Dream interpretation may be regarded as hocus pocus in some circles, but renowned psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, swore by dream interpretation as a window into the subconscious. Carl Jung’s mentor was Sigmund Freud and like Freud, Jung became fascinated with dreams. In fact, Jung was so obsessed with dream theory that he eventually parted ways with Freud because he disagreed with his dream theories!
While Freud believed that all dreams were retrospective, and that most things that we dream about are related to our childhood, Jung had a different theory. He believed that dreams were a way for the ego and the unconscious to evolve together. Jung also placed a big emphasis on symbols. He believed that what we see in our dreams may have an important psychological meaning for us. Jump ahead to see the infographic!
What Do Dreams Mean?
Scientists have been studying the brain for centuries, but we’re still “guesstimating” exactly how it works. So why do we dream? There are several popular theories, but the primary one is that your brain experiences millions of stimuli every day. While we sleep, the brain begins to sort this data into the stuff that we need to remember, and the things that we can forget. Some researchers believe that dreams are a byproduct of our brain “sorting” through all of this information that we accumulated during the day.
While it’s possible that our dreams mean nothing at all, some researchers believe that our dreams are related to our emotional states. This is where psychology comes in.
Analysts like Freud and Jung believed that our dreams can be decoded to reveal our own secret thoughts and desires. Other psychologists believe that several common symbols and motifs within your dream have distinct meanings. Have you dreamed of any of these symbols?
Apocalypse – If you dream of the end of the world, it may signify that you’re resisting a big change or shift in your life.
Bears – a sleeping bear means you must do some introspection. A bear chasing you means that you’re avoiding a big issue in your life, and it’s time to confront it.
Death – Dreaming about the death of a loved one; you want to embody a trait this loved one represents or have unresolved feelings about them. Dreaming of your own death; a transition and new beginning.
Falling – A slow fall indicates that you are letting go of something. Scary falling indicates that you feel something is out of your control.
Flying – Flying signifies freedom and new possibilities.
Food – Food symbolizes emotional nourishment and energy. Meat represents primal desire, vegetables represent health, and fruit represents sensuality.
Mice – Mice signify that you are spending too much time on insignificant problems.
Nudity – Your own; you feel vulnerable and judged. Others; anxiety about getting to know someone.
School – Dreaming about taking a test or returning to school is common. It signifies that we need to learn from our past.
Sex – Sex in dreams can be an outlet for desire, but it can also represent a need to take care of the parts of ourself that we neglect.
Spiders – A spider can represent the trickster, or a feeling of being an outsider. A spider spinning a web can represent hard work that will pay off.
Snakes – What does it mean if you dream about snakes? If you’re afraid of snakes, it can mean that you have hidden fears and worries. A peaceful snake may represent healing, transformation and knowledge.
Romantic Interest: What does it mean when you dream about someone?If you see an ex in a dream, it may mean you still have unresolved feelings about the relationship. A crush may be your subconscious manifesting your desires.
Running: Being chased in a dreams is one of the most common dreams. It often signifies something that we are trying to escape from in our waking life.
Teeth: Losing teeth in a dream? This is a common nightmare. It signifies a fear of aging and a loss of attractiveness.
Tornadoes: Tornadoes represent emotional outbursts and self-destructive behavior.
Vehicles: Boats, cars and bicycles signifies that you are ready to move on from something that has held you back.
Zombies: A zombie can signify that you are feeling stagnant, stressed or emotionally detached from others. Fighting zombies can signify that you are successfully overcoming issues from your past.
How To Interpret Your Dreams
- Are you curious about dream interpretation? Here’s a basic guide to get you started!
- Keep a dream journal and a pen by your bed. You’re most likely to remember your dreams in the first five minutes when you wake up, so write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t have to be a detailed log. Write down words, imagery, feelings or anything that stood out to you in your sleep.
- Keep a record of your dreams, and once a week look back over everything. Did similar themes and images continue to pop up?
- After you’ve noticed a reoccurring symbol, write a page in your dream journal about what this symbol means to you. Here’s an example. If you have dreams about snakes, a writing prompt might look like this:
What kind of snake was in my dream? A python? A rattlesnake? Was it peaceful, or frightening? Where was the snake? What do I associate with snakes? Do I have any memories involving real snakes? Did anyone in my family tell me a story that involved snakes?
According to Jung, an archetype meant more than a symbol. If you see an archetype in your dream, it may be a metaphor for deeper events in your life. The following visual guide breaks down Jung’s map of the psyche, and some prominent archetypes and their meanings:
What Causes Bad Dreams?
Dreams can be awesome, but nightmares can be seriously traumatic. It’s estimated that eighty to ninety percent of the population will suffer from nightmares at some point in their lives. If you’re having regular bad dreams, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Here are some of the most common causes of bad dreams:
Cheese: It turns out that your mom was right — eating cheese before bed can give you nightmares! According to research from the University of Montreal, dairy-rich foods can disturb your dreams, but it may be because you have a sensitivity to lactose. Experiencing stomach cramping and gas while asleep can turn a dream into a nightmare.
The Thing You Were Trying Not To Think About: Saw a scary story in the news? Trying not to think about that brutal breakup? Science says that this means they’re likely to pop up while you’re asleep.
Stress And Anxiety: Chronic nightmares can be symptomatic of PTSD, or another mood disorder. Consider visiting a doctor if you suffer from frequent bad dreams.
A Bad Mattress: Studies suggest that you should upgrade your mattress every 10 years. If your mattress is lumpy, saggy or leaving you with a sore neck in the morning — it’s probably time to buy a new one. A memory foam mattress, like the Dromma Bed, will contour to the shape of your body while you sleep, while a thick cooling gel layer can help bring down your body temperature.
If you need to buy a new mattress to turn your bad dreams around, read more about why Dromma Bed offers the most affordable memory foam mattress on the market, without sacrificing any of the quality.