Dreams have always been a subject of fascination ever since we began contemplating the mystery of the human mind. What science had revealed so far about dreams is only the tip of the iceberg. Here's what latest research and study by dream analysts and psychoanalysts have to say about nightly adventures.
The mind is an ecosystem
What you throw out during the day, comes back at night. During the course of a day, you have a million thoughts. Some you pay attention to, some you throw out of your conscious mind. Where do all those thoughts that you slipped your conscious attention go? For example, just before you went up to give a presentation, you might have noticed a colleague giving you a weird look or a smirk. For a moment, you wonder if they doubted your abilities, but you quickly push this aside and go about with your task.
That moment, however small, had an impact on how you viewed yourself and your self-worth. Later that night, you might find yourself in a distant land, trying to cross over a frozen lake, that might crack and give way any moment. Any visual or verbal connection? Maybe not? Any common emotion? Yes, fear. What if I don't make it? I'm taking a risk (walking on thin ice) by doing this presentation when I am not so sure about myself.
Dreams are clues to your emotional health
Some of us are adept at drawing emotional masks around our feelings. We deny to others, and often to ourselves, what we really feel. If you had a fight with your partner because they missed an anniversary, you might believe you are angry at them. The fact might be that you were actually deeply sad or scared, but you hid that with a layer of anger (a safer emotion to express than vulnerability for some).
In your dream, you might find yourself walking with your family/friends, in your childhood neighborhood. In a moment, you turn and find that no one is around you and the friendly neighborhood had turned into an arid land or desert. If you want to decipher your dreams, look out for emotional cues. How did you feel in the dream? Afraid? Disappointed? Scared or worried? Did you experience these feelings during the day? This will help you map events that happened during the day with your dreams. And it also allows you to be honest about what you feel.
There are levels of dreaming
Non-lucid dreaming: You have no awareness that you are dreaming and you take your dreams to be the reality at the moment.
Semi-lucid dreaming: You find yourself in a meeting room when your boss turns to face you and you realize he had turned into Brad Pitt with tusks. What? How is that possi...Poof. You wake up and your dream is gone.
Fully-lucid dreaming: Here's when you are aware that you are dreaming. That is, while the images and experience seem real, there is an awareness that this is a dream.
Advanced lucid dreaming: This involves the person manipulating the dream, controlling how to unravels, changing endings, and making decisions to navigate through the dream landscape. People who experience this might take loo breaks and come back to continue the dream.
Dreams that predict the future
The scientific community is slowly opening up to reports of individuals whose dream predicted a future event. These might be clues that your subconscious picked and your conscious mind didn't notice or it could be that falls into the territory of metaphysics and the occults. Here are a few events that people heard of through premonition dreams.
- Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination and reported the dream to a close aide.
- A few victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe.
- Mark Twain’s dreamt of his brother’s demise.
- 19 individuals were studied and their precognitive dreams were verified through what they had shared with their family/friends about the Titanic catastrophe before it happened.
The brain is more active during sleep than day
There is increased brain activity during the night. For a long time, psychologists from certain schools of thoughts believed that dreams are what happens when the mind is busy storing away important memories and throwing out unnecessary ones. While this is partly true, dreams are much more than scraps in this recycling process.
They are the mind's way of drawing attention to events, memories, and emotions that give cues of important details you missed out during the day. Science is finally seeing merit in what the shamans new long back. That the symbolic messages of dreams don't just have visual references (snake equals danger) but emotional insights (snake might mean danger, fear, hurtful remarks, abuse, or healing, transformation, spiritual insights) based on what snakes mean to you in real life.
What you repress, you dream about
Those who suppress negative thoughts during waking life express more negative thoughts in their dreams. This isn't a new discovery. But what's interesting is that there is a direct correlation between sad, angry, scared or anxious dreams and people who do not experience happiness, love, awe, and even lust.
Which means, if all your dreams are of a certain kind, then it's possible that you are stuck in a rut in your life and you are too busy to notice it. It also means, if your thinking has become so patterned that you don't realize you are not feeling emotions that are outside your current bracket, like joy, excitement, wonder, etc.
Women's dream contains an equal amount of women and men, but 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men. If we are to go by the theory of what we repress comes back in out dreams, stats about men's dreams containing a lot more aggression is unsettling. Both women and men have almost the same level of sexual dreams.
You don't create characters out of thin air
Although this is debatable, research reveals that almost all faces we see in our dreams are those we have seen somewhere/sometime in our real life. You might not know that a bizarre man you saw in your dream might have been a delivery man who crossed you as you were entering your office.
The same goes for places. Even if the place looks like fantasy, strip the frills and you will see that the location, structure, layout will be similar to a place you know well or have visited in real life.
Everyone dreams, but not all remember
Everyone experiences some level of dreaming every night but not everyone recollects it. If your friend says she has never really dreamt anything, it could mean that she or he doesn't remember it. Also, about 12% of folks dream only in black and white.
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