Sleep – a glorious, but often elusive, time of relaxation for the body and mind – is something we all long for and spend time trying to improve by setting healthy bedtime routines and, in a perfect world (but definitely not mine!), limiting caffeine and screen time in the evenings.
While I have many friends who struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep, I personally find it easy to drift off. But what happens during those precious hours of slumber can often be unsettling – and certainly not restful. Dreams – whether you remember them or not – are an important element in our well-being, and can even provide a healing power, if you let them!
Dreaming is actually vital to your emotional health, and, if you pay attention, can expand ideas and issues you are dealing with during your waking hours. Even the shortest and simplest dreams can remind us something about ourselves, and may be our subconscious stirring us to move in a certain direction. No matter how perplexing, think of a detailed dream as a gift you’ve been given, to see a certain situation in your life more clearly, or steer you towards a life-changing action you didn’t even know you needed.
Do any of these common themes sound familiar?
Changing Clothes: If you change outfits frequently in your dreams (or you’re always searching for the perfect pair of shoes), your dream may be focusing on something you want to change about yourself, or even focusing on a new life role. This one definitely hits home!
Recurring Setting: Every person and location in your dreams can represent a different part of yourself. If you continually dream about a certain house or building, it may represent an event in your life you are trying to reconcile. If you eventually dream of seeing the site destroyed, you may have finally allowed yourself to let go of the negative emotions associated with it. I have one insightful friend who constantly dreamed of a white farmhouse through the years, until one day her dreams found her setting the house on fire. As part of her own healing process, she was destroying the site of an unpleasant event from her childhood.
Carrying Many Bags: If your dreams include you grasping for several bags at once and struggling to carry them all, chalk it up to the fact that you are probably carrying too many burdens in real life that aren’t yours to carry. Trying to pick up too many items at once can also signify an overload in your daily life – too much to do and not enough time. Maybe now is the time to lighten your daily – and emotional – load!
Falling: A common dream scenario, dreaming of falling can mean you’re focused on something that just isn’t going to work out the way you planned. Relax and regroup!
Being Lost: If you find yourself continuously lost in your nightly dreams, it may indicate you feel you don’t fit in with your current situation – be it a relationship or a career. Running away in a dream may mean you are trying to avoid an issue in real life you’d prefer not to deal with.
Reliving School Stress: Who hasn’t had this one? It’s pretty clear you’re feeling unprepared if you dream of missing a college exam, being late for a class or test, or not remembering the correct classroom. You are definitely not alone if this is your most common recurring dream!
I’ve noticed my own dreams usually blend different areas of my life – past and present – often in the same setting, which isn’t unusual, since dreams may rearrange the events or people slightly, to offer a new perspective.
If you want to take a closer look at your dream themes, experts suggest keeping a journal at your bedside – even if you only remember snippets of a dream, or flashes of something familiar. Sharing your dreams with a friend is also a good way to sift through recurring themes. Chances are good you’ll learn something new about yourself!