Have you ever woken up from a vivid dream and thought, “What in the world is in my head that made me dream that?!!? Many sleep studies cited online recently indicate that more people are having more disturbing dreams.
You may know me as a quirky blogger that writes funny stuff, but I also have a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and was a therapist for many years. I figured that rather than just hoping for a few chuckles at my usual jokes, it might be nice if I contributed something helpful to the online community. This is by no means a dissertation on dream interpretation, but it is a short summary of some of the basics so that you can learn a little bit about yourself through your dreams.
1. The Two Types of Dreams:
Type 1 dreams: Brain maintenance: Have you ever woken up from a dream and thought something like, “Why the heck did I just dream about running into Aunt Louise on a date with George Clooney at that new restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to? During the course of our day our brain absorbs billions of sights, sounds, tastes, experiences etc. Despite the billions of brain cells that we have, it’s impossible for us to store information on every single iota of our daily experiences. Some dreams are just our brains taking out the trash.
Let’s look at that dream about Aunt Louise. If you look back on the day before you may have seen your Aunt pop up in your Facebook feed. Later in the day your friend mentioned that new local restaurant you want to try. Then just before you went to bed you saw an old George Clooney movie as you scrolled through Netflix. During the night while you sleep, your brain is sorting through all the new information and deciding whether or not it is worth storing in your long term memory. I’m guessing your Aunt’s Facebook post and the George Clooney movie did not make the long term memory cut, but the name of that new restaurant did.
Type 2 dreams: Emotional Processing: Have you ever had a weird dream in which you were very anxious, fearful, or upset? Lots of people have dreams about being in public naked or in their underwear. Some of us dream about being chased and despite the threat we can only run soooo sloooow. Or, you may dream about falling. These kind of dreams can be unsettling and you may not know why your brain decided to upset you like that.
These dreams are your brains way of trying to process and maybe provide a solution to a situation that is upsetting you in real life. When you have an emotionally upsetting dream, think about a current, ongoing situation your life that elicits similar feelings. For instance, dreams about being naked or partially clothed may be related to fears that you’re not good enough at your job and one day that incompetence will be exposed. Or running so slow from a threat could be a fear that your foolish credit spending will catch up to you soon. Use the creative side of your brain to figure out what your dreams are trying to tell you.
I hope that this was interesting and helpful. Have a great Monday! ~ Phil