The Meaning of Dreams

I am one of those people who dream almost every night. I have vivid, memorable, strange, and most often terrifying dreams. Since I was about twelve, I started to get nightmares, and five times out of ten I experience pain as well. For example, if I break my leg in my dream I can feel that pain as if my leg really broke. Sometimes the pain may be so strong that I wake up, and when I do the pain becomes bearable and then escapes me within a minute. This is something that has had me questioning my dreams and what it means for me to so often have nightmares.  Thanks to Vice analyzing a long study done in 1998, The nature and prevalence of pain in dreamsit is stated that it isn’t out of the ordinary to experience pain when dreaming. It can be argued that all forms of pain are ‘in your head’ because it is the pain receptors in your brain that cause you to feel pain in specific areas of your body. When you are awake and you hit your hip on a table corner, your pain receptors are activated in your peripheral nervous system, then you experience pain, however, it’s still your brain telling your body were to make you feel that pain. When you’re sleeping you obviously can’t see and you’re not actively aware of outside noise. Due to the sensory regions of the brain becoming active you are able to experience dreaming without outside influence. This is the same reason why people can feel pain in dreams as well. 

Now, you don’t have to experience pain to question your dreams and The National Sleep Foundation has some answers that may help you with your sense of wonder. 

  • Dreaming that you’re physically exposed in a public place could mean that you’re unprepared, insecure about certain abilities or aspects in your life, and you could be feeling embarrassment or shamefulness. 
    • I think dreams like this could mean nothing, however, if they are bringing you a reoccurring feeling then it may be time to look deeper and analyze some aspects of your life that could use some positive change! 
  • Dreaming that you’re flying or in control of something could mean that you recently won a metaphorical battle in your life or just experienced a positive life change! 
    • Keep doing great things and believe in yourself through it all. 
  • Dreaming that you’re being followed, chased, you can’t get out or away from something, or you're experiencing a nightmare could mean you’re avoiding, in denial, angry, or afraid of something in your life.
    • When you are stressed it is so easy to have frightening and suspenseful dreams. Take some time to analyze big events and important relationships in your life. Is there anything that you’re holding back on saying? Are you upset with someone? Are you unhappy at your job? Do you feel unfulfilled? 

Not all dreams have meanings and sometimes it’s just your brain working through old feelings. Sometimes dreams are based on a movie you fell asleep watching, or a book you read earlier in the day, even a conversation you could’ve had on the phone. If you experience nightmares or a wacky dream, it doesn’t mean something all of the time. Everybody is different and dreams can be cool. Try keeping a dream journal by your bed to write down what you remember each day when you wake up . . . it makes for a great read down the road!