Have you very woken up from a nightmare, or felt great all day from a good dream that you had?
Dreams are not just a figment of your imagination... dreams very frequently have messages for us. They are the voice of your unconscious mind speaking to you – by sending you little emotionally charged movies, made by yourself – by your deepest inner mind. Isn’t it amazing?
Even the most mundane dreams will have a message about our waking lives so they are a valuable way of working with yourself and improving your life on a deeper level.
Does everyone dream?
Most people have around three to five dreams a night, but not everyone is able to remember all of their dreams all the time.
And to be very clear: only YOU can interpret the meaning of your dreams; regardless of what "dream experts" say. Because your mind is unique, just like you.
Different kinds of dreams - and common dreams
There are many different kinds of dreams.
For example, there are those kinds of dreams that symbolize that there's anxiety and a perceived lack of control in waking life, such as dreams about falling, or being somewhat out of control, like losing control of your car. Or dreams of being chased, which is a very stressful anxiety dream.
Then we have dreams, which most people would find pleasant. For example flying dreams, which could symbolize that we're really happy with the way things are going or on top of the world. What the dream might mean for you depend on what you are feeling in that dream though. More about that later.
Other common dreams are dreams about death. These might represent change and transformation, or the ending of something.
And then there are of course, nightmares. Nightmares really have increased intensity and vividness as a way to attract our attention, when we're not getting the message in our ordinary dreams.
If you are troubled by recurring dreams or nightmares that cause you anxiety or fear you might choose to get help.
Nightmares can be really exaggerating a certain issue and intensify a message that is important. Some dreams try to warn us about a course of action, and some people even have dreams that foretell events.
Some of us have lucid dreams, which are dreams where the dreamer knows that they are in a dream…
So how can you use your dreams to improve your life?
Firstly, to start working with your dreams it is a good idea to pay attention to them and record them. This will signal to your dreaming mind that it has your attention and it will help you more.
Working with your dreams allows you to directly engage with the most powerful part of your mind; the part that is unconscious, and knows a lot more about you than your conscious mind. This is because your conscious mind can only hold so much information at once; then it becomes overwhelmed. It’s like your unconscious mind is a super storage of all sort of relevant information.
For example, your unconscious mind might make sure you wake up before your alarm clock. Or it might give you a “gut feeling” about a person; even though consciously you are not aware where this comes from.
How to improve decision making through working with your dreams
So very often in dreams your unconscious mind will try to bring information into your awareness about issues you are dealing with in your daily life. This in turn might lead to a more holistic decision or course of action.
You could test this by giving your mind the task of helping you to make a decision. Simply write down the question in your mind before you go to sleep at night.
Say for example, you are thinking about choosing a career. Your conscious mind might say: law is a really good career – it provides a lot of opportunities to travel and make money, and that’s what most people want - it’s great. Your family might agree with that.
You might write down: as I sleep tonight I am asking my mind to show me the best career choice for me in my dreams, and to remember it when I wake up.
Then you might have a dream that reminds you of other things that are also important to you about choosing a career that you had not even thought of; such as your love for animals, children or something like that.
Your unconscious mind is likely to bring this to you in a dream that brings up strong emotions; if the action or decision is important or urgent.
Again, only YOU really know what your dreams might mean, so no one can give you an interpretation of your dreams, but here are some guidelines.
What do the symbols, dream images, story and emotions remind me of?
How would I describe the symbols and what happened to someone who knows nothing about these images, or my life?
What was I feeling in the dream?
What similarities can I see in my waking life to what happened in the dream?
What new insights are the images, emotions and story of the dream showing me that I had not considered in relation to this topic?
Give your dreams a chance to speak to you. It will help you create a happier life.