Alix in Wonderland

Dreams – Psychological or Physiological?

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I have always had extremely vivid dreams.

I can still remember dreams that I had as a child. Especially ones that I had more than once. Recurring dreams are common. Many people experience them for short periods in their life, or throughout their entire lives!

I seem to remember that I often had a dream as a child about being stuck in a car, in a driveway, with my family with a PANTHER circling the car! Each time, we had to figure out a way to distract the panther so we could all safely exit the car  and get into the house.

Recurring dreams often mean there are some stressors in one’s life that are not being addressed. So it makes sense that my recurring dream as a child probably happened when I was dealing with some sort of stress.

When we dream our brain is actually rapidly processing and storing away the experiences and emotions of the day. So when you are worried or stressed about something during your day, sometimes those thoughts can manifest themselves into a stressful dream or a nightmare.

I think it is important to recognize that dreams are not a psychological experience, rather a physiological one. Meaning, we shouldn’t try to look too hard into the meaning or the “message” of our dreams. Rather, we should recognize that when we are having nightmares or stressful dreams there is most likely an underlying stressor in our waking lives that needs to be addressed.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the magical world of dreams, seeing as mine are often extremely vivid and detailed. I almost always remember my dreams. I didn’t realize everyone didn’t, not until after I started telling my dreams to my husband in the morning only to be met with a face that could only be described as :

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I know when in your sleep cycle and the speed that you wake up can effect how much you remember you dreams, so maybe that is why I always remember my dreams? I have no idea. I just know that they are wild!

Sometimes my dreams are wonderful and fantastical and full of adventure and happiness. I like those dreams. Sometimes they are mundane and repetitive, like working on an assembly line. But sometimes, they are bad.

I have a lot of nightmares.

Nightmares are a common side effect of PTSD. They don’t always have anything to do with my trauma. Sometimes they do, but not always.

Since my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis my nightmares have gotten even worse and more frequent. I know it is because of the added stress of the diagnosis and being sick.

My most common theme in my dreams is that I am being chased. The “chaser” and the situation varies dream to dream, but the general feeling is always the same. I am running for my life and whoever or whatever is chasing me is always one step behind me.

I wake up from those dreams exhausted, out of breath, soaked with sweat and anxious. Dreams of being chased usually subconsciously mean that you are avoiding a person/ issue.

It’s not too hard for me to identify the “issue” in my life that has been my biggest source of anxiety, fear, and avoidance in my recent life. My diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I know that I have come very far already with accepting and processing my diagnosis. But I also know that I have many more lessons and much more to learn in my life.

So, I try not to let these dreams effect me in my waking life too much. Sometimes I will have what I like to call a “hangover dream”. Meaning, the feelings and emotions from that dream will “hangover” into my day.

Have you ever had a dream that someone died and woken up feeling sad and completely devastate for that person, even though you know damn well they are alive and well?

I can see how it would be easy for people to believe that dreams are omens and signs from above. When I have one of these hangover dreams that lingers with me throughout the day I try to challenge myself to practice extra mindfulness and presence to try to guide my mind back into reality.

Things like going for a walk, doing some gardening, writing or cleaning tend to help me let go of a particularly powerful dream.

Do you remember your dreams? Do you have “hangover dreams”? Have you done your own research into the meaning of dreams? I’d love to hear more about this fascinating and mysterious subject!

Hoping you have nothing but positivity in your sleep tonight!

-A

2 Replies to “Dreams – Psychological or Physiological?”

  1. Dreams can be a great thing, but then others can be more like a nightmare! I do not think I always remember all of my dreams, but the really bad ones stick with me. This was a really powerful post. I wish you nothing but peaceful and beautiful dreams every night!

    Liked by 1 person

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