As a psychiatrist, I believe that dreams provide extraordinary insights into improving your health, relationships and career. I consult my dreams for all important decisions using a technique that I describe in "Emotional Freedom" and below. You'd be surprised by the invaluable advice that your dreams give, either spontaneously or on request.
Science magazine reports that sleeping on a problem, which results in "unconscious thought," can lead to smarter decisions than over-thinking -- especially when it comes to important choices. For instance, if you're going crazy analyzing the pros and cons of a relationship, the Science study suggests that that won't get you very far; rather, it proposes that you think less and sleep on the dilemma, to give your subconscious an opportunity to solve the problem.
I subscribe to the "sleep on it" school of decision-making, which involves drawing on the wisdom of dreams. Why do we dream? To find answers, resolve emotional conflicts and discharge negativity, as well as to stabilize our biochemistry and mood. However, to me, another interesting question is why we wake up. Native American and Aboriginal cultures revere dream-time over waking life; they base tribal law on information obtained there. The Maoris believe that when we die, we return to the dream world. Kalahari Bushmen say, "There is a dream, and it is dreaming us." So, in your own life, your dreams can contain advice that goes beyond the Annals of Internal Medicine.
How To Remember And Interpret Your Dreams
I recommend the following 5 strategies to remember your dreams:
- Keep a dream journal and pen by your bed.
Try this every day for a week. Keep at it. You are programming your subconscious to remember. Soon it will become second nature to you.
How do you interpret dreams? One key is to notice the most highly charged emotion in the dream -- for instance, anger, fear or joy. Next, ask yourself, "Where in my life am I feeling these emotions?" Then, consider how you can heal the situation or else celebrate a success. In addition, here are some common dreams and their interpretations.
A Guide To Interpreting Common Psychological Dreams (From Emotional Freedom)
Dreams About Your Fears, Anxieties and Insecurities:
- You're standing buck naked in front of a group of people who are pointing at you.
Meaning:You feel exposed, vulnerable and unsafe about a situation.
Meaning: You feel unprepared to meet a challenge or solve an emotional dilemma.
Meaning: You're trying to escape a scary person or emotion (past or present) instead of facing it.
Meaning: You're afraid that you're without the emotional resources to cope with one or more aspects of your life.
Meaning: You feel that a source of power has been taken away in your life; you can't bite back or assert your needs in a situation. Also you may experience a lack of energy or nurturing from others. (Without strong teeth, it's hard to chew food and assimilate its nutrients necessary for vitality).
Meaning: You lack a sense of inner or outer direction. You don't know how to get back on track with a situation or relationship and don't feel emotionally supported.
Dreams Affirming Your Strengths, Emotional Achievements and Largeness of Spirit:
- You're able to fly, a natural, joyous feeling.
Meaning: You're empowered, creative and unfettered by the drag of negativity.
Meaning: You have the courage, strength and heart to overcome difficult emotional obstacles.
Meaning: You're coming into your own, thriving. It's a time of new beginnings for relationships, career or revitalizing health and emotions.
Meaning: You're nourishing yourself emotionally, and others are nourishing you.
Meaning: You're becoming whole! Your physical, emotional and spiritual sides are becoming integrated. You're ready for more of an emotional commitment to yourself, your work or another person.
Dreams let you pinpoint an emotional conflict so that you can solve it. For instance, if you're standing naked before a group of jeering co-workers, ask yourself, "Might I have feelings of being exposed or berated at work?" Then take steps to feel more protected in that environment. Or if, in a dream, you're wandering aimlessly, consider, "Where am I lost in my life, and how can I find my way?" Also, it's crucial to honor the messages of encouragement that dreams send. Emotional freedom comes from removing blocks as well as acknowledging your own clarity and power.
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