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What dreams can tell you about your emotional wellbeing

Have you been experiencing vivid or weird dreams lately, or have you woken up feeling like you’d had one, even if you can’t quite remember what? You’re not alone. It’s safe to say that we the last year has been a very strange and challenging time, and as our dreams are linked to our emotions, it isn’t surprising if they’ve been a little wackier than usual.

Still, it can be unsettling. Yet, instead of ignoring our dreams and pushing them to one side, maybe we should be asking ourselves what we can learn from them and accepting that they might be trying to tell us something about how we’re feeling. RESCUE Remedy® has partnered with wellness author and dream interpreter Laura Payne to explore the importance of dreams and their ability to help us understand our emotions.

Dreams and emotions:

Dreams can be powerful emotional processors and regulators, helping us balance life changes. They could also be interpreted as our psyche, our inner world consciousness, guiding us to wake up and look at what is happening in our emotional life. Understanding our dreams can have a hugely positive impact on us, helping us to recognise and resolve issues and concerns that might be affecting us, through the power of our mind.

Dreaming vs. Reality:

While dreaming happens unconsciously, often dreamtime has a quiet, subtle impact on our daily lives. We are more aware of this process when we wake from a weird dream and have been left with a feeling which we can’t properly shake during the day or over a period of time. Often the psyche calls us back into these kind of dreams to re-explore what has been processed while we have been holding these residue feelings and supressing emotions during waking hours. This is an important part of the healing process of dreams and a way of understanding how our emotions are impacting our wellbeing. Everything that happens during the day, whether happy, sad, or stressful could have an impact on our dream state, which helps us unconsciously analyse those emotions in our dreams, and the emotions we feel when we wake up from the dream can influence the next dream and so on.

Types of dreams:

While dreams are inherently personal and can be powerful tools to help us understand our lives, there are some common universal threads. Our most vivid dreams often happen during a phase called REM – rapid eye movement – sleep. Teeth breaking or other bits of the body are often about fear of change and a sign that old structures are breaking down. Falling is associated with having to come down out of the head, spiritual, or other worldly life back into the hard realities of life. Ascending is asking us to rise above life’s stuck parts.

Yet, although standard dream interpretation can help us get an idea about what our dreams mean, dreams are our own private language. What does the image or event mean for us? Are there any significant memories associated with these moments? How do they relate to other aspects of the dream? The more you get used to interpreting your own recurring images, the more you will be able to decode material and clues, which will help you tackle the source of these feelings.

How to analyse dreams:

There are so many ways of working with our dreams. You could think about specific images, places, people and what you personally associate with these key dream tags rather than wade through a dream meaning encyclopaedia. It is important to ask yourself what you are grappling with in your life at present, and specific things that happened during the day before dreaming, to see if that can offer a clue about the dream’s content.

Take some time to settle down before getting into bed – you could meditate, take your time with your skincare routine or simply read a book. Have a specific dream journal and designated pen which is also by the bed. As you go to sleep say to yourself: “I will remember my dreams on waking and write them down” and repeat this process for several nights.

It is also good to train the mind and body to come out of dream state slowly rather than letting the brain hook onto something of daily existence (usually our mobile phones!) the second you become conscious. In other words, don’t rush waking up and getting on with everyday life, such as preoccupations of the day to come, anxieties or plans. Allow yourself to stay with the rich, sleepy semi-conscious waking dream state. Having a good sleep quality and waking up without an alarm can also help you recall your dreams more clearly.

See if you can hold onto one image or scene as it tries to disappear. If you cling onto the bobtail of one image you can often retrieve most of the disappearing dream back out of the hole. Though we will often forget much of our dreams, with practice it becomes easier to remember the important parts. Even recalling one image can help retrieve large chunks of the dream. If not, a significant amount of work can be done with the one remaining image. The remembered dream image has been recalled and retained for a reason.