Why People Dream and Why They Matter

Using dreams as a tool for emotional wellbeing.

Entering a dream state.

(Space creator / Shutterstock.com)

Have you woken up from a vivid dream, perhaps one where you were standing on a stage in front of a large crowd naked, and wondered why? Well, you’re not alone. Everyone dreams, according to Healthline, and there are many ways to use your dreams as a tool to understand your emotional and mental health!

Dreams have long been of interest to scientists and psychologists, but there still isn’t a clear understanding of why dreams come to be. While you may not fully understand dreams and what they convey, that doesn’t mean they don’t have significance. There is plenty to learn from your dreams!

Dream Interpretation
Dream interpretation is complex, but something that has been determined about dreams is that they are very much centered around your emotional state, especially strong feelings of joy, anger, fear, vulnerability, grief, desire, and more.

There is an interesting phenomenon that while many dreams may be unique to an individual dreamer, some are actually commonplace to many.

“Although we’re unique as dreamers, some types of dreams seem to be consistent across cultures and history. This makes sense, as humans share similar emotions,” Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, a neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind, an assessment and treatment center, told Healthline.

Many people have dreams about being chased which can be connected with avoidance of an issue or, perhaps, the fight-or-flight response being triggered. Similarly, if you consider the dream of being naked in front of a large crowd, as mentioned above, this could have to do with the feeling of vulnerability or insecurity.

Emotional and Physical Health
People don’t always remember their dreams when they wake up, something that is called dream recall according to Naturally Savvy. But the feeling those dreams bring about tends to linger, sometimes throughout the day. If you’re on the road to health or healing, learning to interpret your dreams can be pivotal to your process.

Your dreams force you to face your true selves, a part of you that is sometimes masked during the day, and gives you the opportunity to learn more about your physical and mental health. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of medicine wrote over 2,000 years ago that dreams had the ability to foretell ailments.

While Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, considered dreaming the mind’s way of dealing with repressed desires and feelings, according to TIME Magazine. These he believed were usually sexual in nature.

But psychologists and neurologists today believe that dreams are a way for the brain to get rid of excess data and consolidating important information, like defragging a computer. Since people do not recall about 90 percent of what they dream, maybe it is more like emptying the recycle bin.

But many believe dreams mean a lot more. Have you ever heard the term to sleep on it? Well, that comes from the belief that dreams can help you with problem-solving, and can be used as a source for your creativity.

While you still may not possess clear-cut answers, you can still use your dreams as a tool to examine the way your mind works and gain a bit of insight into your life.

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