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What do your dreams mean?

This was a guest post written by Claire Stapley.

It’s week five of lockdown, and I’m not exaggerating when I say my dreams have been bizarre. 

I have a recurring one where I’m trying to climb over a fence into Sainsbury’s with my dad, but a weird monster keeps chasing me…then my dad leaves me to get eaten whilst walking into Sainsbury’s with his bag for life.

Does that mean my dad finds me a nuisance when I’m shopping?

Or, am I just slow at running away from the monster because my diet has consisted of crisps and biscuits (with a touch of wine) for the last five weeks? Interesting.

I’m not the only one experiencing weird dreams, and it’s something we covered recently on Sanctus Radio

James highlighted that all of us seem to be dreaming regularly and vividly during this time, and that dreams can be hilarious and frightening, but can also shed light on what may be going on with your mental health!

If you’re someone who’s keen on finding out dream meanings, you might find that specific dreams can be difficult to understand, especially if they don’t make you feel great when you wake up.

For example, dreaming about your teeth shattering is a common dream that is associated with loss and important life changes, and dreaming about being unable to get your words out is associated with expressing emotions and having control over your life.

These are considered ‘general’ dreams, because in a quick online search, there is a ton of information about them and apparently a lot of people have reported experiencing them.

So, what do you do about the dreams that are really bizarre and how can you understand them? Because I’d quite like to understand why my recurring dream is mostly about Sainsbury’s!

On the podcast, Ben, our Head of Coaching, explained that dreams can come up more frequently when we’re experiencing change or transition, and in his opinion, it’s your brain’s own way of processing experiences.

Despite it being hard to ever fully understand the meaning behind our dreams – it’s easy to see why, due to COVID-19, we’re all going through an incredible amount of change and transitions, and that’s having an impact on our sleep at night.

Whether you’re in lockdown or not, it’s all-dominating in the news cycle, and it’s no surprise that the mind wanders, whether consciously or subconsciously, to this “new normal” that everyone is talking about.

Ben also explained that the topic of dreams has come up in coaching and therapy, and often dreams do carry an important meaning or message. 

We have multiple dreams every night – we just don’t remember them all, and the ones we do remember feel a lot more significant. This can explain why some of us feel a particular emotion during the dream, or it can leave us thinking about it when we wake up for a long time.

So, if you’re feeling angry, happy, confused, sad, jealous or any other emotion during or after a dream, there are some ways you can try to understand what you’ve dreamt about and create your own opinion.

Ben explained that if you have a dream where you have odd objects or animals in your dream that don’t seem to add up, then everything in that dream could be looked at as an aspect of yourself.

James then told us about one of his dreams involving losing a dog, and Ben suggested that maybe James is the dog and it’s actually a part of him trying to communicate.

So, in my case, I could look at the fence, the bag for life, the monster, Sainsbury’s and my dad. If I think about them separately, I can link them all to things that are a part of me. 

And, looking at other dreams I’ve had over the last couple of weeks – this theory does make sense in some cases.

James raised a really valid point and asked if people do want to share their dreams, is there a safe and productive way to do so?

And yes, there is. There’s actually a lot of ways that you can share your dreams, or, if you’d rather just learn about them on your own there are different methods to doing so. Here are a couple of things that Ben suggested:

  • You could keep a dream journal. This can help you with noticing patterns, or just another way to journal if you do so already.
  • Tell your dream stories as if they are happening now, in the present tense. It will help those listening to be there with you, and you can focus on how you feel when you are talking about the dream.
  • Listen to other people’s dreams. See how you feel when you listen to other people’s dreams and what emotions you feel.

The above may not be something you’re interested in, and that’s fine too. I guess what I’m trying to say is dreams don’t necessarily need tonnes of reading in to. 

However, if you are feeling a particular way about your mental health, or you’re keen for some introspection, then gently looking at your dreams can be a way of helping you understand how you feel 🙂 

Sanctus x