By providing a glimpse into our sub-conscious, our dreams can help us understand more about ourselves.
Sometimes we dream about events or emotions we’re experiencing, but often they’re far from cryptic, and, without a psychoanalyst, trying to interpret them can be confusing and misleading.
But luckily, of the infinite potential dream scenarios, common dreams seem to reoccur across countries and cultures. This has given psychologists the opportunity to understand the symbolism and significance of some of these common themes.
You’re being chased
This is one of the most common dreams and means perhaps that there’s some aspect of yourself you need to confront, but lack the confidence to do so. If the pursuer is an animal, it probably represents an impulse you’re finding hard to contain.
A monster might signify a talent you’re having difficulty cultivating and dreaming of being chased by people can represent responsibilities you might be struggling to face.
In our dreams, the lucky recipient of our affections usually signifies an element of our own character. Men typically represent assertiveness and ambition, and if he’s particularly sexy, it’s an acknowledgment that if we demonstrate those characteristics ourselves, others will find it attractive.
Being naked in public
It might mean that some aspect of your life is making you feel vulnerable and exposed – a new job or relationship perhaps.
Dreaming of a male colleague?
You may wonder if this signals a secret crush, but psychologists agree that anyone who appears in our dreams is there for one purpose – to represent an aspect of our own character.
A work colleague might simply embody a particular trait, and getting intimate suggests we want to unleash that trait within ourselves.
Searching for a loo
The type of loo you find in your dream can be telling. Doesn’t lock? You may be allowing others to encroach on your emotional needs. If you look after children or an elderly parent for example, perhaps you have no time for yourself.
If the toilet’s filthy, perhaps you’re ashamed of expressing your emotional needs in real life and worry that you’ll be perceived as selfish, for example.
The landscape of our dreams often reflects the feelings in waking life. The ocean represents deep emotions so if you’re floating on top, you may be emotionally content in real life but holding back from delving deeper in fear of what you might confront.
A swimming pool can mean we feel emotionally constrained. A forest represents unknown aspects of our character so perhaps we’re trying to explore our growth potential.
A cliff might represent a sudden change, and meadows or a valley represent our our field of knowledge. Dreams set in an open space are often about expanding or cultivating our talent.
Fifty shades of dreaming
As well as rapid eye movement, and paralysis of our major muscles, blood flow to our sexual organs is one of the physiological processes of dreaming. Sexual dreams also become more frequent as we get older.
Find yourself flying or swimming in your sleep? Those seemingly innocent dreams probably refer to your sex life. Both activities represent a release from responsibility and immersion into our emotions.
For teens, sexual dreams might relate to wish fulfillment, but as we get older, sex in dreams represents creativity. The more we get our creative juices flowing, the more rampant our dreams.
Creativity can relate to anything we’re exploring out of our comfort zone, new business ideas or changes in lifestyle.
The red room
Dreaming of bondage, could of course mean you’re keen to kink up your sex life, but being tied up can also relate to the far less erotic notion of wanting to be free from certain constraints, such as a social commitment or business contract.
Your teeth are falling out
This suggests that something is causing you to lose confidence.
A freelance writer and editor, with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. With a passion for health and fitness, Tammy loves nothing more than researching the latest wellness trends. And if she’s not running around after her sweet four-year old daughter, you’ll find Tammy on her bike, in the gym or exploring the great outdoors – followed by a good coffee, of course!