Most people have dreams, and almost everyone has ever wondered what their dreams mean. A recent study looked at dream content to see if it was possible to identify any links between dream content and anxiety levels. The study found that three themes were associated with higher levels of anxiety: fear of death or injury, feelings of helplessness, and feelings of isolation or abandonment.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, it might be helpful to examine your own dreams for clues about the causes of your anxiety. Dreams can offer a unique perspective on our emotional life that we cannot get from other sources.
But what triggers disturbing dreams?
Dreams can be strange, and often leave us in a state of confusion, fear, or just plain overwhelmed. But what actually triggers these disturbing dreams? According to experts, a number of different factors can contribute to bad dreams, including stress, anxiety, and even certain medications.
In other cases, dreams can be a way for our mind to process difficult emotions or events. Whatever the cause, understanding what triggers our bad dreams can help us find ways to reduce their frequency or intensity. In some cases, therapy may be needed to address the underlying issues causing the frequent nightmares. However, simply being aware of the potential causes of our bad dreams can be a helpful first step in dealing with them.
3 recurring dreams that reveal your level of anxiety.
If you have the same dream over and over again, it might be time to take a closer look at what that dream is trying to tell you. Dreams are often symbolic, and they can be a way for our subconscious to process the things that are worrying us. Here are three common dreams that can be indicative of your level of anxiety:
- The dream where you are being chased: This dream is often linked to feelings of anxiety or insecurity. It can be a sign that you feel like you are being chased by something or someone in your life, or that you are afraid of being caught in a difficult situation.
- The dream where you are falling: This dream is common among people who have to deal with a lot of stress in their life. It can be a symbol of feeling out of control or that you are about to face something traumatic.
- The Dream of Being Lost: This dream is usually related to feelings of confusion or uncertainty. It can be a sign that you are feeling lost in your life, or that you are not sure which direction to take next.
If you regularly have one of these dreams, it is important to take the time to think about what may be causing them. Often our dreams can be a way to overcome our anxieties and find solutions to the problems we encounter in our lives.
A study determines the level of anxiety according to your dreams.
Researchers at the University of Düsseldorf set up a study to understand the difference in dreams between people with anxiety and those without. Using a mix of tools such as dream diaries, questionnaires and individual analyses, the researchers explored the dream content of 38 participants with anxiety disorders and 38 participants without. The dreams of patients with anxiety “differed significantly from the dream content of healthy people and contained more negative and unpleasant elements.”
There were patterns in the dream content itself. These included being chased, being attacked or treated aggressively, being frozen in fear, arguing, falling or being afraid to fall, being rejected in social situations , the death of loved ones, accidents such as car or plane crashes, and experiencing failure.
Interpretation and over-analysis:
Study author Anton Rimsh noted that people with anxiety tend to analyze their dreams more than average, and attempt to “find and uncover clues for waking life concerns.” This is related to the nature of anxiety and rumination, i.e. focusing excessively on past events, obsessing over the future or day-to-day worries. Compared to healthy subjects, participants had a higher rate of dream incorporation, a psychological term for dreaming about waking life events.
Rimsh observed a “vicious circle” between the experience of waking and that of dreaming. Difficult experiences, such as anxiety or depression, influence the nature of dreams. And having lots of negative or scary dreams directly influences mood in waking life.
This study has not delved into the world of dream interpretation, other than to report the content factually, but there are valuable insights to be drawn from Jungian philosophy. Keep in mind that people with anxiety disorders tend to over-analyze. There is a difference between calm thinking and anxious rumination. This difference is essential when approaching dreams as a means of learning or discovering things.
Befriending the dream world:
Rimsh recommends people with severe anxiety and disturbing dreams seek professional help.
Very often, dreams are symbols from the depths of our unconscious. They have their own intelligence and can absolutely guide us to overcome problems or develop and grow infinitely. But not all dreams are equal. Sometimes your brain is just processing data, as the conventional approach to dream analysis shows. It doesn’t always have a meaning.
This is an important point, because it appeals to the need to know that while everything makes sense on its own, that doesn’t mean that every bit of information needs to be analyzed or deconstructed.
Part of dream integration is knowing which dreams carry a message, or deeper value, and which can be thrown away as trash. And as anxious people tend to be judgmental about their own thought processes. It’s easy to start interpreting nonsensical dreams as a reflection of their character.
It helps to take an objective approach to dreams. Keep a dream journal and notice anything that stands out in a meaningful way. The obsession with dreams will only increase your anxiety.
How to stop worrying about the future and enjoy life more?
It’s no secret that we all get worried from time to time. Whether it’s an upcoming exam or a presentation at work, anxiety is a normal part of life. However, when worries start to take over our thoughts and prevent us from enjoying the present moment, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities.
One of the ways to gain insight into our level of anxiety is to take a look at your dreams. Dreams are often symbolic representations of your subconscious. They can provide valuable insight into your deepest fears and concerns. If you find that your dreams are filled with images of impending deadlines or stressful situations, it may indicate feeling overwhelmed with anxious thoughts. On the other hand, if your dreams are peaceful and relaxing, it may be a sign that you are dealing with your anxiety in a healthy way.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that dreams are just one way to gauge your level of anxiety. If you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious, there are plenty of other ways to deal with those feelings. Breathing deeply, going for a walk, or listening to calming music can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. The important thing is to find what works for you and to remember that worrying is only effective if it leads to positive action. The next time you’re worrying about the future, try taking a moment to enjoy the present.