Have you ever wondered what your dreams really mean? Perhaps you struggle with nightmares, or maybe you're just curious about recurring dream signs that you encounter in your sleep.
As it turns out, dreams often include signs that can help you better understand your needs.
In addition, you can actively use your dreams to support your goals. However, if you're new to interpreting dream signs, it can be daunting to sift through all the available information.
This article will help you understand dreams and teach you how to use them to maximize your happiness. For example, we'll consider how to make sense of signs that appear in your dreams.
We'll also help you interpret and get rid of negative dreams, exploring how you can take control of these nightmares.
Finally, we'll look at how you can use your dreams to manifest your goals and how you can learn more about yourself by drawing on the information presented in dreams.
First, it's important to start thinking of the dream signs as what they are – subconscious signs from the mind. Some of these sounds are fairly easy to interpret.
If, say, you constantly dream about performing poorly at an upcoming event, it's pretty obvious that you're nervous about potential failure. However, other common dream signs are more confusing to those who haven't previously studied dreams.
For example, here are some dreams that are commonly misunderstood:
Why should you care about dreams and what they might mean?
Well, as suggested by some of the example cases above, our dreams can give us surprising new insights into our feelings, desires, and beliefs.
You can understand this by thinking about the fact that dreams largely come from the subconscious – a part of our minds that we can't readily access.
So, when our conscious minds recall our dreams, we're granted a unique window into our subconscious.
Our subconscious is the part of us that exists behind the defenses of our conscious mind. When we're awake, our mind is adept at imposing false limitations on us, and on hiding uncomfortable things from us.
When we're asleep, those barriers are down, and our dream signs paint a vivid picture of what's behind them.
This means that through dreams we may realize that we're not happy in our current relationship, that our job is wearing us down, or that it's time to do something drastic.
Alternatively, we may realize we want to stop running from commitment or stop putting off big life changes (such as starting a family).
In sum, if we're willing to pay attention to our dreams, we can redirect the course of our lives to make ourselves more fulfilled.
So, what's the best way to tap into the knowledge provided by your dreams? Dream journaling is one of the most useful techniques here, and it can quickly become a habit.
All you need to do is commit to spending 5-10 minutes each morning writing down what you can remember from your dreams. Don't worry if you can't write down a linear narrative.
What matters more are the images you're left with, the feelings that linger, and the themes you can discern. In addition, don't feel you need to interpret your dreams at the time – it's just important to get them down.
Once a week, go back through the last seven dream journal entries and look for themes and prominent symbols. This will let you know what you need to research in order to get the most useful lessons from your dreams.
With this mind, let’s now consider what you can do if your dream journal starts to fill up with nightmares.
Sometimes, the subconscious continuously throws painful or stressful dreams at you. Here are three dream exercises you can do in order to get this under control.
It's important to know that you can perform certain reality checks in dreams. Typically, when these checks alert you to the nature of the dream, you will wake up.
One of the most common checks to perform involves looking at the finer details of the dream. Try to read a document, and you'll often find that it doesn't make sense or that the words change in front of you.
Similarly, you may find that technological devices like phones, televisions, computers, and cameras don't work when you try to switch them on.
In order to maximize your chances of remembering these techniques in sleep, make a habit of thinking about them right before you go to bed.
Alternatively, repeat an affirmation like “I know when I'm dreaming” before bed.
Even if you can't directly end or control your dreams, digging into their meaning can reduce their frequency.
Consequently, it's vital to write down the images, themes, and feelings associated with your nightmares, even though it can be unpleasant to do so.
Again, even just a few minutes of notes in your dream journal can make all the difference.
This daily process will give you the information you need in order to interpret your dreams.
And this interpretation will lead you to solve the problems that have been causing frequent or recurring dreams in the first place.
Learning to let go of negative thoughts takes time, but your efforts will bleed into your dreams and end your nightmares.
One of the most effective things you can do here is actively challenging negative thoughts in your waking life.
Subject them to scrutiny – why do you think this? Is it someone else's voice?
What can you say to counteract that negative belief? Affirmations can once again play a helpful role here.
Design some that actively target your negative thoughts, and say it into the mirror daily.
An example might be “I am valuable and deserving of love” or “I am strong, confident and can tackle anything.”
You now have a better understanding of how to interpret and even adapt your own dreams. The next step is to look at how you can use your dreams as resources for success.
Here are three steps you can take to use your dreams to influence and change your waking life for the better.
Your dreams provide a wonderful prompt to work on overcoming resistance to change. Almost all enduring dream symbols owe to stagnation of some sort. So, you can use your dreams as invitations to face the things you've been avoiding.
In many cases, we stay in our comfort zone to avoid frightening change, but we also limit our growth.
Whether your dreams are telling you that it's time to get out of town, find new friends, switch careers, or work on your self-worth, be grateful for what they can teach you.
In addition, notice how the dreams themselves change as you do, giving you subconscious feedback on your progress.
In this guide, we've started to explore what causes dreams.
However, the deeper you're willing to go in looking for meaning in your dreams, the more they'll be of use to you.
So, if you want to take your learning process a step beyond simply keeping a dream journal, try to subject your dreams to more analysis.
One way you can do this is by keeping a dream reflection dream, where you regularly summarise (in writing) what you take yourself to learn.
Some forms of psychotherapy (such as Jungian therapy) also places a strong emphasis on learning from dreams and can complement your journal work.
Dreams are a call to take action. To use your dreams as resources for happiness and success, formulate some specific practical plans every time a dream reveals something that you want or need from your life.
Here's an example of how the process might work.
Suppose you dream about falling several times in one week, and you figure out that such dreams indicate a fear of some sort of vulnerability.
Next, you should ask yourself where you're scared of being vulnerable. Perhaps you might realize you're scared to apply for a course in case you don't get in.
The next step is to work out (1) how to maximize your chances of getting in, and (2) what resources you need to bounce back if you don't get in. So, you emerge with an action plan and a backup plan, ensuring you move forward no matter what.
Finally, you can choose to go even further with your dreams if you want to. Lucid dreaming refers to the skillset required to take control of your dreams.
In other words, you can change what happens in them, adapting scenario, or living out fantasies. There's a limitless potential to learn more about yourself through lucid dreaming.
If you want to tap into your dormant potential, self-hypnosis is the perfect place to start. By tapping into your subconscious – the same part of you that produces dreams – self-hypnosis retrains your thinking.
The result is a new mastery of your dreams, making them consistently more educational and enjoyable.