WELLNESS
07/13/2011 01:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dreams About Being Lost: Dream Meanings Explained

Dreams about being lost are an extremely common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one have been covering this ground at night, you may have questions about what it all might mean. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Cathleen O'Connor, Ph.D., author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary," to get expert advice about the meanings of your or your loved one’s lost dreams. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occurred or is recurring.

What do dreams about being lost mean?
"Dreams about being lost or searching for something that is lost usually denote anxiety. They evoke feelings of confusion and frustration, or even a sense of feeling you don’t fit in," says O'Connor. "Usually, the meaning has to do with a current situation in your life where you are anxious that you will not find your way -- perhaps a new job where you feel your skills are not optimal, a move to a new city where you are anxious about fitting in and making new friends or perhaps an important task at work with a deadline looming."

What can I learn about myself from dreaming about being lost?
"Ask yourself where in your life you are feeling lost in some way. Once you identify the anxiety-causing situation, you can work through your feelings," O'Connor says. If your lost dream is about a missing object, she suggests you ask yourself what that object symbolizes. "For example, dreaming about losing your wallet can be a dream where you fear losing your identity by trying to conform to outside expectations that don’t reflect who you truly are."

Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about being lost?
According to O'Connor, there are many induction techniques that can be used to ask for a specific type of dream about being lost. "The easiest method is to spend a few minutes before bedtime setting an intention to experience a dream in which you are lost," she explains. "You might want to induce such a dream if you feel stuck or lack direction in some area of your life right now and need an answer as to why that is happening and how to move forward." As with most dreams, if they are not nightmarish, avoiding them is not recommended in the same way that avoiding your emotions is not recommended in your waking life.

Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about being lost?
"As with most dreams, the individual dreamer’s current life is usually the source of any dream of being lost or losing something. If emotional outpourings of grief or loss are deemed unacceptable in a certain culture or family, those individuals might dream of being lost or losing something in order to process actual loss that has gone unexpressed," says O'Connor.

Who tends to have dreams about being lost most frequently?
"Dreams of being lost are extremely common and can occur at any age," O'Connor says. "School-age children often dream of being lost in school, unable to find their classroom or locker. Adult versions of the same dream might find the dreamer searching for where he parked his car or trying to navigate his way through an unfamiliar city or building complex or endlessly searching for a report needed for an important work meeting."

Is there any significance to dreaming about a loved one being lost?
"Most often, other people in a dream represent parts of the dreamer so a dream in which someone you care for is lost might indicate that you value an aspect of that person in yourself and feel you have lost that capacity or ability," O'Connor says. An experience of loss of someone you care about could induce a lost dream. "You may also feel that someone close to you is floundering or lacks direction in an important area of life and those worries surface through your dreams," she says.

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Cathleen O'Connor, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in metaphysics and is author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary." In addition to her work as a dream analyst and author, O'Connor is a keynote speaker and entrepreneurial coach. She enjoys inspiring others to act on their most cherished dreams and create lives of joy, fulfillment and success.