Every night whilst we are asleep, our mind has a dream or series of dreams.
So what do different dreams mean?
Dreams are images and imagery, thoughts, sounds and voices, and subjective sensations experienced when we sleep. This can include people you know, people you’ve never met, places you’ve been, and places you’ve never even heard of.
There’s no limit to what the mind can experience during a dream and really no rhyme or reason to what you end up dreaming about. Stresses in waking life can manifest in dreams plainly or be cleverly disguised with imagery.
Dreams can happen at any time during sleep. But you have your most vivid dreams during a phase called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, when your brain is most active. Some experts say we dream at least four to six times a night
What do different dreams mean?
Just as there are different opinions about why we dream, there are different views about what dreams mean. Some experts say dreams have no connection to our real emotions or thoughts. They’re just strange stories that don’t relate to normal life.
Others say our dreams may reflect our own thoughts and feelings — our deepest desires, fears, and concerns, especially dreams that happen over and over. By interpreting our dreams, we may gain insight into our lives and ourselves. Many people say they’ve come up with their best ideas while dreaming.
Dreams help us regulate, analyze, explain and remember recent events in our lives, in a kind of “mental housekeeping” process. Most dreams are based in large part on everyday experiences from recent days, suggesting that at least part of their function is to help the brain sort through and make sense of recent real-life experiences.
One way dreams help us is by resolving some of our emotional problems and inconsistencies arising from our daily activities, as well as aiding in mood regulation. Interestingly, some recent research based on dream reports has found that sleepers tend to report more negative emotions when woken during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than during non-REM sleep, suggesting that REM sleep may produce more negative dreams.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common dreams and what some of the most popular dream interpretation books have to say about them.
1.) Dreaming about falling
Dreams about falling from great heights are very common. While there is a popular myth that if you hit the ground in your dream you will die in real life, it simply is not true. So what exactly could dreams about falling really mean?
According to many popular dream interpretations and at least one study, falling dreams are a sign that something in your life isn’t going well.2 It might suggest that you need to rethink a choice or consider a new direction in some area of your life.
“Dreaming of falling is very common. It is a symbol of fear in real life – perhaps of failing at work or in your love life,” claims Russell Grant, author of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary. “Falling often expresses a need to let yourself go more and enjoy life more.”
2.) Dreaming of your partner cheating
Dreaming that your spouse or romantic partner is cheating on you with someone else can be incredibly distressing. In some cases, people even start to wonder if the dream might really be true. Does dreaming that your partner is unfaithful mean that it might happen? Or that it is already happening?
Eve Adamson and Gayle Williamson, authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide Dream Dictionary, posit that such dreams about infidelity indicate issues with trust, loyalty, and communication in a relationship. “If you or your partner cheated in your dream, one of you isn’t getting what you need from that relationship right now,” they write
3.) Dreaming about flying
Dreams about flying are experienced by many. 4Theycan be exciting and even liberating but they can sometimes be quite frightening (especially for those afraid of heights). According to Tony Crisp, author of Dream Dictionary, dreams about flying often represent two very different sides. On the one hand, such dreams can represent feelings of freedom and independence. On the other hand, they can also indicate a desire to flee or escape from the realities of life.
“Flying alone occurs most frequently,” he writes, “showing the independent aspect of flying. But because it often involves positive feelings of pleasure, flying may depict our sexuality…especially aspects of it expressing freedom from social norms and restraints.”
4.) Dreaming of an accident
A car accident dream may represent the fact that you are driving yourself too hard.If someone else is injured in an accident it can show that you are not responsible for their actions in real life
If a family member or someone emotionally important to you is injured in an accident this may represent a part of your own emotional make up that feels hurt. It may also represent your own feelings towards that person.
To dream of a train wreck suggests that your plans have gone wrong. Emotionally you have ‘gone off the rails’.
A ship wreck or accident at sea also symbolizes plans going wrong but the water element in the dream may suggest that these are emotional plans such as a relationship problem. To be overwhelmed by water is to be overwhelmed by emotions.
Dreams about accidents in the home may reveal that tension is building in your home life.
Accidents such as breaking things may show a new direction – a break with the past. It can also show your disappointment about something in your life that has been destroyed.
Slipping up may be a dream pun that shows that in real life you have made a mistake – a ‘slip up
5.) Dreaming of teeth falling out
Dreaming of teeth falling out may represent insecurity. These dreams often occur at a time of transition between one phase of life and another. When we lost our milk teeth, we also gradually lost our childhood innocence. Loosing your teeth therefore show that today you have similar feelings of uncertainty and self-consciousness as you did in childhood. The dream could also highlight your worries about getting older or your sexual attractiveness. Consider what problems and cjanges are facing you at this time. Your dream may be highlighting your fears but may also have some hidden solutions to your worries.
Dreams about teeth falling out could also symbolize the problems associated with having to make a compromise. Perhaps you feel that you are not getting a good deal and there could be something happening in your life that creates a sense of disharmony? This is a common dream that often occurs when we are faced with difficult decisions but we have limited options and choices available to us. The metaphoric language and imagery of this dream points to your inner fears about making changes in your life.
6.) Dreaming of death
Dreams of dead animals represent instinctive aspects of yourself that are not finding expression. The type of animal can represent various aspects of yourself. For example a dead dog can represent the death of loyalty, a dead bird can show the death of your sense of freedom, a dead horse may show the death of your health and strength, a dead cow can represent the death of your motherly feelings and the need to nurture. In each case the symbol may represent something that has a specific meaning for you personally.
.Dreams about a dead family member may show aspects of your emotions that have ‘died’. A dead mother may show that your own motherly feelings are repressed (like the cow symbol above) a dead father may show your loss of authority. Remember to look for symbolic meanings before you worry yourself thinking that all these types of dreams are premonitions.
The death of a loved one may show that you are lacking their qualities.To see someone dying in your dream can sometimes reveal feelings of resentment towards that person.To dream that you die or are dying shows inner changes, transformation within you. In real life you may have worries about embarking on a new course of self-discovery and positive development.
Sometimes dreams about death can symbolize the fact that you have very painful and troubling relationships and can represent your feelings of despair and depression.
7.) Dreaming of being chased
This is one of the most commonly reported dreams. Mostly because the anxiety we feel in the dream is so vivid, that it makes it easier for us to remember them. Often, the reason for these dreams comes not from the fear of actually being chased, but rather what we’re running from. Chase dreams help us to understand that we may not be addressing something in our waking lives that requires our attention.
8,) Dreaming of sex
Sex in dreams can simply be an outlet for sexual expression. But dreams about sex can also symbolize intimate connections with one’s self and others, and the figurative integration of new information.
Despite the commonality shared by many dream symbols, it is important to point out that only the dreamer can truly interpret the meaning of their dream and how these symbols and their meanings may connect to the specific events occurring in their waking life.
What different dreams have you been having lately?
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