How to Analyze Your Dreams (And Why It’s Important)
What does this dream mean?
You’re having dinner with your friend at his home. His sister who had visited from the neighboring county is the one who prepared the meal and it’s really tasty.
In fact, it was your favorite meal. She tells you that she prepared it just for you; it’s a special treat for a special friend.
Wait a minute. You’ve never met her. Your friend has never even mentioned having a sister until today. However, the meal is just perfect; as perfect as the one you used to enjoy when your mum made it years ago.
Before you finish saying “Thank you,” you hear a knock on the door. Your friend smiles as he heads to open the door. Suddenly, the room is filled with cheers and shouts of “Happy birthday” and your sister is the one leading.
Then it dawns on you. It’s your birthday!
As you’re moved with joy and join in the singing, a sharp pain in your back stops you.
There’s blood on the sofa and your friend’s sister is holding a knife with blood on it. You turn towards the door to run away and your sister is now holding a gun at you.
The choir is gone. Your friend is gone. And the scene has changed. You’re now at a graveyard.
Realizing the danger, you start screaming. But no sound is coming from your mouth.
You have to run.
As if reading your mind, your sister fires at you.
Just then, you wake up.
You’re panting and your heart is beating hard.
You check your back; there’s no bleeding. You’re still in bed.
You’re relieved that it was just a dream.
But what does that dream mean?
You’re not alone in seeking to know what dreams mean.
As mysterious as they are, it’s not impossible to have a meaningful and insightful interpretation of your dreams. This helps you understand what was going on while you were asleep.
INTERPRETING YOUR DREAMS
Much has been said and is still being said about dream analysis and interpretation.
There are books claiming to be dream dictionaries. Some people use these when trying to find out what their dreams mean.
There are people claiming to have special skills to interpret your dreams for you. There are also those who will tell you that dreams are meaningless and so you should ignore them.
But are they really meaningless?
You bet they are not.
Although science is doing a lot to try and understand dreams, scientists do not yet understand them well enough to give a conclusive explanation. Just as the mind is under continuous study, so are dreams.
But you don’t have to wait till science discovers everything so you can use it to interpret your dream.
In any case, you are unique and science often provides tested formulas and procedures. With the different dreams and different backgrounds people have, formulas cannot work.
In this article, we’re not giving you a step-by-step procedure to analyze and understand your dream. That may not work. What we’re doing, is giving you some basic things you can look out for to point you towards your dream’s potential interpretation.
We tell you some common dream symbols and show you what you can do to increase the rate of remembering your dreams.
You’ll also see how your conscious mind can help you learn from your dreams even though dreams happen at the sub-conscious level of the mind.
COMMON DREAM SYMBOLS
Depending on how much you can remember, your dreams usually have some things which are quite common in your daily life.
These things may not be in your possession but you probably hear about them, see them, desire to have them, would do anything to have them or you even had them before they got lost.
Whichever the case, your dreams will always have something to do with your real life. This is why, since your life is unique and different from everyone else’s, you’re best placed to interpret your own dreams.
With just some basic knowledge, you can grow in your dream interpretation skills. This will put you on your way towards benefiting from your dreams because in most cases, dreams communicate something.
The list below is not comprehensive since it’s impossible to have such a list.
All the same, from it, you can see how different things in your dream can have a meaning.
A home is the place where you live. After a day’s work or coming back from school, it’s your home that you go to for some rest.
Also, your home is most likely the most comfortable place in the world. Not comfortable in the sense of luxury but in terms of your openness and comfort.
It’s in your home that you can do anything and everything. You can sit on any seat, place your legs on the stool without asking for permission, watch whatever you want on the TV etc.
There are different sections in your home and they might all reflect something different. For example, below are some rooms and what they can signify:
- Kitchen – the kitchen is the area where meals are prepared. There will normally be a refrigerator, some utensils, a sink, tap, counter top, cooker etc. All these have their use and in your dream, you may use them as you normally would or differently.
- Bathroom – the bathroom is quite a unique room in your home as it allows for various things. It might be a place to seek relief, do some personal washing, laundry etc. Whenever you enter the bathroom, you are certain to leave being lighter or cleaner in one way or another.
- Living room – this is the area of your home most open to visitors. It’s a place for general gathering; just sitting and talking, maybe enjoying a movie—if you don’t have a dedicated movie room. It’s probably the first room you enter once you get home.
- Bedroom – your bedroom is one of the most private rooms in your home. Visitors may request to use the bathroom but not your bedroom. Your bedroom is exclusively your private space.
If in your dream you see someone else in your bedroom, whether with you or alone, then you know there is something to be understood.
This is especially so if they aren’t usually in your bedroom i.e. not someone close enough to be allowed there.
- Garage – this is where you do your car repairs or at least store your tools. It may also be your parking area or just a room where you store your car parts or other things in case you don’t have a car yet.
The above rooms aside, you can also look at your home from three different perspectives: your childhood home, current home or present home. These can also have meaning depending on the context of the whole dream.
Your childhood home could mean there is something about your past that needs to be dealt with. Your current home may refer to your present-day life while a home looking better than your current one might indicate your future home.
That future home might also be an indication of what the future holds and not necessarily just your future home.
School is another important part of life. Whatever the level of school you see in your dream, there is much to be learned from it.
For example, if you see yourself in a previous school, then you should ask yourself some questions.
If you successfully went through the school and passed your exams, why would you still be there? Are there any reports you are yet to collect? Do you have any pending fee balances? Do you just miss the school?
If you were sitting an exam in the dream, then maybe you still have something to go through before settling in your career.
If you were fighting with a classmate, maybe there is something you should forgive the classmate for and move on. It could be that the issue is repeating itself in your current life.
If you’re currently attending school and you dream about it, it could mean various things. For direction, you need to ask yourself some questions about your school.
What is your general attitude towards school and the course you’re taking? Do you like your teachers? Are you enjoying the lessons or are you struggling to keep up with the others? Are you passing the exams? Do you arrive late? Was the class voluntary or were you forced to take it?
Answering such questions helps you understand the possibilities to be analyzed.
Owning a car is almost as important as owning a home. No matter how efficient the public transport system may be, the convenience of driving your own car is great. But in the dream world, there is more than convenience.
Cars might mean anything from fun, such as going on a road trip, to the more serious like the direction your life is taking.
If the overall context of your dream is fun and joy, then there might be nothing serious about it. If the whole dream seems serious, then you should take a deeper look into it.
If you’re traveling to a different state, ask yourself whether you have such plans. If your company has plans to expand, find out where the expansion is to happen. Maybe the dream was giving you information not yet made public.
Something else you could consider, were you in the car alone? If not, who were you with? Were you driving or being driven? Were you enjoying the trip or did it seem like you were forced to take it?
If driving, it could point to a leadership position in the future. This is especially if you’re driving and you have others in the car enjoying the ride.
If you’re being driven, it could point to a need to work under someone. Are you having challenges relating with senior colleagues at work?
It is not uncommon to dream with planes. If you are a pilot, then this could be something you can safely ignore—unless an accident or incident was part of the dream.
If you’re not a pilot, then a plane could be a sign of good things. You might be headed for higher heights. Maybe there’s a promotion coming at work. Maybe there is a possibility of increased profits in your business.
If you flew high enough and went past the clouds and felt the “bumps,” those are also worth noting. The “bumps” could symbolize the challenges you’ll face while going up or while staying up there.
In the event that you’ve been having plans or desires to go higher in any way, be it at work or business, then dreaming of going up in a plane could signal the need for new skills.
In preparing for the promotion, you might then need to enroll for some classes.
A dream about death may not be your favorite one, unless it’s the death of all the evil in the world. That can surely make for a better life in many ways.
Dreaming about your own death or dreaming that you’re about to die can be a terrifying thing. Such dreams are the ones called nightmares.
These are the kind of dreams which cause you to wake up sweating and panting. You probably even screamed and woke others up.
As with any kind of dream, it’s important to analyze the contents and context of the dream. This is for the sake of gaining insight into possible situations in your real life.
Since many dreams are influenced by the situations in your real life, dreaming of death can indicate many things. It could be that there’s something you’re struggling to keep alive and it’s about to die.
Maybe it’s a business or a position you’re trying to hold on to. It could also be a warning about a jealous rival. This might mean you should be careful with your interactions with the person/people involved.
Most dreams will have people in them. People are a big part of dreams. They have a lot of symbolism. That means that they’re also the most easy to misunderstand.
If your dream has people known to you, then you should focus on finding out what they represent. Unless everything falls in place well such that you’re sure of the meaning of everything in the dream, ensure you cast your net wide.
Consider many possibilities then eliminate the least likely until you’re left with the most likely interpretation.
Even when you dream with a person you know, he may actually represent someone of similar character or similar personality and not the person himself.
It could also be something about their age, skill etc, that you’re meant to take note of for some reason.
In the event that you dream about people you don’t know, the role they play can highlight some meaning.
If they are helping you out in situations you get stuck in, maybe they represent angels. If they are causing you harm, they could indicate an enemy.
HOW TO ANALYZE YOUR DREAMS
The above symbols are just a few of many. And as you have seen the different possibilities mentioned when explaining them, there is really no limit in what a symbol can mean.
However, as you consider the different symbols in your dream, how exactly do you go about the whole interpretation?
As mentioned, there are really no procedures or formulas for interpreting dreams. But working with some tips can go a long way in helping you out.
Here are five tips to help you in your dream analysis and interpretation.
1. Write it Down
If you’re to interpret your dream, you first have to remember it. This is by far the biggest challenge you can have. It is thought that people have at least 4 – 6 dreams per night.
If this is the case, how come that in most mornings you’ll be sure that you didn’t have a dream?
Studies of the brain during sleep have shown that during the REM phase, the brain is very active. However, once you wake up, your memory clears in preparation for your waking time. This is when your conscious mind takes over from your unconscious mind.
With your conscious mind aware of the numerous things which have to be handled, you’re more likely to forget what transpired during your sleep.
Even in the event that you wake up remembering your dream, you might struggle remembering the whole of it.
For this reason, it’s advisable to keep a dream journal beside your bed. Immediately you wake up, reach for it and write down your dream. Try to remember as much as possible and write as much details as you can.
Here are some things you can do to increase the chances of success in this:
- Force your mind to recall the dream – upon waking up, if you remember that you had a dream, do not allow your mind to run off into planning for the day. Slow down and try to focus on the part of the dream you can remember.
Ask your mind, “What happened before that? What happened after that?” This will tell your mind that remembering dreams is important. In due time, you’ll be remembering more dreams, thus increasing your chances of understanding them.
- Tell yourself to remember dreams – before going to bed, tell yourself that you usually dream and you want to remember the dream. Once you are aware that you have dreams, then you can train your mind to keep records and recount the dreams you have.
- What if you don’t remember your dream at all? – all you have to do is write in your dream journal, “No dream to write” or “Can’t remember dream.” If you do this consistently, your mind will be challenged to remember the dreams you have.
2. Identify Symbols and their Characteristics
Remember the dream symbols we looked at above?
As mentioned, they are a key part of dream analysis and interpretation. All the same, identifying the symbols alone won’t do. You also have to understand the underlying characteristics of those symbols.
Since dreams are symbolic in nature, a particular symbol may not mean what the literal symbol would mean in real life. For example, just because you see your sibling in your dream doesn’t mean it’s him. He might just represent someone close to you.
If you’re in school and in your dream you see your dad, it may not necessarily be him. Being an authority figure in your life, he might just be representing the principal or correction.
Below are some dream symbols and characteristics related to them together with possible meanings:
- People: – smiling (happy), frowning (angry), huge (authority, intimidation etc), holding gun (threatening) etc
- Car: – model and make (financial status, desires e.g. luxury etc), driving fast/slow (speed of progress), old/new (financial status) etc
- Home: – big/small (comfort, luxury, desires, financial status etc), clean/dirty (mental condition, orderly/disorderly, attitude etc), colorful/dull (creativity, happiness/sadness etc) etc
- Animal: – dog (faithfulness), owl (wisdom), horse (speed, strength etc), lion (courage) etc
The list can be long but going through these examples, you get the idea. For anything you saw in your dream, just ask yourself what is associated with it.
3. Identify the Feelings and their Associations
The same way feelings and emotions are a part of your waking life, so are they part of your sleeping or unconscious life. It’s because of emotions that you wake up angry, smiling, fearful etc.
This proves that your emotions don’t go to sleep when your conscious mind does.
Emotions are at the heart of human life such that there is now a need to learn about emotional intelligence.
In dreams however, you first have to identify the emotions present. Yet, labeling your emotions is not all there is to do. You have to make associations and connections between those feelings and their causes or results.
For example, you may wake up fearful and breathing hard because you were being chased in your dream.
The question to ask yourself is, why are you fearful? Obviously, it’s because of the dream you had. But then, what exactly in the dream made you fearful?
As you replay the dream, scene by scene, you remember someone threatening you with death. The person was angry because you did something he didn’t like. This far, you have two feelings identified. One is yours and the other is someone else’s.
The association between your fear and the man’s anger is the action you took. He then threatened you and you ran away. The next tip shows you how this can lead you to a meaningful interpretation.
4. Compare Dream Themes and Real-Life Situations
Your dream has a connection with your real life and so, making that connection is necessary. The overall theme of your dream can help you interpret it if you check it against your real-life experiences for any similarities.
With the above example, there might have been a situation at work which slightly fits the dream situation.
Did you expose a wrong that someone else wanted to keep concealed? Did he get summoned by HR?
Did he get a pay cut? Maybe you just did a good job and got recognized and someone else wasn’t happy that you got recognized and rewarded instead of him?
Maybe the parallel situation is not very close.
You probably won the lottery and your friend was hoping to win it instead. Could it be that he is jealous though not showing it. Did you notice a seemingly-insincere congratulatory message from him? Maybe he’s not talking to you much?
Always keep in mind that dreams are highly symbolic. Therefore, you should never seek to interpret them from a narrow perspective.
5. Perform a Reality Check
Here is something else worth doing: perform a reality check on the dream. Ask yourself whether the dream shows something that could actually happen in real life.
If a colleague is not happy that you won the employee of the year award instead of him, could he actually kill you because of it? Maybe not kill you literally but “kill” your career? Maybe he could do that by somehow interfering with your work? Is he that kind of a person?
If he is, then you need to be on high alert. Some dreams come to warn you.
If he’s not but the dream left you with some intense feelings, it doesn’t harm to still keep an eye on him.
If your dream was too wild that you’re sure there’s no way it could happen, then just ignore it.
Don’t bother much about it. It might be the kind of dream where your sub-conscious mind was just simulating possible scenarios. In such cases, you can have some really wild dreams.
Having considered the tips offered and the dream symbols mentioned in this article, do not be narrow-minded when interpreting dreams.
Take some time immediately after waking up and try reviving your memory.
Above all, remember that in your dreams, your past, present and future are all intertwined. You can have a dream in which all three aspects of your life play out. So don’t make rushed conclusions.