What Do Dreams Mean? Understanding and Interpreting Dream Symbols
Are you trying to figure out what your dream meant? Dreams are a fascinating part of our lives, and they can be used as a guide for self-development. When you dream, the dream is telling you something about yourself or your life that needs attention. Interpreting dream symbols is very important so that the dream’s meaning may be revealed. Here we will discuss how to interpret dream symbols and understand their hidden meanings and hopefully discover what do dreams mean.
What is a dream and what are the different stages of sleep
By definition, this is how we might describe or explain a dream:
dream: an idea, thought or feeling that comes to you while sleeping
Different stages of sleep
There are four main stages of sleep; these include:
- light sleep (stage one)
- deep sleep and dreaming (stage two)
- slow wave sleep (SWS) aka dreamless or rapid eye movement (stage three)
- REM dream state also known as the paradoxical phase (stage four)
…and finally waking up, which is the final stage!
What do dreams mean and how can I interpret my dream symbols?
Dreams may have many meanings depending on what type of dream it was–wet vs dry for instance will give a very different meaning! The most common dream symbol we encounter in our nightly adventures is people because they represent all types of things like right brain, left brain.
Another dream symbol we see often is animals which can be interpreted as representing our animal instincts or past life connections. Lucky charms and dream symbols that are people or animals in masks may represent the dreamer’s fear of rejection by others based on their true self; wearing a mask to hide one’s identity so other people will accept them for who they really are but at what cost? We also encounter dream symbols such as keys – these could signify success after hard work! Other dream symbols like waterfalls might indicate an increase of prosperity or even joy.
The meaning behind common symbols in dreams
The most common symbols that recur in dreams have to do with people, places, and things.
a dream of someone you know may represent feelings about that person or memories from the past
a dream of being in your school might be related to fear or anxiety around education/learning
dreaming about work could reflect worries about employment prospects and other concerns
These common dream images are often there for meaning rather than just capturing our attention while sleeping! There is a whole world out there waiting for us!
What does your dream say?
There is often a connection between the dream and your waking life. Dreams can offer messages; insights into what might be happening in our lives, or they could be just reflecting underlying feelings that are coming to the surface.
It is also about understanding yourself better through self-awareness which comes from being able to explore your own mind more deeply by using dream interpretation techniques like free association.
How to interpret your own dreams
You can begin by writing down your dream in detail. This will help you remember it better and make the process of dream interpretation easier.
Step One: Free Association
What does a dream about water symbolize?
Water is often symbolic for emotions, like tears or sadness. It also could represent regeneration, cleansing, fertility, purification etc.
Look up words related to that image on a dream dictionary website so you can get some ideas as to what this might mean (ie dreaming of water means…). You can then take note if there are any other recurring themes within your own dream such as colors that may be repeating throughout the dream. Try not to read too much into one particular element of the dream and keep an open mind when interpreting symbols found. We can so often dream about colors when we dream of a specific object, for example.
I had a dream where the water was red and there were many people swimming in it. This is symbolic because blood is often used to represent anger or violence so this dream could be an indication that you feel angry or overwhelmed by something (maybe work). It also may mean no one listened to what you said and they are ignoring your feelings which can lead to feeling powerless.
How do dreams occur?
Dreams happen during REM sleep, otherwise known as Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. The brain begins its cycle of dreaming after 90 minutes of sleep has passed until around two hours have elapsed. After REM happens, our brains go back into deep sleep before this cycle then repeats.
During REM sleep, the brain is active and moves around more than during deep sleep which can lead to dream-like images taking shape in our minds. The dreamer never actually falls completely asleep because of this constant movement so that dreamers are aware they are dreaming without waking up.
This cycle will continue until the dreamer wakes up, goes back into a state of deep sleep or if an external stimulus interrupts it such as being awoken by another person or something else happening nearby that distracts them from their dream (e.g., a phone ringing).
Dreams often reflect what we have been thinking about before going to bed but also depend on how close people are to achieving these thoughts while awake.
Common themes among people’s recurring dreams
Recurring dreams are very common and often reflect what we have been thinking about before going to bed.
Among the most common dream themes are: flying, chasing after someone or something that is escaping and being chased by a pursuer who wants to harm us, having an accident where our own life is in danger (e.g., driving), fighting with another person against whom we have no chance of winning; being naked while other people look on; discovering evidence of infidelity when one’s partner has cheated; disagreements with coworkers at work etc.
In general recurrent dreams can be seen as wish fulfillments for things which you cannot achieve during waking hours because of external obstacles such as limitations imposed by time constraints. Recurring nightmares may also indicate unresolved fears from childhood.
Why do we have nightmares and how can we stop them from happening again
Not everyone has nightmares. Nightmares are usually present in people who have a dream-recall ability and also tend to be more common during REM sleep.
In some cases, nightmares may partly stem from physical illness such as the flu or severe allergies that disturb normal sleeping patterns. However, most of the time there is no detectable cause for recurring nightmares. This is because it’s hard to pinpoint what the root problem might be – whether it’s due to unresolved issues or just plain stress (or both).
It can take years until someone with this kind of dream finally learns how to overcome their fear by confronting them head on in waking life situations while simultaneously trying not only to cope with them but solve whatever underlying issues may exist too.
A way out would then be managing the dreamer’s fear through a process called “reality confrontation.” The dreamer must seek out the objects and situations that are present in their dreams so they can get used to confronting them.
For example, if someone is afraid of spiders, then he or she should go on an online search for pictures of various types of spiders as well as videos showing spider webs up close. If there are no actual spiders around, this person could also buy some fake ones (not real life) and place them near their bedside at night time until it no longer bothers them while sleeping.
The same thing applies to other things like being attacked by a dog: find images from books or the internet; look in your own backyard for stray dogs; make friends with local dog owners; or buy a stuffed animal and use it to practice calming techniques.
Depending on the dream, there are many ways in which one can confront their fear.
Tips on how to remember your dreams when you wake up
These three tips will really help you to remember your dreams:
- dream journaling
- staying up to sleep more hours (so that you have time for a dream)
- and telling yourself, “I will remember my dream when I wake up” before going to bed.
It’s also important not to give too much thought about the meaning of your dream until after you’ve had some time to think about it on your own first. Dreams are often symbolic or metaphorical in nature rather than literal representations of events in our lives so interpreting them is an art form as well as science. You may need help from someone who has experience with decoding dreams but if all else fails there are many online resources that can help you figure out what they might mean. The most valuable thing you’ll learn from your dreams is to understand them.