For thousands of years, humans have slept, and with that, they have dreamed. The vivid and extravagant images that occur when one dreams are thought by some to be the inspiration for things like religion, prophecy, Roman and Greek mythology, and other imaginative beings like unicorns and fairies, but the truth is we do not know much about dreams.
The first theory about dreams came from Sigmund Freud at the dawn of the 20th century. In his book, The Interpretation of Dreams Freud created the unconscious mind theory. He believed that dreams were the fulfillment of our unconscious wishes. He expands on this theory in his later book Dream Psychology where he writes, “What is common in all these dreams is obvious. They completely satisfy wishes excited during the day, which remain unrealized. They are simply undisguisedly realizations of wishes.”Freud’s theory is still talked about to this day and similarly, other theories stem from his ideas.
Besides Freud, there are a few other more modern theories for why we dream. The first theory is threat simulation. Some scientists believe that dreaming is an ancient biological defense mechanism from evolution, where the brain rehearses new survival strategies, and our brains have adapted and changed to include social threats and social situations. Some scientists and people in general believe that dreams have no purpose and that they are simply underutilized by society. Another main theory is memory formation. Because areas like the hippocampus turn on during REM sleep, some believe dreaming has to do with memory, learning recent information, and storing it long-term. Personally, I believe that dreaming is a combination of memory formation and emotional processing. For about 2 years I have kept a note on my phone and every morning when I wake up I start to try and write down whatever dream I had the night before. Looking at this LONG list I’ve created, I’ve found that most of the time my dreams have to do with how I’m feeling and what has recently occurred in my life. and this kind of blooms into common interpretations of dreams and the idea that dreams mean something. An example might be losing your teeth in a dream, in which some believe that the dreamer is undergoing stress and emotional upset, or more literally, has dental pain and mouth irritation.
Dream interpretation can be a good source to utilize and can be very important for individuals to better understand themselves and their desires. There are two important steps to remember when interpreting your own dreams. The first relates to memory. After you wake up, your brain slowly leaves its sleeping state, so your dream and the details will slowly fade away. If you want to start interpreting your dreams, a good idea is to keep a notebook beside your bed or start a note on your phone, which is what I do. Every morning when you wake up, if you remember your dream start writing it down and little details will come back and then you can analyze it with much more clarity. The second important step to remembering dreams is to look at objects, symbols, and situations as to how they relate to you personally. For example, a snake is very scary for many people, and yet some find snakes interesting. So a dream about a snake seems like it could be scary, but for those fascinated by them, it very well may not.
I have a few examples of dreams and how I interpret them, to hopefully give you a better sense of how to go about it. The first dream began with me in the movie, Don’t Worry Darling universe. I could leave this universe by sitting in a bath on top of a mountain and focusing on sound waves, but when I don’t focus enough, I find my friend who is also stuck in this fake world. I pull her into the cave on this mountain to try and get her out, but she doesn’t want to leave, so I leave for my old life to find my wife. She has a new husband and a baby, that I find out is mine, and decide I need to be in this baby’s life. My wife agrees, so I go back to the Don’t Worry Darling universe , where I create an elaborate plan to once again try to save my friend. At this point, I woke up. There are a few odd details I left out, like the fact that my wife did a math equation to preheat lasagna. But I don’t see any importance to that. The important parts of this dream have to do with the fact that it occurred one night or two after I watched Don’t Worry Darling with the friends that appeared in the dream. The other important detail is that to leave this stressful situation, the fake world, I had to focus extremely hard. This is something that I don’t do very well, which can cause me a lot of stress, especially in my schoolwork. Another important detail is that I try hard in this dream to save and protect my friends. The last important detail is that immediately I love the baby, probably relative to the fact that I feel a need to protect my little sister sometimes in the way a parent does.
Analyzing your dreams is definitely not a science and I may be getting a little metaphorical with it, but either my dreams have taught me to take less on and focus on myself more. All and all, be aware of how you feel and allow your brain and your dreams to tell you just what you may need.