November 1, 2021

The Science Behind Dreamfully

Learn about the core, evidence-based components that comprise Dreamfully's wellness solution.

Dreamfully works with leading mental health professionals, psychologists, mindfulness  experts, tech creatives, and more to carefully integrate each key component.

Mindfulness is defined as the process of openly attending, with awareness, to one’s experience in the present moment (Creswell, 2017). Incorporating mindfulness practices has been proven to improve our physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. Physically, incorporating mindfulness enhances the human immune system, which plays a central role in protecting the body from pathogens and infectious agents (Malarkey et al. 2013; Rosenkranz et al. 2013). Research also indicates numerous correlations with mindfulness practices and improvements in psychological health and brain function (Keng et al., 2011). In a sample of 260 participants, Lykens & Baer (2009) identified prominent correlations between high levels of mindfulness and significantly lower levels of depression symptoms such as rumination, thought suppression, and difficulties with emotion regulation. Neuroimaging studies have also demonstrated the pronounced impact of mindfulness on brain functioning. In Creswell et al. (2007), researchers found that mindfulness reduced the activity in the fear center of the brain while promoting activity in the attention center of the brain (Creswell et al. 2007). This suggests that individuals with a mindfulness practice cultivate higher levels of psychological well-being, emotional resilience, and can even influence healthy brain activity.

Mindfulness is intrinsically integrated into each Dreamfully session by curating an experience that gently activates a user’s senses through imagery, guided somatic breathing techniques, and an invitation to receive a positive affirming message.

Breathwork is mindful, controlled breathing done especially for relaxation, meditation, or therapeutic purposes. The use of breathwork exercises can dramatically one’s improve mental health and the physiological consequences of stress (Zaccaro et al., 2018). According to research published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, psychological improvements as a result of breathwork included reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in addition to enhanced feelings of calmness and relaxation (Zaccaro et al., 2018). Research shows a significant correlation between breathwork and improvements in physiological markers of stress that include cortisol levels, heart rate variability (HRV), and autonomic nervous system functioning (Russo et al., 2017). Additionally, researchers Russo et al. (2017) discovered a profound effect on the activity of the vagus nerve, a fundamental component of regulating stress responses. These physiological and psychological responses are remarkable — and they stem from a simple practice that is available to almost everyone at any time.

Breathwork is a core practice of Dreamfully. In each Dream session, users are led through visually-guided breathing exercises with a carefully-designed, intentional tempo of inhalations, pauses, and exhalations designed to elicit a desirable physiological response and improved emotional experience reflective of the user’s Dream selection or varying needs.

Self-affirmations are actions that  demonstrate an agreement in the value of one’s self (Cohen & Sherman, 2014). Affirmations can improve problem solving performance, self-competence, awareness, and self-worth (Creswell et al., 2013). In the Journal of Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, Cascio et al. (2015) determined that self-affirmations can restore feelings of self-competence by allowing individuals to reflect on sources of self-worth, such as their core values. Within the brain, affirmations increase activity in the regions associated with self-processing and valuation systems (Cascio et al., 2015). With phrases like “you are loved”, or “within you lies an ever-flowing well of unbreakable strength”, self-affirmations often feel very personal, and are a relatively easy practice that can provide real therapeutic results.

Dreamfully incorporates affirmations as optional audio features as well as in the concluding message of each Dream session. This is used to strengthen the user’s brain pathways that  will retain the enhanced sense of self


CITED SOURCES

Cascio, C. N., O’Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Strecher, V. J., & Falk, E. B. (2015). Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(4), 621–629. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv136

Cohen, G. L., & Sherman, D. K. (2014). The Psychology of Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention. Annual Review of Psychology, 65(1), 333–371. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115137

Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mindfulness Interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68(1), 491–516. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-042716-051139

Creswell, J. D., Dutcher, J. M., Klein, W. M. P., Harris, P. R., & Levine, J. M. (2013). Self-Affirmation Improves Problem-Solving under Stress. PLoS ONE, 8(5), e62593. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062593

Creswel, J. D., Way, B. M., Eisenberger, N. I., & Lieberman, M. D. (2007). Neural correlates of dispositional mindfulness during affect labeling. Psychosomatic Medicine, 69, 560–565.

Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1041–1056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006

Lykins, E., & Baer, R. A. (2009). Psychological functioning in a sample of long-term practitioners of mindfulness meditation. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 23, 226–241.

Malarkey, W. B., Jarjoura, D., & Klatt, M. (2013). Workplace based mindfulness practice and inflammation: A randomized trial. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 27, 145–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.009

Rosenkranz, M. A., Davidson, R. J., MacCoon, D. G., Sheridan, J. F., Kalin, N. H., & Lutz, A. (2013). A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 27, 174–184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.013