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Deciphering and Uncovering Nightmares

Nightmares can be shocking and frightening. They seem to come out of the blue for most people, and have little meaning other than spreading fear. However, nightmares occur for a good reason. They exist to help you deal with your fears and manage problems in your waking life. By examining them, you can understand your personality better, and deal with worries more effectively.

Nightmares are usually associated with sleep problems children experience. However, adults can have troubled dreams that terrify them and make them want to stay awake instead of entering sleep too. When an adult has bad dreams they are less likely than children to talk about them, and may attempt to brush them off as meaningless. When children have nightmares, their parents look for reasons, such as experiences they are going through, worries they have during the day, and even the food they have consumed.

Adult nightmares are just as significant as those that occur during childhood. They happen for a reason, and are our brains way of communicating that there is an issue at hand that requires dealing with. If you suffer from bad dreams, it is best to examine them, rather than pretend they are not happening and hope they will disappear.

Most often, nightmares stem from fear. Sometimes the fear can be to do with an experience you have been through recently where you hid or masked your fear or horror. It is thought that repressing fear in your waking life merely pushes it further down into your psyche, from which it can rise when you let your guard down when asleep. Therefore, the first place to search for a reason for your nightmares is your waking life.

Recognizing a fear or time of anxiety, rather than wishing it would vanish, can allow you to deal with it out in the open. Often causes of bad dreams are not long term, horrendous problems you are going through, and just come from a momentary glitch when you felt shocked by something, but ‘swallowed the moment’ instead of truly letting yourself experience it.

For example, if a colleague at work whipped out a photograph of their pet spider during the office coffee break and shoved it under your nose without warning, you are likely to have registered the event as scary. However, you probably would not want to scream in front of your workmates, and so may have giggled instead of making a scene. Your shock though, would have registered in your brain and could lay in wait in your subconscious, ready to appear as a bad dream.

At other times, nightmares can be caused by difficulties you are experiencing which you feel unable to change. Dreaming is thought to be one way our brains attempt to solve problems. As alternative ways of dealing with anxiety are sifted through by the subconscious, some may resemble fearful scenarios.

If you have regular nightmares, or are plagued by one specific bad dream, look into your life and examine what may be troubling you. Perhaps you need to find help to deal with a long-term difficulty, or you are trying too hard to appear to be perfect instead of being ‘real.’

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Comments (1)

A good post on this topic