible that we are able to clear our subconscious thoughts and thereby have more pleasant dreams.
    From a personal standpoint it is clear to me that if I am to remember a dream for more than the initial minutes of waking, than it is usually one that was negative. I do not know exactly why this is but I have found that anytime someone is questioning there thoughts it is usually after experiencing a negative dream. It seems that negative dreams almost have an aura surrounding them creating a certain kind of confusion.
    This process is very helpful because if we can alter the types of dreams we are having then we may be able to alter a person’s outlook in general. I find that depending on the type of dream I have my mood when I wake will reflect that.
    For the future if we are able to find a way to produce positive dreams more times than not, than shouldn’t we therefore have a more positive outlook. If we can find a way to produce this positive outlook than it is possible we could eliminate the symptoms surrounding anxiety and depression.

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    1. The use of meditation for regulating mood is most definitely helpful for people with depression and anxiety. There are many complimentary alternative therapies available to use as mono-therapy or multi-therapy alongside medication. The fact that there were observable changes in mood with meditation may allow some individuals to use mediation along with their current treatment regime. In my opinion it may be even more beneficial long term. Medications may adjust the biochemical maladaptive changes but meditation targets self-reflection through dream imagery which change their mood. Meditation is effective, even in individuals without depression or high stress levels, to calm and focus the mind on themselves, so I think it is reflective that individuals having negative dream imagery would have change in mood with this therapy.

      Based on the preliminary findings, it is necessary to able to replicate the results again in a similar sample size with patients with depression and anxiety. To continue venturing with the idea that meditation can produce mood changes, it might be interesting to explore other psychological illness such as bipolar/manic-depressive disorder or phobias and the response these individuals might have with meditation. It might also be interesting to look into whether the effects of mood change in individuals with psychological illness are as equal to, less than, or more than what individuals without psychological illness experience (ie. individuals that participate in daily non-treatment related mediation).

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    2. Angelica Palillo-BucknallMay 28, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      When you mentioned that meditation may be an interesting and beneficial technique in helping people deal with anxiety and depression, I have to say that I agree with you there. Depressive symptoms are debilitating for so many people. If meditation has the ability to relieve even some of the symptoms of depression, I believe it is well worth attempting. There are so many benefits with meditation including the fact that it is free to do, it is a way to make a meaningful connection within your own personal thoughts and feelings, while often increasing overall mood. Meditation can allow people to reach a peaceful, positive state without the use of drugs or prescription drugs which I believe makes it a great option or first step in dealing with mood disorders, depression or anxiety.

      Further research regarding sleep and meditation should be conducted to see if there is a positive correlation between meditation and having a better overall sleep pattern. Research is constantly being done in this field and it would be interesting to use what is known about meditation, dreams and sleep to find out whether overall sleep has increased as a result of meditation before sleep. Since overall mood has been said to be increased with the use of meditation in the morning before beginning the day, it is possible that overall sleep can be increased with meditation before falling asleep. Further research can also be helpful to show if meditation can lead to negative events in waking life or in negative moods. For example, since meditation takes you inward, into a deeper level within your own self and mind, people must be prepared to learn many things about themselves. Being prepared and understanding that there may be deep rooted emotions or feelings within your mind, bringing these emotions out through meditation may be scary for some people (especially those who are not expecting it). Further research can explore whether meditation can reveal negative feelings and emotions and to explore how likely it is that these inner emotions are actually presented in an individual’s dream imagery.

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  15. Since I have started taking the "Dreams and dreaming" class, I have meditated two times a day as a part of the course assignments. It has been a bit more than two weeks now. It was not easy to meditate at first time because my mind was too busy to think about my life, but the "basic meditation" video helped me to relax my body and let go of many thoughts that I had before. Moreover, I think the meditation helps me to link between my body and my mind. From the meditating regularly, I feel more relaxed and I think I sleep better which helps in my walking life. I think the quality of my sleeping has been improved since I have started meditation.

    When I do not sleep well, I get irritated very easily; often I do not want to do anything at all but sleeping; and my mind is not clear to think properly. I can see how meditation can regulate the mood in some degree in waking life that can be reflected anxiety and depression in walking life. As I stated earlier, I have experienced that meditation helps me to be able to fall asleep easily and relaxes me both physically and mentally. By having better sleeps, I feel more energetic which reflects my mood in walking life to be more positive and healthier than before. However, I am not so sure my dreams have been reflected by the mood since I have started the meditation. I think I need more time to see the result for this part.

    Theoretically, if you sleep well you would be more relaxed. Therefore, you are more likely to be in a better mood which can reflect in your dream imagery to be more positive due to the continuity hypothesis. I think sleep, mood, and dreams are related to each other. For the next step of this research would be something related to meditation, dreams, stress levels, and health in general because we know that stress can cause problems in our body and meditation reduces stress levels.

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  16. I agree with Mijung Park that sleep, mood and dream are definitely connected. For example, my brother has suffered from mental health issues and addiction problems and during the dark period of his life, he turned to meditation. It was interesting to see how mediation helped him throughout his struggles. I know in the beginning he was not sleeping regularly and having nightmares, and as time went on he began sleeping better with less nightmares. I understand that the meditation was not the sole cause in helping him; there were other factors such as medication and therapy. However, meditation was something that helped him deal with his inner issues and something he still practices today.
    Findings from Miller’s study suggest that mood can be regulated to some degree with mediation and that mood is also reflected in dreams. This may be helpful for now we can understand that one’s mood effects both waking life and dreams, and we can look to change one’s mood with mediation and see results in both waking life and dreams. As for further research, I think it would be interesting to see how addictions effect one’s dreams, because we already know it can effect one’s mood.

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    1. Findings like this are helpful because it provides scientific support for holistic approaches regarding moods. Although I do believe that medications are helpful, many people avoid taking medications therefore, these findings are helpful to provide alternatives. As a side effect of using such holistic approaches, findings like this may encourage people to be more aware of their dreams thus providing more insight into their waking life. The next steps for research are to look at variables related to meditation on moods, and the interpretation of moods in individuals dreams. Variables to look at would include different cultures, ages, genders, and degrees of mood disorders.

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    2. Katherine MortonMay 28, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      Like Kathleen said, I believe that meditation could be a good, scientifically proven alternative approach to medication. If it is used in addition to medication, the results would be the best. These other variables need to be researched, and a longer study than one week needs to be done to see the affects of meditation over time.

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    3. Research has proven that meditation not only affords a way to manage stress, but it also works as a tool to manage changes in mood and breaks in rational thinking. Furthermore, meditation research has proven meditation's ability to train the mind to do certain things and certain certain moods or have certain effects on the body and the mind. Research has scientifically proven that meditation is a safe and simple way to balance your physical, emotional, and mental state. Having said all this mood being reflected in one's dreams is beneficial because it provides more insight for the individual as to actual reflections of your TRUE feelings. Such feelings may be have been repressed during the day, and are being expressed in your dreams when your defenses are down. Your mood or feelings that are expressed in dreams will help you deal with depression, guilt, and other complex emotions. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier meditating allows individuals to discover and analyze the imagery in their dreams and what this means in their waking day life, thus encouraging people to reflect or change certain behaviors.
      The next steps for research is to perhaps conduct studies with people with various disorders and their dreams, children compared to adults, men versus women, different cultures, and people of different ages. Also it would be interesting to conduct studies with people who have certain dreams or a particular mood all the time, and how their dream imagery is to them... analyzing differences among various people in different situations may provide greater insight to mood, meditation, and dream imagery as a whole.

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    4. As Kathleen said above, Miller's findings give support to holistic treatment options for anxiety and depression. As an individual who believes that medication and some sort of holistic approach should be used when treating a disorder, I think the findings are extremely encouraging. Further research could be done by analyzing if there is a positive correlation between the use of medication in conjunction with the techniques Miller used in her first study. This may lead to more efficient and helpful approaches when treating anxiety or depression.

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    5. As Amanda Bartsc and many others have mentioned, I believe that the understanding that mood can be regulated with meditation and that this change in mood is reflected in dreams is extremely helpful when diagnosing and treating disorders such as anxiety and depression. These days many medications have dangerous side effects that may even outweigh the benefits of taking such medication for a disorder in the first place. If the means for these potentially harmful medications could be eradicated, or even offset, by means of meditation, then I believe the treatments would be much easier on a person’s mind and body. Like Amanda Bartsc, I too believe that holistic approaches are necessary and I find Miller’s results encouraging.

      Future research on this topic could revolve around the implications of using meditation to increase positivity in people such as cancer patients. It could be examined whether a positive mindset, in conjunction with the patient’s medical treatment, improved their condition versus those people only being treated on a medical front. If this were to prove successful, this research could have far-reaching effects and potentially aid in treating many types of diseases and disorders.

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    6. Prabhjot DhaliwalMay 29, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      I also agree with most of the above replies that this is an interesting finding. It is evident that meditation allows individuals to have somewhat of a control over their lives. Meditation also allows people to be more positive and healthy in body and spirit. I believe that as further research will begin to build on this finding, more people will become aware that it is, in a way, possible to control their mood in dreams. This finding brings realization that is useful to conduct dream interpretations in order to understand an individual further or their mood and symptoms for possible disorders. Because meditation is becoming more common and such findings are being presented it may become a more reliable method for individuals with a mood disorder like anxiety or depression.

      Prabhjot Dhaliwal

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  17. Ashleigh-Anne GureckasMay 29, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I have always "believed" that meditation can help relieve stress and calm such disorders like anxiety and depression. The fact that there are preliminary findings scientifically that this is true is amazing to me, and there are many ways that we can take this information and expand.
    If meditation can alter mood, we might want to do more testing on a larger range of subjects to create a more plausible basis for this research. Doing more research with mediation and mood with people of different cultures, and varying degrees of depression and anxiety, can help us understand if this is a universally reliable method to help calm individuals with mood disorders. Testing if a proper form of meditation can calm moods just as much as medications for these disorders can, is the next step. I personally believe that pharmaceutical companies create these drugs to cover symptoms, but do not truly cure them. I think it is important to study and look at if meditation can help mood to be elevated for a long period of time with frequent use (just as a medication is prescribed) yet also has the same effectiveness without the side effects of a drug. If we start to research this aspect, maybe there is a possibility of moving away from drugs and medications and start using natural methods like meditation that can help calm moods, and has other benefits such as better dream imagery and alleviation of depression and anxiety symptoms.

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    1. Mediation has been used for centuries through historic practices. The mind and body are connected and certain practices such as yoga and tai chi use mediation along with movement to relax both the mind and body. As stated in The Giant Compass by T.L. DeCicco the mind never stops, it is constantly active during waking life and sleep. It is continuously processing and assimilating information. Mediation allows for the mind to slow down and refocus.

      Sometimes life can get crazy and the mind never seems to rest. It use to seem that when I needed a good night’s rest the most my mind would be up all night dreaming and I would awake just as tired as when I went to sleep. A year ago I started practicing yoga and mediation daily. My yoga practice often begins with two points of mediation, one before the practice and one to end my practice. There is a huge difference between the depth of my mediation and focus of these two times. Mediation can be a hard practice to master, when I first began practicing it felt like time was moving slowly and I could not wait for it to be finished. However after persistent practicing I now enjoy mediation and can notice the positive affect on my mood and overall well-being.

      I strongly believe in the effect mediation can have on waking day stress and dream imagery. This is fantastic research that Nicolle Miller has been conducting. The results of this research have many implications for individuals suffering from various mental illnesses. Personally, I would focus the research on how to increase the depth of mediation. It can be hard to focus the mind. I find it easier after I have spent time physically connecting my mind with my body. To ensure that mediation will be effective, vigorous research on how to deep practice will be needed. If not individuals may lose confidence in mediation.

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    2. I would have to say that I disagree about the pharmaceutical companies' intentions with the medication. There are some people with very severe disorders that need the medication in order to be able to take care of the basic means of living on their own without being of harm to themselves or others.
      These individuals are severe cases. I think that the effects of meditation are mostly helpful for individuals with a more mild stage of depression or other mood disorders. Alternative therapies like meditation and biofeedback have their place in treatment. As Nicolle's study has shown, increasing positive imagery for those that experience an excess or negative imagery can improve mood.
      Depression and anxiety have been associated with abnormal neural pathways and chemical levels that have a part in encouraging negative imagery in the brain that ultimately contribute to altered mood levels. I found a very helpful article that helps to explain how the brain works with these disorders and treatment options through conditioning to re-path abnormal neural circuits associated with mood disorders(Ressler & Mayberg, 2007). Ressler and Mayberg acknowledge that the future of treating some mood disorders like PTSD lies in a technique called "overlearning" in which the long-lasting effects of negative imagery can actually be prevented rather than treated (2007, p. 1120). Much like the rest of the healthcare system, I believe that future research will bend toward prevention rather than treatment.

      Resseler, J. K., & Mayberg, H. S. (2007). Targerting abnormal neural circuits in mood and anxiety disorders: From the laboratory to the clinic. Nature Neuroscience, 10(9), p. 1116-1124.

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    3. In terms of depression and anxiety and using meditation practices to help alleviate these ailments, I agree with the comment that using these types of processes may help to relieve mild forms of anxiety and depression, however I believe that these methods can only go so far as to helping lessen the effects of these issues. Medication is essential for individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression because it is a neurological reason due to an imbalance of chemicals occurring in the brain that needs to be balanced out by the proper chemicals in the medication. However, the current research also advocates for the beneficial effects of meditation for individuals experiencing anxiety and depression. The individual who is experiencing these issues may benefit from meditation along with medication. Therefore, future research should focus on a combination of medication and meditation practices, using both beneficial effects of these interventions. There is no one way that will help everyone, therefore using a variety of methods to help individuals who suffer from these issues is important in helping the vast array of anxiety and depression issues.

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    4. Findings like this are always helpful as it provides a manner to explain and assist in the study of sleeping and dreaming. Personally I have been meditating as part of this course requirement for the last two weeks. I have found that it is a lot easier for me to both fall asleep as well as obtain a proper sleep schedule as before I was very irregular. It has always been my belief that meditation can change and help with moods and also assist in relaxing the body for sleep. As a whole these results can assist the study of how meditation assists the body and show that both anxiety and depression have other forms of therapy rather than mostly drug treatments. I believe that further research may want to use a population sample that can be generalized to more types of mental issues such as anxiety, depression, insomnia etc. I think that this is a step in the right direction as it puts the power of treatment in the hands of each individual and allows treatment to be done more naturally with focus on resetting the mind. I find that this is a great alternative to medical treatment if it tested in a longitudinal study and shows promise of assisting in these problems with frequent use over time. I would also find it interesting to study the frequency of reoccuring symptoms of anxiety or depression in patients that are using meditation on a regular basis. I would be intregued to see whether or not the frequency had decreased for these problems or if it had remained the same or not at all when compared to medical treatments for the same issues. Overall I like the idea that the patient has the control and ability to control their own treatment and using a natural method that provides such good results of increasing moods over a short time sounds very promising.

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  18. I agree with Ashley, meditation is a sufficient method to relaxation, to relieve stress, anxiety and other disorders that many medications temporarily disable. I am a firm believer in positive thinking and natural ways of staying healthy and having a clear mind. However meditation can be beneficial for an individual who is suffering from mild anxiety or depression, yet I do not think severe cases of these disorders could be diagnosed by simply meditating. This would be an interesting theory to look into, having patients examined under two conditions, one being a group that meditates to medicate their condition, and another group that is aided by pharmaceutical drugs for their condition. Conduct the results and compare to see which method works better for specific conditions, patients and degrees of disorder.
    The research Nicolle Miller has conducted is very interesting and will be further examined in the future, I feel that meditation can not only benefit individuals with disorders but it can also benefit individuals overall well being. Since this class has begun I have been meditating as instructed and i am starting to feel a little more comfortable going through the process. At first it was hard to focus and ease my mind, yet after a few more trials I became more focused and relaxed. I feel meditation can alleviate many symptoms that we all deal with sometime in our lives, whether it be stress from work and daily situations, to disorders that are typically seen as medically treated.

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  19. Breanne McErleanMay 29, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Although a very interesting, meditation being able to regulate mood makes a lot of sense. Mediation like dreaming and mood is majorly controlled by the mind. Through mediation individuals are able to calm, relax, and rest their minds. Individuals dealing with disorders such as anxiety, fear, and anger can find mediation highly useful. Mediating in the morning and throughout the day can have a serious influence on your waking mood. Coping mechanisms such as mediation can help process the anger, fear or anxiety an individual is feeling in a healthy way. These calm, relaxed waking moods are then able to follow a person into their dreaming. By mediating before bed, or even throughout the day, your waking mind is in a happier relaxed state before falling asleep. This would in turn likely lead to better dream interpretation. Also by freeing your mind of all stress either before bed or during the day may allow for dreams to guide you to the exact cause of that stress, fear, anxiety or anger. These discoveries would allow for a change in waking life making in more enjoyable. Meditation is just another useful tool to help have a healthier happier mind. By researching meditation over different ages, gender, geographies and even cultures/religions may provide evidence as to the most useful techniques of mediation and who or what it is most useful for.

    Breanne McErlean

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  20. Before this class, I had done some meditation when I did yoga. I found that it helped me relax and de-stress, to not think about everything that was bothering me. It helps you focus on yourself and your breathing and it made me feel calm. After starting this course it is interesting to discover that meditating can also help with your dreams. I have been struggling with anxiety over the past year and since starting the course I have had to come to terms with it more as it is present in most of my dreams. Doing the required meditation everyday I have seen a small change in my stress level and overall anxiety. It is especially helpful when I am doing the meditation that is required before bed because that was when i would become most anxious. I have found that I am sleeping better as well as my dreams are happier. Although meditating hasn't exactly cured my anxiety it is helping me deal with it better and by interpreting my dreams I am able to learn more about what causes my anxiety and how to not stress so much.

    The next steps for research on meditation, moods and dreams would be, like some have said above, to conduct large experiments where people with depression and anxiety take part in meditation. They could have people meditate more or less during the day and people who also meditate for so many weeks or so many months to see how much meditation actually helps. Also, more research should be conducted on meditation, moods and dreams separately and then researched together. This is an interesting field of research and I believe learning more about meditation and mood altering could have a positive effect for the treatment of disorders as well as to help with the postiveness of dreams in general.

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  21. The use of meditation can be very beneficial to those who are stressed or have anxiety, and for anyone else. Meditation allows individuals to potentially escape from all, or many, of the stressors in their lives and give them time to perform some introspection. This is very important if an individual is wanting to better themselves in any way. People who suffer from stress or anxiety are those that have very busy lives that do not allow for any relaxation. Busy people would benefit if they would meditate even just before bed, and it would also allow them to fall into sleep more readily than if they did not meditate.
    Researchers have found that regular meditation is highly effective in reducing stress. It would be wise to research if there is any difference in the effectiveness of meditation when meditation times are different. That is, one group meditates right after waking and right before sleeping, and another group might meditate after waking and then before dinner (say around 5/6pm). Knowing if there is a difference in effectiveness of meditation schedules would allow individuals to use meditation to the greatest advantage.

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  22. These findings may be helpful as they reveal the capacity of meditation to regulate mood, which is then reflected in dreams. In other words, they demonstrate that meditation may be a useful treatment for anxiety and depression, and thereby advocate for the usefulness of the practice as a whole. Although some may question the effectiveness of more holistic approaches for the treatment of such disorders, these findings show just how beneficial meditation may be.

    In terms of the next steps of this research, perhaps the use of meditation may be extended to the treatment of other disorders as well. I feel that many believe that medication is the only answer when it comes to mental illness, when in fact other more natural approaches may truly be just as, if not more, beneficial. In this way, holistic approaches such as meditation may be found to help with other disorders and contribute to healthier everyday functioning for individuals who suffer from them.

    ~ Ellen Coombs

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  23. Samantha EllertonMay 30, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    As discussed above by Ellen, these findings regarding meditation are helpful in the areas of mood regulation in a way that is natural and self-applicable. I feel that the effectiveness of this practice is very much dependent on the open mind that this process is entered with. If a person goes into it thinking that meditation can help with their mood regulation I feel it can, as they allow the peaceful aspect and serenity taking place within to affect how they feel that day which in turn is reflected within the dream experiences.

    I think the next step is to encourage the users of this treatment to be open minded when beginning. They can gradually increase the amount of time they meditate for if need be, to allow this natural treatment for mood regulation to exhibit its full benefits. Furthermore I agree with exploring the other options for meditation as a treatment as it allows for a natural, self-applicable method which can show users that the power to make themselves feel better, as with mood regulation can be in their control.

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    1. I agree that daily events may be reflected in the dream experiences. Therefore, when meditating this allows individuals to calm down and relax, which in turn allows the mind to also relax and be open to more calming ideas. Personally, I find meditation to be very helpful with relaxation and calming. I also strongly agree that the mind works the same during waking hours as it does during sleeping hours. Therefore, when performing meditation, the mind will be more calm during waking and sleeping hours.
      I believe the next step in this research may be looking into how meditation has an effect on individuals who have different disorders.

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  24. This is very important finding since this is an easy alternative to anti anxiety or depressant drugs. If relaxing and meditating for a little bit every day would increase mood then people will be alot better off.

    The finding about mood being reflected in dreams is very important as well since one effect of anxiety and depression is confusing with mood and not being sure how you really feel. If dreams can be interpreted to show how you really feel then that is a significant result.

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    1. I agree with Evan that that this finding is helpful in the therapy of anxiety and depression disorders. Whether it could actually replace medication to help these disorders is debatable, but this is where the research is needed. Further research would be necessary in knowing whether the effects of meditation is substantial enough to be a therapy on its own, or in conjunction with other therapies, such as medication.

      It is not really a surprise that the improved mood these individuals experienced also effected their dreams. Meditation or not, I think we can all conquer that when our mood changes, our dreams are directly affected (bad mood = bad dreams, good mood = good dreams). Meditation allows that self reflective piece to come into play for the individual doing the meditation. Much like finding insight when interpreting our dreams, mediation allows for the individual to self-reflect and interpret moods and feelings throughout the process of meditation. By doing so, the individual can make decisions regarding these interpretations. Whether they act on changing the circumstance that is affected them negatively, or consciously accepting the circumstances and thus choosing to change their feeling approach to their situation, this allows them to move forward. This is important to anxiety and depression sufferers, as much of the time those individuals feel trapped inside their negative feelings and cannot move forward.
      Research would also need to continue in order to see what the long term effects are of continued meditation in these individuals and whether it creates a long term mood changing effect and improved mental health condition.

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  25. As mentioned above, I find mediation and its potential viability and a additional treatment is a very interesting idead. I think it is a very important and potentially very effective way to help combat the symptoms and emotions associated with anxiety and depression disorders. Depressive and Anxiety disorders require several techniques to help eleviate the present symptoms.

    Before this course I had little exposure to meditation. Experimenting with it in this course I have found to be very helpful and relaxing in my waking day life. It helps me organize and understand emotions in dreams. In order for mediation to become a viable tool as been previously mentioned extensive cross sectional experiments need to be conducted. This should include different ethnic, age, diagnosis groups to better understand the effects. Everyone is different so specific dream events will be different from person to person. Thus generalizing outcomes for patients might not be possible as different dreams mean different things to different people.

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  26. Shadiya GouldbourneMay 30, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    The research in itself is very fascinating. Meditation is a reflective and sooting exercise and I understand how it can change ones mood from anxious and depressive to more positive. When we are more relaxed in our waking life our dreams will mirror the same type of tone. However, I would think that if the anxious people were to stop their weekly meditation that their dreams would go back to a more negative vibe. The treatment seems to sooth, but doesn't really get to the root problem of a persons' depression or anxiety, therefore I think the meditation would have to be a ongoing process.
    I think the next steps for the research would be to look at the progress longitudinally, and to record peoples' dreams after they have stopped meditating for a given time.

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  27. Elizabeth SalisburyMay 30, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    The findings that suggest that mood can be regulated to some degree with meditation and the mood is also reflected in dreams can be very helpful. This information suggests that meditation can be a successful tool in treating managing mood and anxiety issues. Mood and anxiety disorders can go untreated, or are often medicated with prescribed medications which can impact the individuals health and functioning on a day to day basis. This information suggests that individuals who suffer with mood and anxiety issues can find relief without having to rely on medication. This information is very helpful in improving and expanding the treatments available for those who suffer from these types of disorders. 

    Dreams, when interpreted properly, can be the messenger for the body; emotionally, physically and spiritually. When using meditation as a form of treatment for mood and anxiety disorders, one's dreams can be monitored and interpreted to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. The messages delivered through dreams can notify the dreamer and the clinician of whether or not a treatment is effective, and if if should be continued or ceased. Again, this type of observation allows for a non-intrusive method to monitor the progress of the treatment which is very healthy and helpful. 

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  28. This is an interesting finding and many things come to mind when I think about how this research could be helpful in future findings. I think as far as future research goes, one should consider both longitudinal and cross sectional research methods. A longitudinal study could involve young children that suffer from various mental disorders and measure their levels overtime to conclude if meditation is further successful in their treatment and if there is a reduction of anxiety and depression related disorders. As far as cross sectional studies, there are many options. It is interesting to note if there are any differences in results among different populations. For example, males from females, adults from children, different cultures, etc.
    In terms of possible treatment methods, one could measure how meditation alone as a treatment method differs if it were in conjunction with other treatment methods, such as medication, therapy, etc. In the current research, depression and anxiety levels were measured with meditation. It would be interesting to question whether there are differences among individuals with different mood disorders. If it is known that individuals with a decreased mood have enhances through meditation, what about those who do not have any predetermined disorder? Also, the individuals in the current study were instructed to meditate for one week with positive results. The next step could be to have a group of those continue to meditate and those who do not, in order to notice any possible changes in mood. Furthermore, if findings report that mood can be regulated with meditation, then it is important to note whether this is also apparent in your dreams, since dreaming is affected by your waking-day life. There are many different routes as to how this research could further develop and it is very interesting to learn about it.

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    1. I agree with Laurie in that continuing the studies longer, as well as across genders, ages, races, etc. would only further the extent of the knowledge behind the influence meditation has on dreams. Although, I wonder since children have to be dealt with differently than adults if the meditation would work as well for them. Children tend to be more hyper and less likely to be able to concentrate and stay still, thus I'm not sure that meditation would have an effect on children's dreams.
      Being able to meditate and alter dreams could certainly be beneficial to those who are feeling depressed. It would be interesting to interpret the dreams of those people who are feeling depressed, as well as depressed individuals who have partaken in the meditation research. It could be hypothesized that those who are depressed and have participated in meditation would improve in the mood and would show through their dream interpretations.

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    2. As some people have said in previous post I have also done some meditation through yoga. It is meant to help calm the mind and body and connect the two and allow you to become very in touch with yourself and your body. I can totally understand why people who were intructed to meditate twice a day had a mood change. Life now is very fast and there is always something that one can be doing. I honestly do not believe that people take enough time for themselves and to relax and destress. This is exactly what meditating requires you to do. Calm your mind and your body and in the long run I do believe it is one of the healthiest things you could do for yourself. The fact that the participants in the study experienced mood changes and in turn their dream imagery changed, speaks to how powerful taking time for yourself and to relax can be. This research on meditation, mood change and dream imagery can be helpful for the future so that dream therapist can use meditation has a suggestion for people who are experiencing negative or unwanted dream imagery. This could be a way of judging or evaluating how successful an individual is at mood control while in therapy. The implication for future research could be that meditation be a suggested form of therapy used not only in dream therapy but exploring the effects of meditation on those suffering from other mental illness'. It could also explore the effects of meditation on individuals who meditate for longer periods of time than 10 minutes or for an overall longer periood of time such as 6 months to a year versus a week. The long term effects of meditation on dream imagery, social emotional and physcial health could also continue to be explored

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  29. I agree with the previous post. The information provided does suggest that meditation is a useful tool for the treatment of mood and anxiety issues. By using meditation to treat mood and anxiety issues it eliminates the need for medication which in the long run can be very beneficial to the person. By eliminating the use of medication when treating anxiety and mood disorders it can also be beneficial to the person because it reduces the risk of one building up a tolerance to medication. By monitoring ones dreams it would also be very beneficial to the dreamer and clinician because when dreams are interpreted properly they can be the messenger for the body, like the previous post stated. By monitoring ones dreams it would be evident if meditation is a successful tool for the person to use and if it wasn't proving to be useful and beneficial to the individual this would also be evident in their dreams. Like the previous post stated this would also be a non intrusive way for clinicians to determine if meditation is effective for the treatment of the persons anxiety and mood disorders and if not they can adjust their plan of treatment accordingly.

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  30. I agree with the previous post. Eliminating the use of medication and replacing it with meditation when treating anxiety and mood disorders can be beneficial. Monitoring one's dreams can help determine whehter or not meditition is a valid replacement that is beneficial to this person.

    I also think it could be beneficial to maybe use medition in addition to medication to achieve the best results. I also believe that one week is nowhere near enough time to determine whether or not something has an effect on a person.

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  31. Emily Reavie (0487529)May 30, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    The fact that your waking day emotions can be altered by meditation is amazing. If your waking day emotions are changed positively then your dreams will reflect this change. The study that Nicolle Miller conducted tested the anxiety and depression levels of individuals. This shows big steps for future research because we can now present situations where people have known depression or anxiety disorders and this can help treat these people. Now that we know, through Nicolle’s research, that depression and anxiety levels decrease with the use of meditation – we can positively change emotions of people with these disorders. Medication could maybe even be replaced by meditation, if done properly. Larger studies where people par take in meditation would be very helpful for the future of this field. You could present three different groups of people: people who meditate daily, people who never meditate, and people who meditate occasionally. With these three groups, it will be discovered which one has the biggest impact on positive emotions and dreams. This is a very interesting subject that presents itself with many opportunities to continue to learn and discover new things.

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    1. Anxiety and depression affect a large number of individuals within present day society. Any knowledge to be gained in this field of study would be invaluable. I found your suggestion that meditation could replace medication interesting. It would remove any potential for medication side-effects. Furthermore, it is possible that this method would prove lighter on the patient's pocketbook. Medications require routine payment, but after meditation is properly learned it can be practiced without the assistance of therapist or the purchase of any product.

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  32. The fact that mood in dreams can be potentially regulated by meditation is extremely helpful in clinical dream research. I think the most important element of this finding is that the effects of meditation can be monitored by studying dream imagery. For instance it has been suggested that dream imagery of people with depression is dark, with inanimate objects and often times involved a re-occurring dream (Van de Castle, 1994). As therapy and meditation continued, however, dream imagery began to change for the patients. Dreams soon involved colour, light, human beings, social interactions and emotion. This change in dream imagery is an indication that a particular person is improving their depressive mood in waking life. Without this knowledge, it may be difficult to measure a patient’s improvement in mood. This relates to Carl Jung’s theory of “phylogenetic development”, whereby he states that it is important to place emphasis on the way a person’s life can mature, and that this can be seen through dream interpretations. Knowing that dream life and waking life mood have a working relationship, we can use dreams as a form of therapy in itself. For example, Carning used Kaleidoscopes and calming meditative sounds as a way to manipulate the dreams of people with depression and anxiety. Carning’s findings suggested that patients show improvement in depressive and anxious moods when their dream imagery was made more positive through the colour (Kaleidoscopes) and sounds. Ultimately it appears that there are many benefits to the relationship between mood and dream imagery, particularly in the clinical field of psychology.

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  33. First of all, I think it would be important to conduct further research to verify the primary findings of Nicolle Miller. This would be necessary because data was collected based on a single ‘before meditation’ and, presumably, a single ‘after meditation’ dream. It is possible that their mood change caused them to subconsciously remember a particular dream and discard the others (i.e. a positive mood therefore focus was placed on a positive dream, a negative mood therefore focus was placed on a dream with negative connotations), or that this mood change caused them to consciously select a dream for the study that correlated with their waking emotions. A change in mood may not have been reflected in the dream imagery it may have simply played a role in selection of the dreams used for Nicolle Miller’s study.

    After ensuring that the findings of Nicole Miller were accurate several steps could be taken further into the field of study. After linking meditation to moods in both waking life and dream imagery I would be interested to know what the most effective form of mediation is for altering moods. Should meditation style be catered to an individual based on their lifestyle? Personality type? A concrete method for determining the effectiveness of a meditation style on the individual should be developed.

    As well as meditation type I would further research whether two ten minute sessions of meditation per day is the magic number for all members of the general public. Would playing with the length and/or number of meditation sessions per week impact the results? Further knowledge in such areas would increase the effectiveness of meditation as a form of therapy. With this knowledge meditation styles could be catered to treat individuals with illnesses or disabilities, as well as the general public.

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  34. I agree with Heidi, further research is needed to confirm Nicolle’s finding. The question though I have is that, what is the sampling population, in terms of ethnicity, age group or culture background and the sampling size? Also, as Heidi mentioned, this study was conducted before and after single meditation and that may cause their mood changes which then led individuals to subconsciously remember particular dream but not all. The unconscious mind actively suppresses what can be revealed. According to Freud, manifest content of a dream is that which we remember the images or theme of the dream upon awaking. Latent content of a dream is that hidden or suppress.

    Meditation is a useful tool for relaxation. It would be very interesting to see the outcome of linking meditation and mood.

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  35. I also agree with the statements above. Although the research conducted by Nicholle serves as a great initial step, more research needs to be placed onto bigger and different sample sizes. In addition, the population that Nicolle included in the study were a specific group of individuals ( those suffering with depression and anxiety). It would be interesting if her study were conducted on a different population to observe if changes were as dramatic/significant.

    I think that future research should include cross cultural differences in meditation. In addition, it would be very interesting to see if there were more significant results in certain age groups or genders.

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    1. Maureen PartridgeJune 2, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      Great first steps for this area of research, and I am assuming that when it states, "Results showed that mood changed over one week and dream imagery also changed", that it means the results were a positive change in mood, and an improvement or increased development in dream imagery? Going on that assumption, it would be helpful to extend the study for a longer period of time, and for more than one dream. In addition, this finding would be helpful as further evidence that meditation is indeed an effective strategy for people dealing with anxiety and/or mood disorders. Many people are against taking prescription medication and are looking for other ways to ease their symptoms with these issues. "Next steps" for this research could include extending the time line to incorporate more dreams, thus collecting a stronger data pool. Also, possibly using a control group and placebo group (those taking medication for their anxiety/depression vs. those who are not) and comparing the effectiveness of the meditation with their levels of waking day anxiety/depression etc. I agree with looking at the other suggestions regarding age and gender, because certainly females experience mood highs and lows throughout the lifespan, with menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause. This area alone with anxiety/mood/depression issues would be a field unto itself to research the effectiveness of meditation, dream imagery and waking day mood.

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  36. I agree that having a broad sample group of participants is important. Reaching out beyond gender and perhaps into people with high levels of stress such as parents with ill children who are experiencing a lot of life changes or perhaps someone who has recently gone through divorce or death of a loved one would provide a very different sample.

    By gathering dream data before and after meditation has been implemented would allow researchers to determine what affect the meditation is having on the participates dreams and if this technique is providing them with a greater sense of interpretation for their dreams.

    Providing them with appropriate with interpretations of their dreams would be extremely beneficial to them as well as their well being.

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  37. The effect of meditation and creating calm within your mind I believe will ultimately lead to greater calm and better reflection in our daily lives. Perspectives on situations within our daily lives are reflective of our worldview, which is established by either constant negative thoughts or positive ones. Practicing the art of being still and stopping our thoughts for even 10 minutes will perhaps allow us to change our current way of thinking to help us see the bigger picture.

    This would be very beneficial to anyone experiencing depression or anxiety. Many people have Generalized Anxiety Disorder in our busy world nowadays and this type of retraining of the mind would be helpful in providing greater perspective, more positivity and ultimately more positive dreams.

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