Whether we remember our dreams or not, we all dream every night for short periods ranging from hour and a half up to 2 hours.
Dreams appear only in deep sleep known as REM sleep. Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology considered dream to be a window into our innermost thoughts. While some of his methods and conclusions may seem outdated by modern psychiatry standards, the interest with common themes in dreams and what they might mean still fascinates us today.
Many individuals share specific dreams with similar repeating images and motifs, and while every person can only truly analyze them through the context and perspective of their own individual conscious life, personality and circumstances, there are symbols that reflect common thoughts and that apply to many and can be used as a rough guide for self-examination.
Here are 9 common symbolic themes that might indicate that our subconscious is trying to tell us something.
1. FALLING TEETH
If you have ever had a dream where your teeth fall out, welcome to the club, this one is surprisingly common. In the dream your teeth loosen and fall out, and you watch in horror as they fall into your hand when you try to keep them, in place. The loss of teeth in dreams may reflect a feeling of helplessness, loss of confidence, and lack of control over one's life. It can be relate a problematic relationship, trouble at work or a general sense of misdirection in life. The dream means you feel powerless, facing adverse circumstances that you cannot control. You should examine the underlying fear that might be at the root of these uneasy feelings.
This too reflects loss of control over one's life or loss in general. In this case, it might be advisable to try and figure out exactly what it is that one fears loosing. Understanding what it is that triggers this emotion is the first step in regaining control over one's life.
3. PUBLIC NUDITY
Dreaming that you are in a public place of in front of a crowd without clothes may indicate lack of confidence, or a fear of being exposed against your will. Do you feel that you are acting naturally in your relationship with others, or do you feel you are putting on an act just to fit in? Do you have the feeling that the way other's view you is distorted, and that they truly knew you they would feel repulsed? This type of thought is quite common, we all feel the conflict between our social and intimate persona. If you feel this conflict is disrupting your life, you may wish to examine issues of distorted self image with a professional.
Dreams of flying generally indicate a sense of elation and can indicate a feeling of freedom. Maybe you feel freed from something that has made you uneasy. However, If you dream you are flying too close to the ground, fearing you might hit obstacles such as buildings, wires, or other people, it might indicate that you feel something is obstructing your way in life. As in dreams of falling, understanding what triggers that feeling is essential to regaining control over your life.
To say the least, dreaming about death can be disturbing. However, it might also signify something positive, like a rebirth after a burden has been lifted off you chest. Maybe you have moved on from a situation or a person that was impacting your life in a negative way. Generally, death symbolizes change, and while some welcome it others may feel anxiety towards change, fearing of the unknown.
Buildings and houses that appear in dreams are generally a reflection of our self. It could be a building from our past or present that indicates something significant. The state of the house and how it makes you feel, safe or threatened, might also be revealing. You may also dream that the house is a maze with unpredictable features such as extra rooms, corridors and doors, which might indicate that you are in a process of self discovery, or that you feel lost in your own thoughts.
7. BEING CHASED
Someone is pursuing you, but to your horror you either can't move fast enough, or altogether freeze. This is one of the most common anxiety dreams. Trying to understand what it is you are fleeing from in your life, and confronting it might relieve that anxiety.
8. MISSING AN EXAM
This dream usually reflects a general fear of being unprepared. Maybe you feel inadequate or insufficiently suited to perform some daunting task. Sometime this sort of dream may also indicate that you are deliberately ignoring or putting things and feel guilty about it.
What is critical in examining dreams in which water are present is the form it comes in. Water may articulate your subconscious mind communicating your actual feelings. Is it a great wave that overwhelms you? Is it a gently rippling pool or lake? Is it a waterfall that cleanses that washes you down, or a flood of water in which you are sinking? Observing hoe you perceive water in your dream can reveal your general state of mind your comfort or anxiety levels.
We can learn a lot about ourselves by trying to recall and examine our dreams on the path to self-discovery regarding our deepest anxieties, desires and motivations. The scientific study on sleep and dreams is an active and dynamic academic field. Lately, there have been some major breakthroughs done by a team at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratory in Japan using powerful computational tools which use MRI blood flow data from scans to visualize what a person is experiencing while dreaming. Perhaps one day we will be able to watch our dreams the way we watch things in real life!