How To Analyse Dreams And Gain A Better Understanding Of Yourself
What Is A Dream
“A dream includes the images, thoughts, and emotions that are experienced during sleep. Dreams can range from extraordinarily intense or emotional to very vague, fleeting, confusing, or even boring. Some dreams are joyful, while others are frightening or sad. Sometimes dreams seem to have a clear narrative, while many others appear to make no sense at all.” Source: VeryWellMind.com
Do you pay any attention to your dreams? Or do they just float by in the sea of a busy day and the chaos of life. Some people believe that dreams are merely remnants of concerns and events of our day.
Others believe that dreams are a deep and intensely personal tool to reflect our emotional state, hopes, passions and dreams.
Making an emotional connection to your dreams can help you find the significance and meaning that ties your dreams to the events of your daily life.
Emotions As Symbols And Guides
Emotions are a core part of who we are. How we use and interpret these emotions can help you improve your self-awareness, self-understanding, and emotional intelligence.
Understanding emotions as they relate to dreams is a part of your own personal development of self-understanding. These meanings can vary from person to person.
Some people feel that dreams and their connection with the emotional response to dreams can be viewed as symbols or guides. Why might this be?
For many people dreams have themes. Themes can be common or recurring dreams or topics of dreams that may have a connection or tie to their real daily life.
Interpreting these connections can be helpful for self improvement and lead you to greater understanding in your life.
Why Emotions In Dreams Matter
This is individual to every person. Finding the connection of the emotions you experience related to your dreams can bring you enlightenment and understanding of your deepest thoughts and subconscious emotions.
This is a form of personal analysis. The more you reflect on the feelings you associate with dreams that you have the deeper you can delve into what feelings, emotions, and experiences are important in your life.
Naming Emotions In Dreams
A good place to begin when working with emotions in dreams is to name them. Ask yourself what emotions you felt during the dream. Then ask yourself what emotions you felt upon waking and contemplating what you dreamed about.
Look for common themes. Positive, negative, and sometimes unidentifiable emotions can occur as a result of dreams.
By naming our emotions, we can gain a better understanding. Analysing dreams, and dream analysis has been a practice in many cultures for centuries.
According to goodtherapy.com, “In ancient times, the Babylonians and Egyptians believed dreams were prophetic and held heavenly meaning. Aristotle interpreted dreams as psychological phenomena and viewed them as the life of one’s soul while asleep. In the middle of the 19th century, the first scientifically based dream research took place, but it was not until Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900 that dream analysis widely developed.”
Common Themes In Dreams
Does this mean we’re experiencing fear in our daily lives? Not necessarily. Sometimes themes such as fear show up in dreams when an emotion is not fully processed or dealt with in real life.
If you have a recurring theme of fear in your daily life it is worth evaluating whether or not you have unresolved stressors or other issues causing you to experience the emotion of fear in your dreams. It doesn’t have to be all bad.
Working hard towards ambitious goals, long hours at work, or concern for loved ones can sometimes present as fear in dreams.
Love is a common theme in dreams. Dreaming about someone you love, a relationship or simply the feeling of love. Whether or not there are familiar people in your dreams or not dreaming about love can allow you to tap into your truest feelings, desires and wishes about love.
Another common theme in dreams can be reaching a goal, winning a race, or other feelings and images of success. Many people strive for success in all areas of life.
Often these thoughts and emotions carry over into our dreams. Ask yourself what goals, feelings, and experiences that you are having in your life that may put success into your subconscious.
Death is a topic most people are uncomfortable with in some way. It could be the fear of death or even difficult emotions tied to the loss of a loved one.
If you find you are dreaming of the death of others, yourself, or a topic somehow connected to this part of life, it is worth looking inward to find a deeper meaning.
Doing this can bring inner peace, help decrease concern or worries about these dreams, and help you understand why this theme may be occurring.
Danger can occur in many forms as a theme in dreams. Danger can be frightening to experience in your dreams. Some people dream of falling or drowning. Others dream of escaping harm.
If you find you are dreaming about danger ask yourself what events in your daily life may be manifesting themselves in your dreams.
Sometimes the answer is not obvious and maybe something seemingly unrelated. Learning about the true meaning and understanding the emotion of danger in dreams can help you gain clarity in your life.
There are many other possibilities when it comes to dreams. Positive or negative themes can vary from person to person. The important part is to begin paying attention to patterns and the emotions that are connected to them.
What Is A Dream Journal
A dream journal is a record of themes and memories that you dream about. Start by writing down what you remember from your dreams.
Note themes and recurring experiences. Write or draw what you feel, and if you think you know what it means, note that as well. You can look back on this later to note patterns and see how your perspective and self-understanding evolve.
Why Keep A Dream Journal
1. It helps you remember what your dreams are about, and your understanding of the patterns in your dreams will grow.
2. You will develop a greater understanding of how your emotions are connected to your dreams, and to your daily life.
3. You can develop greater understanding of the emotions you feel in your dreams, and how they connect to your emotions in your everyday life.
4. It can help you solve problems creatively.
Developing the self-reflection and understanding of dreams can help you find answers you never knew you had. Looking within on this level can assist you in problem-solving, creativity, relationships, and more.
How To Start Journaling Your Dreams
Just Start Writing
Keep a journal type paper notebook close to where you sleep. On waking, journal any memories, feeling, emotions, sensations, or details of dreams that you have.
Note All Of The Details
Think of colours, weather, imagery, sounds, etc. Any detail can help you with dream analysis. Noting these items helps with pattern identification and can help you tie dreams to your daily life.
Drawing Dreams Or Using Technology
An actual notebook is preferred but you have other options. If writing is not your thing, draw or paint your dreams.
If you are not an artist you can use technology to write out your dreams on a computer or on your phone.
There are even several apps that are dream journaling apps. The most important part is to write down your dreams on waking up before you forget.
Analyse The Connections Of Dreams To Your Real Life
When just starting to interpret your dreams, summarize your real-life day. Then, when you journal your dreams you can see if there are obvious patterns, fears, anxieties, things that made you feel happiness, love, excitement, etc. You can compare the two entries side by side and make a realistic analysis.
Look for themes that are consistent in your dreams. Look for repetitive story lines, people, places, and events.
Also, remember that these connections are not always obvious. It can be as simple as a location you dream about a lot and the emotions that may be associated with the dream.
Self-Reflection And Looking Inward To Bring Emotional Connection To Your Dreams
Like anything else in life, this type of analysis and self-understanding gets better with practice. The more consistently that you pay attention to your dreams and note them the easier it is to draw meaning. Dream analysis is a form of mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness?
Being mindful means that we are focused on what is happening at this moment. We are not distracted by the activity of life, priorities, people, events of the past, or the future. We are in the moment right now.
When you note your dreams and focus on the emotions, themes, and connections you are also being mindful.
Staying in the moment is a practice. The task of analysing and understanding your dreams is a form of being fully present to the moment.
Benefits Of Being Mindful
● Having a richer life experience by turning off “autopilot.”
● Less stress and anxiety.
● Improved focus and attention
● Increased self-awareness.
● Increased happiness.
Adding in dream analysis and their emotional connection to your life is an excellent mindfulness practice. These exercises can help you gain greater knowledge of self. This can carry over into your personal life, career, relationships, and more.
Improve Your Health With Dream Analysis
According to a study, “Our results indicate that mindfulness is inversely related to disturbed dreaming and predicts less severe dream disturbances after controlling for trait anxiety. Moreover, the results of the applied hierarchical regression analysis suggest that mindfulness is associated with reduced dream anxiety by moderating the extent of waking anxiety.
Our findings extend previous research relating mindfulness, emotional regulation, and sleep quality to the domain of dream research. We suggest that mindfulness is a possible protective factor against dream disturbances.” (Mindfulness and dream quality: the inverse relationship between mindfulness and negative dream affect, Péter Simor, et Al, 2011)
Focus On Mindfulness
By focusing on mindfulness, you are improving your health and possibly your sleep and dream quality. By having reduced anxiety in your life, you have a greater chance of having positive dreams.
By analysing and tuning into the emotional connection to your dreams you are setting yourself up for better emotional health and self-understanding.
Understanding the emotions that are tied to your dreams comes with many benefits.
Once you begin the process of identifying themes and patterns you are well on your way to analysing your dreams and making vital emotional connections to your daily life.