After months of research, preparation and practice, the day has finally come: it’s time to give your presentation in front of your 700 person class. You try to conceal your uncontrollable amount of fear induced trembling, all while walking down each step leading to the podium at the bottom of 100 Thomas. You walk in a vigilant manner in efforts not to trip, of course.
Once you’ve reached the bottom, all that’s left to do is gather your speech and deliver it to the lecture hall, which should be easy considering you’ve been rehearsing it for six months. Digging into your bag, you realize it’s not there.
Your speech that you haven’t memorized is nowhere to be found. And you’re in front of 700 people.
You also realize you forgot to get dressed and you’re wearing only underwear. You’re in front of 700 people in your underwear.
But then you wake up in cold sweat in your bed and realize it was just a dream.
When we wake up in this frazzled state after experiencing such a believable altered reality, why do we shrug it off and toss it up to being, “just a dream?” For years, scientists have claimed that our dreams hold no true significance to the actuality of our lives and are often referred to as, “brain vomit.”
If this is the case, then why do so many of us experience dreams or nightmares that resonate with us or leave us with such a raw feeling? The answer is simple: each of our dreams hold personal meaning. Although there is not neurological science findings to prove this, science cannot diminish something that is meaningful to you.
A study that was conducted and published by Motion and Emotion analyzed a select group of individuals’ dream diaries and focused in on their re-ocurring dreams and nightmares. What they found is that those individuals who experienced these rare, impactful types of dreams also claimed they felt powerless, anxious or frustrated with their lives.
So all of these various types of nightmares, whether it be being chased, not being able to run or being attacked, can actually be associated to underlying problems or dilemmas you face in your life.
The feelings of anxiety, a need for change or lack of control that you feel throughout the day don’t just magically disappear, and more often than not they will lead your brain to process them into a negative dream.
So what’s the best way to beat this cycle of reoccurring nightmares or negative dreams? You have to dig into your mental state and change something that’s currently going on in your life.
If our minds keep naturally traveling to certain thoughts, feelings and ideas, it is often a sign that there is something that holds significance in our minds that must be addressed in order to move past it.
These meaningful thoughts can be either current situations or past experiences used in forms of symbols. For example, say at a young age, you were caught in a rip tide at the beach and saved by a lifeguard. Now, a nightmare involving drowning or the ocean can symbolize a current or underlying fear that you possess.
So, yes, scientists may be right, and our dreams very well might just be “brain vomit,” but it is best to interpret them in a way that is meaningful and applicable to you and your personal experiences. You are the only one who can truly understand the context behind your dreams.
By no means should you analyze and obsess over every dream you have and search for it’s meaning, but the next time you dream about giving a speech in 100 Thomas in your underwear, it may be worth reflecting on!