If you’re like me then you don’t really think about your dreams (or even remember them) unless you dream about something unsettling; and immediately try to find the ‘meaning’ behind them.
So what are dreams? Where do they come from? And can you even control them?
Dreams are a series of stories, images and sensations that we create in our minds while we are asleep. Our dreams are often thought to be nonsensical and seemingly meaningless.
However, dreams are anything but.
Some experts describe dreams as internal therapists. Your dreams can be a way of helping you confront emotional drama in your life.
Dream therapist and interpreter Matthew Bowes, described the process of dreaming.
“Throughout the day the unconscious picks up images and borrows them as symbols which are disguising a hidden content, the unconscious is essentially a thief and picks up images in the day”.
These images are somehow resident with feelings you’re having or you’re trying to work through or things that are pressing and going on in the background.
“Dreams are just another form of thinking, a significant portion of dreams are thinking about your concerns,” Bowes noted.
Whether it’s an existential crisis like a fear of the future, stress at work or concerns about your relationships and how people perceive you, dreams can help you sort through those emotions. A lot of dreams are very sophisticated problem solving.
A study carried out by the University of Cardiff, found that frustrations and emotions associated with unfulfilled psychological needs influenced the themes in people’s dreams. People who were frustrated with their daily situation tended to have recurring dreams in which they were falling, failing or being attacked.
Dreams can also help facilitate our creative tendencies. Bowes stated “when you dream your ordinary pathways of association are completely blown apart”.
Artists of all walks of life, credit their dreams for inspiring some of their most creative breakthroughs.
Matthew Walker explored this theory in an experiment in his book ‘Why We Sleep’. He found that people in REM sleep are more efficient at solving problems or anagrams than people who are awake.
Unsurprisingly, you can’t control your dreams, “that’s one of the wonderful things about them,” exclaimed Bowes. “Dreams are beyond conscious control, you might think you have things sorted but your dream comes along and lets you know you don’t”.
The good thing is you don’t need a dream specialist to start interpreting your dreams. You can do it yourself with resources online. However, it’s best to interpret dreams with another person, when interpreting by yourself there is a tendency to lead yourself down a track you already know. Working with someone you know and trust will help you see things that are out of your awareness.