Do you ever have crazy dreams you think can’t possibly relate to your life? In fact, research shows the content of your dreams has a stronger connection to your waking life than it may first appear.
You dream during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. The emotional and visual parts of your brain are very active during REM sleep. Whereas, the frontal lobe that oversees functions like rational thought and impulse control is nearly absent.
This means inhibitions and self-control are almost non-existent in dreams, so you can experience the world without constraints. Dreams allow you to see aspects of yourself that your normal waking brain keeps under wraps.
Interestingly, certain dream themes are also found to be nearly universal and experienced by all people regardless of gender, age, time, culture or geographical region.
These are some of the most commonly reported dream themes, and what they could be saying about your waking life.
Being Chased or Afraid
Examples: Being pursued by others, or being frozen by fear.
You’re avoiding someone or some issue in your life. What or who is chasing or frightening you is important. For example, an animal could mean you’re running from your wild passions or anger. A person could mean you’re avoiding love or intimacy.
And if you’re doing the chasing, it could show something you currently want to pursue.
Sexual and Body Situations
Examples: Sexual experiences, being nude or inappropriately dressed, looking for or using a toilet.
Don’t assume sexual dreams are only about sex. They can often symbolize problems, desires and hopes in all areas of your life. If, for example, you have sex with an acquaintance, it may simply mean you admire them or wish you had some of their personal qualities. Or having sex with a celebrity could mean you want more attention in your own life.
Other body-focused dreams can also have deeper meaning. Dreaming about being nude in public can relate to feelings of embarrassment about something other people don’t know about you. And searching for a toilet can express a desire to care for yourself.
Flying and Falling
Examples: Soaring through the air, falling or being on the verge of falling.
Flying dreams often have an exhilarating sense of freedom. They can suggest that you’ve handled a stressful situation and the pressure is now lifting. You may have dealt with a relationship problem that was weighing on you, or a work or home issue. You’re likely feeling more positive about life and you’re ready stretch your wings again.
On the other hand, a falling dream suggests you’re losing control and starting to feel overwhelmed.
Examples: Vividly sensing a presence, being half awake and paralyzed, trying to do something again and again, or seeing a face very close.
Being constricted in some way in a dream often relates to confusion or uncertainty about what to do in a life situation. You may also be afraid of expressing difficult emotions, such as fear, sadness or anger.
Death and Murder
Examples: Being physically attacked or killed, seeing yourself as dead, seeing a person who is now alive as dead, or killing someone.
Dreams featuring death themes can be a way to deal with your deeper fears and emotions surrounding your own eventual death, the death of loved ones and grief in general. They can also symbolize the ending of a relationship, project or other event.
Killing someone suggests you’re repressing or stopping some aspect of yourself, such as your love for an unavailable person.
Examples: Eating delicious foods, swimming, finding money, seeing a person who is now dead as alive, seeing yourself in a mirror or being a child again.
These types of dreams are often fulfilling a simple need for fantasy or enjoyment in your life. If you aren’t having enough enjoyment in your waking life, consider incorporating more of what you see in your dreams. They might be suggesting you need to liven things up a bit.
Examples: Experiencing a fire, strong winds, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes or seeing something crash into the earth.
Fear of the future can fuel disaster dreams. The type of disaster you experience may relate to areas in your life where you feel anxious or out of control. For example, fire can symbolize the destruction of one area of your life and the beginning of something new. Or a flood may represent repressed emotions that are threatening to overwhelm you.
Examples: Encountering insects, spiders or other creepy crawlers.
Critters in your dreams can represent things that are annoying or bugging you. What’s happening with the bugs in your dream? If you’re trying to sweep them under the carpet or avoid them, it can mean you’re trying to avoid the annoyance in your life. Try to find out what annoyance the bugs may represent and deal with it out in the open.
Examples: Failing an exam, or arriving too late for a bus, train, meeting, etc.
Failing often means you feel challenged by a life circumstance. Have a close look at what you’re failing. For instance, if you’re rushing to make a travel connection, where are you trying to go? If you’re trying to catch the bus to work, it may mean you feel you’re falling behind at work. Or if you’re late for a date with your partner, you may feel your relationship isn’t deep enough.
Examples: Having super powers (other than flying) or superior mental ability or discovering a new room.
Possessing great mental or other powers in a dream may be your subconscious suggesting you already have the inner strength and abilities you need to achieve your dreams.
Finding a door into a new room in your house or somewhere else is often symbolic of an inner part of yourself opening up for discovery. It may also highlight previously hidden fears, traits or abilities. For example, finding a room filled with artwork may mean you want to get back into painting.
Examples: Losing something valuable to you, or teeth falling out.
Dreams of loss may be referring to a few different situations in your life. They may be symbolic of a transition you’re going through where something must be lost to gain something new. They can point to feelings of insecurity about something, such as your appearance or self-worth. You also may be grieving the loss of someone in your life, or symbolically the loss of part of yourself during times of change.
Examples: Seeing a UFO or extra-terrestrials, or travelling to another planet.
An alien or UFO can represent a part of your psyche or situation that is unfamiliar to you. You may have started a new job where you feel alienated or out of place. Or sometimes you may feel emotionally on a different planet than everyone else.
Examples: Seeing wild, violent beasts or creatures that are part animal and part human.
These are often horrible, nightmarish dreams. The beasts can be a combination of many different associations and fears. They typically represent inner drives, parts of our nature that have been repressed or past hurts that are painful to face. When possible, it’s recommended to turn around in your dream and face the beasts. This often makes them disappear.