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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Have you ever had an extremely vivid and realistic dream, and you wake up and wonder why you had that dream and if your subconscious mind is trying to tell you something? Well, surprise! It most likely is. According to Time Magazine, the ancient Egyptians thought of dreams as simply a different form of seeing, with trained dreamers serving as seers to help plan battles and make state decisions. The ancient Greeks and Romans also believed that dreams were equal parts of predictions of future events and visitations by the dead. So were they right? Do dreams represent another life perspective or indicator of the future? Over the past week, I decided to find some answers to my curiosity by partaking in extensive research to figure out what specific dreams may mean and how to effectively interpret them. 

Dreams About Falling

The idea that dreams have meaning is a controversial topic, just like horoscopes or personality types, and although I am no psychologist, I personally do believe that dreams have a deeper meaning. Once I think about or truly analyze the dreams that I experience, I realize that events in real life could attribute to that. To begin my research, I searched for the interpretation of a common dream I had as a kid—the one that feels like you’re falling and is ended by a jump scare the instance you wake up. 

I found that dreaming about falling ultimately represents fear. In his book, The Illustrated Dream Dictionary, author Russel Grant claims that “dreaming of falling is very common. It is a symbol of fear in real life—perhaps of failing at work or in your love life.” It is interesting to think that a dream about falling may literally be telling you that you feel like your life is literally falling apart, and there is a dire need of change. 

Dreams About Being Chased 

According to Richard Nicoletti, J.D., a psychotherapist who spoke for Huff Post, dreams about being chased mean that you are “being told by your unconsciousness that you’re avoiding an issue or a person.” Nicoletti also explains that the person you are essentially running from is important to analyze because that can help determine who or what you are subconsciously avoiding and running from, whether it be a person, animal or a situation.

It is important to understand what your subconscious may be trying to tell you because you can seriously benefit from first acknowledging the situation and then trying to work through those fears you possess that you maybe didn’t even know you had.  

Dreams About Being Lost 

If you tend to experience the dream of being lost, you may be feeling anxious and feeling that you are out of place in reality. According to HuffPost, “Dreams about being lost or searching for something that is lost usually denote anxiety. They evoke feelings of confusion and frustration, or even a sense of feeling you don’t fit in.” It is also important to take into consideration what exactly is lost in the dream. Are you lost in an unidentifiable place? Are you lost on a journey to somewhere? Or did you lose an object or person? There are different interpretations of those dreams. If you have lost your way in general, Learning Mind believes this might mean that “you have just started a new job, and you are worried you are not good enough.” Or maybe you moved to a new environment and are scared that you don’t belong. If you lost your way home, Learning Mind thinks this probably means that this specific dream “is about facing up to making a difficult decision in your life.” And if you have lost a loved one in a dream, you might carry a sense of guilt or anxiety towards them. 

Dreams About Flying 

Dreams about flying could mean a lot of things, but it’s important to analyze what is currently going on in your personal life to come to an accurate conclusion. Given your situations, HuffPost believes that a flying dream could represent “a sense of freedom or serve as a sort of escape from the pressures of the real world.” 

So you may be celebrating the feeling of freedom you are experiencing, or it may be the opposite: you might lack a sense of freedom or control in your life, and the only way you can escape that feeling and feel relentlessly free is in your dream. So as the Egyptians believe, this may be another perspective or even an indicator of the future (of what needs to change) as the Greeks and Romans believed.  

Dreams About Death

To my relief, I got reassured that dreams about dying does not ultimately represent the fear or prediction of death, but instead the ending of something. In my interpretation of the research, I put together that when you experience this intense dream, you might be going through an important transformation or new beginning in your life, and there needs to be a death of something before that is done—for example, the letting go of a specific person, habit or situation that is holding you back. Or maybe even the death of quality within yourself, with the need for an ego-death to take place before you can transform.

Take note of who or what died in your dream and if this is something that may be holding you back. It is important to remember that the myth of predicting others’ deaths in dreams is not exactly true. And a dream of someone dying, HuffPost says this “does not suggest that a person will actually die imminently,” so I don’t recommend running to your friends and warning them of their death because you saw it in a dream. Save their anxiety and work on your own.  

woman stretching in bed
Photo by Bruce Mars from Unsplash
But seriously, it’s time to understand where some of your subconscious fears and anxiety may come from because once you understand those fears, you can begin to work through things you didn’t even know was affecting you on a conscious level. Anyone curious about un-solving their personal mysteries through dreams should check out the Journaling app, Jour. Jour is an app that has multiple journaling prompts that allow you to start your day well, work through challenges and write down your envisions for your future.

One important feature that Jour has is the “Dream Journal” that asks you what your dream was about, how you felt waking up and what your dream could be telling you. It has allowed me to fully analyze my dreams, and I have found that after I write about them, I tend to not have the same recurring dreams because I have prioritized trying to find out what my subconscious mind is trying to tell me, leaving me to better understand myself as a whole.

I hope you embark on the same journey of searching for the hidden meanings in your dreams because you would be surprised by how much you will learn. You will also begin to understand that you have the power to work through and end any form of anxiety hidden in your dreams that has been holding you back from your full potential. 

Caroline Stoaks is a passionate writer for Her Campus. She's currently planning on majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism. She enjoys running on her free time, any type of art, writing, and relaxing days on the beach.
Mary McLean (née Moody) is an avid writer and is the former Editor in Chief of Her Campus at VCU. She wrote diligently for Her Campus at VCU for two years and was the Editor in Chief for three years. You can find her work here! She double majored in Political Science and History at Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated in 2022. She loves her son, Peter, and her cat Sully. You can find her looking at memes all night and chugging Monster in the morning with her husband!