Anxiety And Dreams

The Relationship Between Anxiety And Dreamsdreams and anxiety image

“You have a dream you’re in a house – only, it’s not your house, it’s someone else’s. You walk through a long hallway, and you eventually find yourself having dinner with your high school French teacher. You realize there’s a test, and you haven’t studied since the ’80s. You wake up in a cold sweat.”

Most of the dreams we have are due to anxiety,” said Adele Nozedar, author of the book “Freaky Dreams: An A-Z of the Weirdest and Wackiest Dreams and What They Really Mean” (HarperCollins). “The highest proportion of dreams that we have is about things we are worried about.”

Nozedar, who studied psychology in the U.K. and wrote two books about the meaning behind signs and signals, analyzed over 150 dreams for her book. They ranged from the bizarre – “I was throwing Phil Collins’ chicken off a cliff” – to funny – “I dreamed of a children’s story that features an amazing creature that’s half butterfly and half mermaid. She’s called ‘Buttmaid.’ ” There were also the recurring themes such as losing your teeth, not wearing any clothes in public, being chased, falling, flying, and not being prepared for a test.

“All of the most popular recurring dreams have to do with some sort of anxiety – such as fear of exposure, loss of control, and not being prepared,” she said. “The only one that doesn’t is the flying dreams. If you’re soaring above rooftops this is great. It implies confidence in yourself and satisfaction with your life.”

Her background in studying signs and symbols led to her to include an alphabetical symbol glossary in her book that range all the way from A-Z.  For example an acorn is symbolic for a new beginning or a genesis for a new idea.  And if you dream of a zoo it could be a sign that a part of your personality is being held captive for one reason or another.   

She believes that while some dreams may be helping us work through our issues others can lead to wonderful discoveries or breakthroughs in our lives.  She mentioned an example of this where an entrepreneur, Madam C.J. Walker, invented a successful scalp conditioner for the hair care industry while dreaming.  This is cool!   

If you’re having a hard time remembering your dreams, Nozedar said to interrupt your sleep patterns.   You do this by setting an alarm during the night and having a pen and notepad next to your bed to record your thoughts.  The first phase of dreaming occurs about 90 minutes after you’ve gone to sleep so set it at least two hours later from that point.  Another way is to eat food that is difficult for you to digest just before going to bed.  

Sounds strange I know but if you start tracking your dreams you can often learn some fascinating things about yourself.  This is one aspect of anxiety that you can actually put to work for you that can have some positive outcomes. 


Thanks:  Jen Weigel

Photo Credit: Ano Lobb. @healthyrx via Compfight cc

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