Dreams are tricky things. Our subconscious minds love symbol and metaphor, so dreaming can feel like a trip to a carnival house or an alternate reality. But night after night, our minds are helping us sort out our concerns, learn lessons, even enforce positive behaviors through our dreams.
It can be difficult to remember dreams. Even if we remember a dream for awhile upon waking, even the strongest dreams tend to fade over time.
To keep track of the details in your dreams that help most with interpretation, keep a notebook and pen by the bed and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Then, when you have time during the day to work on interpreting your dream, you’ll have easy access to a detailed account of the dream.
Dreams can be interpreted easily—with a little help. There are endless books and websites that can help you make sense of the symbols in your dreams. Symbols are specific to individual people, though—when you dream about a red convertible it may mean something different than in a friend’s dream.
To interpret your dream for yourself, pay attention to what else is happening around these symbols… in the red convertible example, who’s driving? What are you feeling? Are you feeling powerful and gleeful behind the wheel of a car, or watching jealously and feeling helpless as someone else drives away?
Common Symbols In Dreaming
No single blog post can provide a comprehensive list of dream symbols, but here are a few worth considering:
- House or building: An indication of one’s own body or “self.”
- Cars: Freedom, control, or escape.
- Food or eating: Emotional, mental, or spiritual nourishment of any kind.
- Being naked: Vulnerability or a sense of being helpless.
- Environment: Weather or lighting in a dream can indicate the mental/emotional state of the dreamer. Rain=sadness or depression, sunlight=joy or contentment, high winds=conflict; you get the idea.
Make The Most of Your Dreams
Dreams can help you navigate your waking life more successfully. Waking events can reappear in dreams, usually in odd or unexpected ways. Look for similarities between daytime events and dream scenarios, and then use other symbols in the dream to interpret how to handle a given situation.
If, for example, you’re feeling anxiety about a job or an upcoming event, you may wind up dreaming repeatedly about a test or a performance for which you’re not ready. Taking steps to be more prepared for the portions of your life that are creating this “performance anxiety” should alter the landscape of your dreams significantly—as you become more confident, your subconscious will find other things on which to focus.
Do you keep a dream journal?