How to read your dreams

THE TIME WE’RE ASLEEP CAN MAN­I­FEST SOME WEIRD AND WON­DER­FUL DREAMS. SARAH MARINOS TAKES A LOOK AT WHAT THEY MIGHT BE TRY­ING TO TELL US…

Good Health Choices - - Be Content -

Fly­ing… Dis­cov­er­ing an ex­tra room in your home… Be­ing naked in pub­lic… Los­ing teeth…

These are just a few of our most com­mon dreams. Some we for­get while oth­ers leave

us won­der­ing what our lack of clothes or teeth is all about! Dreams help us process thoughts and feel­ings, says Jane An­der­son, a

dream an­a­lyst and ther­a­pist. “A dream is a snap­shot of how you see life

and your place in it on any given night, based on your con­scious and un­con­scious

ex­pe­ri­ences of the last one or two days. Usu­ally it fo­cuses on a ques­tion or prob­lem,”

she says. We are only aware of 10 to 15 per cent of our thoughts, feel­ings, mem­o­ries and

be­liefs. Lurk­ing be­low is our un­con­scious mind and the ex­pe­ri­ences and feel­ings we

don’t want to con­front. Dreams bring the un­con­scious mind to the fore and show us

feel­ings and thoughts hold­ing us back. Dream ther­a­pist Martina Ko­cian says we may

dream more of­ten and more vividly when we’re go­ing through tran­si­tion

or a cri­sis. We also dream more when we’re learn­ing some­thing

new – dreams help our brain process and ce­ment

new in­for­ma­tion.

1 In­sights and is­sues

Each of the five dreams we have in an av­er­age night usu­ally re­volves around the same ques­tion or is­sue and each dream con­tains what Jane calls a ‘Philoso­pher’s Stone’ - a use­ful in­sight we may not have re­alised be­fore.

Re­cur­ring dreams are a sign we’re not lis­ten­ing to the mes­sages our dreams are try­ing to tell us.

“All the time we don’t get the mes­sage and don’t act on it, dreams re­peat. Some­thing is hap­pen­ing in your life that your dream is try­ing to make you aware

‘All the time we don’t get the mes­sage and don’t act on it, dreams re­peat’

It’s nor­mal to have around four to six dreams a night, but if you’re hav­ing more dreams than nor­mal, it could be down to be­ing too hot or cold while sleep­ing. And es­pe­cially vivid dreams can be a sign of poor sleep.

‘Once you ac­knowl­edge what your bad dream is telling you, it dis­ap­pears’

What are our bad dreams made of? Re­search shows that around 70 per cent of bad dreams fea­ture ei­ther phys­i­cal ag­gres­sion, in­ter­per­sonal con­flicts and fail­ure or help­less­ness – or all of the above!

of and the dream will re­cur un­til you ac­knowl­edge that mes­sage and make a change,” ex­plains Martina.

“Per­haps your dream re­lates to you not lik­ing your job. Un­til you im­prove your work sit­u­a­tion or look for a new job − or at least ad­mit to your­self that you don’t like your job, the dream will re­cur. Once you re­ceive the mes­sage you’re more open to the so­lu­tions that dreams can pro­vide. Your dreams will then evolve and show you ways to make your work­ing life bet­ter. Once you ac­knowl­edge what your bad dream is telling you, it dis­ap­pears.”

So how do you make sense of your dreams?

2

How do you feel?

When you wake up, no­tice how you feel. Do you feel an­gry? Up­set? Frus­trated? Happy? Con­fi­dent?

“Feel­ings are an im­por­tant fac­tor in de­ci­pher­ing a dream. If you wake and your feel­ings are neg­a­tive, what is in your life now that is mak­ing you an­gry or frus­trated? Or what is go­ing well for you?” sug­gests Martina.

Keep a jour­nal of your dreams and in­clude your feel­ings, what hap­pens, who is in your dreams and what sym­bols ap­pear. For ex­am­ple, the ap­pear­ance of a baby in dreams doesn’t mean you are preg­nant! It rep­re­sents new be­gin­nings like the birth of a new re­la­tion­ship or a new project. Note down any sym­bols, even though they may not make sense ini­tially.

You can then pick out re­cur­ring themes, peo­ple or lo­ca­tions that give you an idea of which area of life you may be con­cerned about, or that you may need to change. Jane uses a process called ‘dream alchemy’ that in­cludes vi­su­al­i­sa­tion, af­fir­ma­tion and di­a­logue.

Vi­su­al­i­sa­tion:

If you have a dream that’s un­set­tling or frus­trat­ing, close your eyes and reimag­ine it. See the dream un­fold with an end­ing that has an out­come you are hop­ing for. “When you reimag­ine your dream with a new end­ing, you com­mu­ni­cate with your un­con­scious mind and re­pro­gram it,” says Jane. Reimag­ine your dream 20 times a day for the first week, 10 times a day for the sec­ond week and

The Dream Hand­book: The Ul­ti­mate Guide to In­ter­pret­ing Your Dreams by Jane An­der­son, Ha­chette New Zealand, $25

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