There have been times I have woken up in the morning and remembered whatever I had been dreaming about, only to wish I had forgotten. I’m sure all of you have been there before. This is why there are so many books, websites and people dedicated to helping interpret what our dreams really mean. Did you know, though, that your dreams can tell a lot about your current state of mind or even your mood?
Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett says that dreams are “an extremely rich source of practical advice, and other alternatives about what we’re doing in our lives. They’re just coming from such a different part of ourselves that they’re a very good supplement to our waking, rational thinking.” Deirdre has written two books on the subject: The Committee of Sleep and Trauma and Dreams.
Your dreams can tell you a lot if you know where to look. Experts say that a dream about taking an exam in school and failing it (even as an adult who isn’t in school) can signify anxiety about being judged, or of being in a situation you don’t know how to handle. People also commonly have dreams in which they are naked in public, associated with feeling exposed or ashamed. This could signal that the dreamer feels socially inadequate in some way.
Dr. Judith Orloff is the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California in Los Angeles. Dr. Orloff says that nightmares can shed light into the dark areas of people’s lives. Dreams can confront you with whatever you’re afraid of the most. You can also use them to work through underlying problems that you may not even be aware of. She had “one patient who repeatedly dreamed she was being chased on a cliff by an “evil pursuer” who was going to hurt her. The patient and psychologist figured out that the pursuer represented the woman’s abusive father. After working through it, the nightmare did not repeat.”
Some experts suggest that if you’re facing a difficult decision in your life you should ask yourself questions about it just prior to falling asleep. This may help you dream about the situation and possible outcomes. There are many documented cases where people have gotten help they desperately needed after recalling a dream. One physician had such an experience. He had been trying to quit smoking, but could not. He dreamed one night that he had coughed up pink sputum, which is indicative of cancer. When he woke up the next morning, he was so devastated by the mere thought of this particular outcome that he never touched another cigarette in his life.
Don’t stress yourself out if you cannot remember your dreams: few people ever do. Many will swear that they don’t dream at all. Dreams are often hard to remember, the things in them can have many different meanings. Trust your thought process when you’re awake, but don’t ignore the ones that go on inside your pretty little head when you’re asleep. Listen to that intuitive side whenever possible.