Everyone dreams. Sometimes you may remember your dreams, while other times they slip away before you are even fully awake. But not remembering your dreams does not mean that you aren’t having any. Everyone dreams.
Dream interpretation has been studied since ancient times. Far before humans even had the capacity, let alone the means, to understand the purpose and meaning of their dreams, they still knew that there was something important about these stories that their minds were trying to tell them. Ancient people often saw dreams as a form of prophecy or a message from the gods.
In the recent past, dream interpretation got bundled in with things like past life regression, fortune-telling and tarot cards; however, modern-day science now knows that dreams really do mean something and that understanding them can produce valuable insights into an individual’s psyche. Here is some basic information on dreams and their possible meanings.
The Science of Dreaming
The neurobiology of dreaming is far too complex to go into here, but there are physiological processes that appear to rely on dreaming to function. From a psychological perspective, the most common dreams are the result of the brain attempting to integrate information that it has been exposed to and to process thoughts and emotions that have been left unexplored, unresolved or unacknowledged.
Different Types of Dreams
There are several types of dreams that have been experienced widely. While the interpretation of dreams can be quite individual, types of dreams are shared commonly.
Lucid dreams are when you are aware that you are dreaming while the dream is occurring. Although as many as 60% of people will have a lucid dream in their lives, they occur infrequently. It is thought that perhaps these dreams occur to give your conscious mind the opportunity to integrate with the subconscious. With training, you have an opportunity to influence a lucid dream and change its outcome.
Problem-solving dreams are rather famous. Throughout history, men and women have spoken about going to sleep pondering a problem and waking with the answer clearly in their minds.
Prophetic dreams are only recognized after the fact, but they are relatively common. You dream about something, and sometime later in life that thing actually occurs. Scientists would posit that this is a self-created prophecy; that our minds conjure up images and answers that are predictive of choices we would logically make anyway. They also put forward that we can be influenced in our choices by the dream itself, with the dream making it more likely that we will mirror an event in reality which we have already seen in a dream.
False awakening dreams are when you are dreaming and within the dream itself you wake up. You are not truly awake, but the mind thinks you are, which can cause intense feelings of confusion and disorientation when you really wake up later on.
Common Dream Symbolism
Dreams are very subjective and what means one thing to one person may very well mean something completely different to others. There are, however, some symbols that are common enough to discuss here.
- Falling dreams are extremely common and are often signs of anxiety or insecurity. They stem from feeling as though you are out of control of something in your life.
- Dreams of teeth falling out or being unable to speak can indicate that you are feeling as though you are not being allowed to communicate freely, or that you are having negative emotions towards your own appearance.
- Being chased in a dream or nightmares is another common occurrence. Not surprisingly, these dreams often indicate that there is something that you are avoiding that needs to be addressed.
- Dreams where you cannot move can indicate a feeling of powerlessness over some part of your life; the feeling that no matter what you do, it’s not enough.
The science of sleeping and dreaming is evolving rapidly and will continue to provide insight into the workings of human minds. What we can know for certain, is that dreams really do mean something and there is real value in taking the time to comprehend the meaning behind the dreams you are having.