What Your Dreams Are Telling You About Your Mental Health
Updated: Feb 22
Remember that dream you had where someone was chasing you, and no matter how hard you tried, you just could not outrun it. Oh, and how about that dream where you could fly and see the whole city.
The dream of falling is another classic, or ending up in underwear in front of the whole class. How about the dream where you have to fight someone and your arms are suddenly noodles? One of my least favorites is the one where my teeth fall out, it's a nightmare.
I can bet you have had at least ONE of those dreams, but why are they so common? Shouldn't we all dream about different things? Do those dreams mean something to us?
The truth is that the dreams we have tell a lot about the state of our mind. It is as if they were movies that reflect how well or not so well we feel. It can be a rom-com with a happy ending or a Hitchcock thriller. Many psychoanalysts focus on dreams interpretation, and although we are not all professionals at that, we may still be able to get a picture of what that means for our mental health.
Lucid Dreams The Coolest Dreams, Or A Sign Of Something More?
Lucid dreaming happens when you, the dreamer, become aware that you are dreaming. It's the superpower that allows you to control certain aspects of the dream, such as the place, the people and the elements that are there. It sounds like your brain is giving you free access to a VR session, count me in!
What causes lucid dreams? Nobody knows. In reality, very little is known about dreams in general, surely we know more about the surface of Mars than what happens in our heads while we sleep. What is certain is that lucid dreams occur during the REM phase of sleep, this being the deepest of all. You usually get to this phase when you've slept for 90 minutes, but some things can affect the process and prevent us from getting there.
So if you have a lucid dream, good or bad, it means that you have reached the deep phase of restful sleep. Good work! You are good at sleeping!
Dreams and Mental Health
Although the origin and the reason why we dream is uncertain, many things are said about it. Some scientists claim that dreams are a sum of different brain signals and that in the neurological process of sleep, these are recaptured and interpreted. Others believe that it is simply our subconscious manifesting itself, in either of the two theories, what is clear is this:
Dreams can be reflections of one or more things happening in our minds.
It is as if our psyche speaks to us in sign language, very few know sign language. But can you learn the basics, hello, please and where is the bathroom? The same happens with dreams.
Many studies link certain dream activity with some mental disorders. If we learn to see some of the signs, we can identify a disease even before it develops.
Dream Interpretation To Identify Anxiety And Depression
Yes, a person who is perfectly healthy will not dream in the same way as someone who is going through a depressive episode.
People who suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety, do not stop dreaming or reaching the REM phase. However, research has shown a connection between these symptoms and dreams with disturbing images and stressful and unsettling dreams. It's like a movie with a cliffhanger that never gets resolved. If you are experiencing dreams like this, there may be something in your life that is causing you a lot of stress.
Curiously, depressed people tend to dream more, much more. This is because sleep is a process in which our brain processes the emotions and experiences that we had throughout the day, and it also functions as a defense mechanism for negative thoughts. So dreaming is like a perfect tool for both, processing emotions and dealing with negative thoughts, the two things that a depressed person finds most difficult.
As you may have guessed, when you are depressed dreams are usually not so pretty. In addition, it has been proven that a person with depression remembers dreams less after waking up, even though they dream more.
So dreaming a lot + recurring nightmares + difficulty remembering dreams = you have the big sad.
This is not an exact science, but keep an eye out for those signs.
You will always dream, regardless of whether you have a mental illness or not. In both instances, your dreams are telling you something. It's important that you listen to their whispers, they may just have something important to say, such as signs of a mental disorder or the winning numbers of the lottery, I dunno maybe you’re a psychic.
Dream interpretation is something that takes many years to master, so don't rush to diagnose yourself or your friends with some illness just by dreaming about clowns or falling. Just keep one eye open to what you dream of, eat healthily and get enough sleep.
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