Sleep is an important part of our lives. While our body rest, the brain continues to work and process the information received. Often dreams are directly related to our experience, but sometimes it is a set of completely incomprehensible images that have surfaced as if from under consciousness. Let’s figure out together with the experts of the insidemydream blog what dreams are, whether you should trust them, and how to interpret them.
What Are Dreams?
Dreams are spontaneous phenomena we experience during sleep and are most often based on events that happened to us earlier. It has been scientifically proven that everyone sees dreams; not everyone can remember them. Since the basis for a plot usually intersects with reality, dreams often seem pretty realistic to us.
From a scientific point of view, neurons are responsible for dreams. If some exciting event happened to you during the day, it probably made a strong impression on you, which means it activated a certain neural group in the brain. Neurons tend to return to the intended pattern of activity sometimes, which they do during sleep, giving rise to images in our heads associated with the previous day. Although dreams can be quite abstract, they are often related in one way or another to actual events, places, people, and emotions.
Benefits of Dreams
Even if you don’t remember your dreams or catch only separate obscure images, that’s okay. Your body will still feel the full benefits of dreams. They perform the following functions for your brain:
- reorganization of the received information, sifting out unnecessary details, and keeping in memory only the essence of what happened;
- the experience processed in this way is added to the information already stored in your memory, supplementing it and making it possible to use new knowledge in the future;
- by erasing “details” during sleep, your brain makes the painful experience less traumatic and helps to experience sad and scary moments of reality;
- in a dream, you do not see all the events, but only those that bother you, which indicates that the brain continues to solve problems even in the inactive phase;
- abstract images can be built on your feelings and emotions from experience, allowing you to understand yourself better.
As you can see, dreams are good for our health and psyche and can also serve as a tool with which you can look into the “parallel” world.
Why do people have nightmares?
Usually, we dream of events that happened to us during the day; less often — for the previous two or three days. Extremely emotional or traumatic events can be woven into dreams years after they occurred. Replaying a traumatic situation in a dream is one of the mechanisms of psychic defense: in the process of reviving a memory, it is retrieved from long-term memory and then written back in an altered form. Thus, the memory of the traumatic event seems to blur and become less painful.
Should You Trust Dreams?
Scientists, psychologists, and esotericists have been studying brain activity during sleep and dreaming for quite some time. Still, none of them can put forward a single theory that would satisfy everyone. The benefits of dreams for the body are undeniable, but whether there is any logic and meaning in the images we see is up to you. Perhaps they are just a collection of random pictures, or maybe your brain analyzes events and offers you the most likely forecast. In many traditional cultures, dreams are seen as revelations from ancestors, gods, or the Universe itself. Skeptics argue they have no deep meaning attributed to them.
At the moment, there are many dream books and various interpreters of dreams. Unfortunately, the answers are often blurred, and some of these collections were compiled long ago and far from our reality. If you really believe that dreams are the key to your subconscious, it is essential to learn how to interpret them correctly. Some interpretations of images you can find in dream books work for most people because they were compiled based on many generations’ experience. You will have to interpret other pictures on your own based on internal emotions and intuition since they may carry some unique meaning for you.
How to Interpret Dreams?
If you seriously want to learn how to decode your dreams, you will need some preparation. For you to have something to decipher, you first need to know how to memorize it. Develop the ability to self-observe and awareness in real life; then, you can be more attentive to what is happening in dreams. Meditation before going to bed can help you with it.
Just before bed, put a piece of paper and a pen next to your bed so you can write down your dream as soon as you wake up. It is better not to use smartphones or other gadgets for it, as the glow of screens can prevent you from falling asleep again if you get up in the middle of the night. It is also recommended to remove possible irritants, close the curtains tightly, turn off the phone, use ear plugs, and so on. After you wake up, do the following:
- Write down your dream. Try to recall all the details, especially your feelings and emotions. If scattered images do not add up to a coherent plot, there is no need to do it artificially. Do not invent a connection where there is none so as not to distort the meaning.
- Look for obvious meanings. First, try to discover what lies “on the surface.” Perhaps in a dream, you again experienced the past day’s events, talked with the same people, and so on.
- Collect linear associations. They will help you deal with less clear images. If you had problems with an influential person in a dream, it is worth drawing a parallel with real life.
- Add supporting meanings. The so-called “circular” associations help you understand your attitude toward the images you see. For example, the same influential person may be associated with fear, submission, restrictions, law, etc.
- Listen to yourself. In a dream, you most likely behave in the same way as in real life. Assess your experience from this perspective to understand what the dream might mean to you.
To decipher images and emotions, you can use popular dream books or listen to your own feelings, intuition, and experience. After all, we are all unique, and one item can mean various things to us.
Work With Your Dreams
Since dreams can really have not only physical benefits but also carry a sacred meaning, you should work with them. They can confirm your thoughts and feelings from real life. If you are in doubt about an important choice, your intuition will most likely guide you on the desired path. Keep in mind that it may not always be correct, as it is just what you want.
Also, dreams can serve as clues to solving some problems, as they show us ways to change. For example, if, in reality, you have a bad relationship with your parents, but in a dream, everything is fine, then it is an occasion to think about what you do wrong and how you can fix it. You can try to adjust your attitude or position. Perhaps it will make your life better. In sleep, you can understand what unrealized desires are hidden in your brain and find ways to bring them to life. Dreams allow you to become aware of your wishes and see what prevents you from realizing them.
By the way, in real life, you can try to go back to the exact dream and, for example, talk to that “influential person” you dreamed about. Try to go into a semi-conscious state and start asking the person you saw questions. So you can better understand the meaning of sleep specifically for your situation.
Improve Your Interpretation Skills
Any skill comes with experience. This statement is also true for memorizing and interpreting dreams. Experts recommend keeping a diary and writing down everything you dreamed about, leaving your comments and guesses, and so on. By the way, sometimes, after sleep, it is useful to put the notes away and return to them after a few hours. During this time, the information in your head will settle down a bit, and you may be able to evaluate the images you saw differently.
For your readings to be helpful, do them regularly. Try to assess even fragmentary memories, striving to find hidden meaning in them. So you can develop intuition and a sense of the right direction of thought. As you gain experience, you will be able to recognize patterns, and although dreams recur quite rarely, you will be able to identify certain schemes between the same images. It may be useful in the future for predicting significant events through the ideas that appear in your dreams.
And most importantly, monitor the correctness of your interpretations. If you practice mindfulness, you will indeed begin to notice the fulfillment of your own predictions in real life. Record such moments in your diary so that your interpretations make sense and are helpful. Although dreams are often abstract, deep meaning can be hidden behind blurry images. Regular practice will help you get in touch with your subconscious mind.