What Your Dreams Might Mean

What Your Dreams Might Mean

Most have at least experienced one dream in their lifetime. That sensation of being immersed in another world while you sleep complete with the realism of your senses (or that’s how it may feel). Yet, the scientific study of dreams, aka oneirology, has only been able to speculate the meanings of various scenarios or symbols that show up unannounced in your psyche.

Dreams can be a continuation of the last image you viewed before sleep or contain clues of deep seated issues. Either way, entertaining what your dreams might mean may answer some questions your subconscious wants you to realize or just have fun trying.

The Grab and Weave

In a study of sleeping mice at the Max Planck Medical Institute in Heidelberg, Germany researchers witnessed pieces of streaming information being snatched and woven into dreams.

According to Time magazine which did a report titled, ’What Your Dreams Actually Mean, According to Science’ (9/15/17)

“working with anesthetized mice, the researchers found that as the neocortex fires during sleep, it signals various regions in the hippocampus to upload whatever information they’ve been holding in short-term storage. The hippocampus is then cleared to gather more the next day, while the neocortex decides what to transfer to long-term memory and what to discard. As that data streams by on the computer screen of the sleeping mind, some of it gets snatched up and randomly stitched into the crazy quilt of dreams, which often only vaguely resemble the literal content of the information.”

Processing

Throughout the centuries, philosophers and scientists have theorized on the meaning of dreams citing romantic or otherworldly influence. Today, psychologists and neurologists may have tapped into a more practical theory. Using MRI’s and PET scans it is speculated that, “dreaming is the brain’s way of dumping excess data, consolidating important information, keeping us alert to danger and more.”

Researchers believe that when you sleep the brain needs to clear out daily data, save what is needed and dump the rest, nothing more. However, dreams seem so real that many still cite various theoretical reasons why you dream what you do.

Emotional Influence

Some people report vivid dreams during high emotional episodes in their life. From experiencing pregnancy to dealing with the death of a loved one, sometimes the brain needs the outlet of dreams to deal with the stress.

According to Scientific American,

“Dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them. What we see and experience in our dreams might not necessarily be real, but the emotions attached to these experiences certainly are. Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it. This way, the emotion itself is no longer active.  This mechanism fulfills an important role because when we don’t process our emotions, especially negative ones, this increases personal worry and anxiety. In fact, severe REM sleep-deprivation is increasingly correlated to the development of mental disorders. In short, dreams help regulate traffic on that fragile bridge which connects our experiences with our emotions and memories.”

Fun Dream Interpretation

Although science seems to have somewhat of a toehold on dreams, many practitioners have made a living as dream interpreters. Here are a few alleged dream interpretations and how they may apply to you:

  • Pursued – If you have one or more dreams of being chased by monsters, bad guys, etc. it could mean that you aren’t being chased at all. It is theorized that being chased in your dream could be your brain’s way of letting you know you are running away from something unresolved in your life.
  • H2O – Dreaming of water could mean you drank too much liquid before bed and need to urinate or it could represent something else. It is believed that water is linked to various emotions and that the activity of the water is a clue. Calm water may mean your life is in a state of placidity where turbulent water may be a clue that you have issues that need addressing.
  • Planes, Trains, Boats & Cars – If you dream of vehicles, pay close attention as this may be a reflection of the control you have over the direction your life might be going. Maybe you are in a speeding F-16 fighter jet and equate that to how your subconscious could feel about a recent promotion. On the other hand, you may dream of being on a bicycle that, no matter how much you peddle, crawls at a snail’s pace. This, unsurprisingly, may be linked to immobility in your life, love or career.
  • Flying – Many cite flying as their favorite dream (when it’s done right). If you dream of soaring, unencumbered through pristine landscapes it could be an indication of freedoms you are enjoying in the real world. Yet, skimming along the surface avoiding obstacles may be a clue to wanting to take off but still being held down by life’s ties and responsibilities.
  • Falling – Of course falling off of a high ledge can be traumatic and is often tied to deep fears however others report falling as a feeling of letting go. Another freedom we may often deprive our conscious mind of feeling.

There are long lists of dream symbols and interpretations regarding what your dreams might mean. Overall, most dreams seem benign or, hopefully a pleasurable experience. Only you can truly decipher your own dream so some recommend keeping a notepad on your night table. This way you can jot down your dream before you forget it and spend the rest of the day figuring out what it means.



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