How did you sleep last night? Did you dream? Of course you did. Did you know that you dream at least four to six times per night, usually during the most active REM stage of sleep?


You may not always recall your dreams. In fact, about 95 percent of dreams are forgotten upon waking, but when you do they can be a key to identifying areas of your life that need attention. Of course we’ve all had those convoluted dreams that make no sense, but your dreams often reflect memories and life circumstances, even if only symbolically, that need tending to.


When you wake up and remember a particularly profound, or even silly, dream do you reflect on it? The next time you wake up and remember a dream, be sure to write it down. The simple act of recalling it while documenting it in writing will help you recall the dream.


Even if your dreams aren’t real, the feelings they inspire are very real. The feelings you have in association with a dream become a "new" memory, whether true or false, that your mind has processed. In other words, your feelings are always relevant, even when inspired by dreams.


I’ll share a recent dream as an example. I’m in the middle of one of the busiest times in my life both career wise and personally. Hope and I are in the process of selling our home and moving closer to the city as we approach “empty nester” status. We were recently out of town for a graduation event and during our stay the power went out in the middle of the night. The storm woke me up and I remembered an odd dream I’d had in which there were a number of people in our yard at night and they were looking around as they wanted to buy our home and build some houses on the property. There were flashes of light from flashlights (which in reality represented the lightning going on during the storm). Hope was frightened in the dream and what I felt during the dream was genuine concern for her because she was afraid as well as uncertainty about what was happening. Of course the dream symbolized the moving process we’re going through and my unconscious mind was simply processing these events.


During sleep, your body may be resting, but your mind is going nonstop. Your unconscious mind never sleeps. It works 24/7, and it’s always trying to do something productive.


I’ve been taught dream interpretation, but what we need to focus on is not so much the dream’s meaning but the feelings it conjures up.


What about bad dreams? Nightmares represent your subconscious dealing with untrue negative content and they are actually a blessing. You should wake up in the morning and be both relieved that the nightmare is over and thankful to your unconscious for revealing areas in your life that need attention. We really should look at every dream positively, even nightmares, because through them the unconscious mind is trying to do something productive, even if the facts, however, may be absurd.


So if you wake up and think “oh goodness that was horrible I hate that dream,” not only did you just experience a negative dream, but you’ve created a negative memory related to that dream. Nightmares don’t cause you any harm, they are your unconscious mind trying to resolve something. Remember, your unconscious never intentionally tries to do something to hurt you. It’s “mandate,” if you will, is to sweep up the floor while you are asleep. And sometimes the junk on the floors of your heart is pretty nasty stuff!


What are the feelings in the dream? Those feelings are always relevant. Let those be your diagnostic. They can be a warning as your unconscious mind puts together the pieces. Sometimes you do have that rare dream that is true to life. That’s great. Pray over it and ask for guidance. But 95 percent of the time your dreams are interpretations and not actual representations.


If this all makes sense to you, and I hope it does, then you will never again have a negative dream. Instead you’ll wake and have this positive mindset -- “Thank you unconscious mind for helping me to try to resolve that.”


Use your dreams as a sort of diagnostic tool to uncover and deal with feelings of anxiety and low self-worth. Your dreams, especially the “bad” ones, can identify what you to need to work on to resolve those issues. Happy dreaming!


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