Dreams: The Road to the Unconscious Mind

Among the endless mysterious things that make up the human body, dreaming might just be one of the most fascinating. Think about it: Each night, when you journey from your earthly ties and drift into the medley mindscape of your dreams, your brain creates cryptic messages from you to you. They can be entertaining, disturbing, or downright bizarre. But we all dream, even if we don't remember it the next day. 

But why? And what do they mean, anyway? Well, the answer to that is one of the greatest riddles in behavioural psychology. 

Dream Interpretation -  pink clouds

What Are Dreams?

Dreams are basically stories and visions that our mind conceives during certain stages of sleep, namely REM (rapid-eye movement) and non-REM. They can be reasonably straight forward or in some cases quite complicated. But why do we dream? 

Although experts have figured out what dreams are, it is still not known precisely why, although plenty of theories exist. Some researchers think that dreaming may have evolved for physiological reasons. Another belief is that dreams are the mechanism for how the brain consolidates memories, solves problems and deals with emotions, and therefore essential for our mental, emotional, and physical health. Despite our efforts to demystify the marvel of dreaming, we simply have not yet come close to answering the question. 

Searching for Meaning Within Our Dreams

Esteemed psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were fascinated by dreams and had different theories about their meaning. Freud believed that we can discover more about a person through their unconscious mind, alleging that our dreams can access thoughts that we bottle-up in fear of worry and embarrassment. Freud argued that defence mechanisms, therefore, allowed desires or thoughts to slip through into our dreams in a disguised, symbolic form.

Like Freud, Jung believed that dream interpretation allowed for a window into the unconscious mind. But unlike Freud, Jung believed that dreams could have many different meanings depending on the dreamer's associations, concentrating more on symbolic imagery and metaphors. 

Dream Catcher

Dream Interpretation

For centuries, we have questioned the meaning of dreams. Early civilisations thought of dreams as a medium between humans and the gods, and it was believed that our souls left our body to be guided on a journey until we awoke. Since then, times have changed of course, modern dream interpretation (methods by which a person's dreams are interpreted), draws on all of these historical traditions.

Dream interpretation allows you to understand if your dreams are revealing something to you. And while there isn't an exact science behind dream meanings, experts agree that dream interpretation is about self-discovery at the deepest possible level. They believe that by paying attention to our dreams, we can learn a great deal about who we are and what we're dealing with in life.

Self discovery through dreaming map

So, while it's true that we spend a third of our lives asleep and still know very little about dreams and what they mean, there are some popular interpretations for some of the most common dreams:

The Falling Dream

Falling is a sign of self-doubts, instabilities, and anxieties and it's believed that if you dream about falling from a height, or flying through the air, there are aspects in your life that you feel are out of your control. This loss of control may parallel a waking situation in your life.

The Stranger Dream

Dreams about strangers are normal. In fact, according to Psychology Today, a huge 50 to 80 percent of the characters in our dreams are ones we've never met. When you dream of a stranger, it can mean you are feeling emotional without really knowing why. It can also symbolise the unknown – the strange – parts of our own personalities.

The Naked Dream

As strange as it sounds, dreaming about being naked in public is a very common dream theme. It's suggested that this dream relates to feelings of embarrassment or insecurity in your life. It may also relate to you feeling unprepared or caught off guard by something.

These types of interpretations are not meant to be taken at face value, but instead, serve as guidance for decoding your own dreams. 

Achieving Self-Discovery with Dream Interpretation

Even if you aren't entirely convinced of the process of dream interpretation, it's worth considering the emotions you felt during your dreams. 

The process of self-discovery is different for each and every one of us. But the core steps remain the same: understanding your own thoughts, feelings and desires — and if necessary, acting on those to bring control and happiness into your life. Dreams may help you along your journey of self-discovery by offering clues to your emotional wellbeing. 

Dream Big Message

Share Your Dreams with Us

While it can often feel like our dreams are completely random and obscure, we can sometimes find recurring themes and emotions within them. As such, dreams can help us to achieve self-discovery — offering pointers to thoughts and feelings that we so often push aside in our waking life.

Do you find yourself analysing your own dreams? We'd love to hear your thoughts on dream interpretation, or maybe even a recent dream you had that left an impact on your daily life. Leave a comment below or send a DM at @wearewo_uk.

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