Human beings have been fascinated by dreams as far back as we can remember. In fact, some of the earliest documents are reportings of dreams and visions.
Dreams have impacted everything from world history to pop culture.
Constantine, the early 4th-century Roman emperor, had a vision that inspired him to order a Christian symbol be painted on his soldiers’ shields. This act led to a victorious battle that enabled his troops to enter Rome.
Sir Paul McCartney composed the entire melody for the hit song Yesterday during a dream.
Author Stephen King wrote his book Dreamcatcher based on vivid dreams he had while recovering from injuries sustained when he was hit by a minivan.
Of course, everyone has dreams, and not just famous people! In my primary field of psychology, dreams are huge. I trained in this area during my doctoral program and I would say, with a bit of tongue in cheek, that most of what I was taught was baloney. A lot psychological teachings purport that the symbolism in dreams is to be interpreted literally. In other words, if you dream about water it means this and if you dream about clouds it means this. In my experience if you look at the psychology handbook, so to speak, those literal interpretations are right perhaps 30 to 50 percent of the time, which is very close to the same accuracy rate as a placebo which is basically a sugar pill or believing a lie.
Now of course sometimes these interpretations are true, but it’s almost like blindfolding yourself and trying to hit a bull’s eye!
What I have found to be very consistent with dreams, however, is the associated feelings. In other words, if you have a fear dream then you have something going on in your life that is creating fear even if it is only unconsciously. It you have a dream about unrequited love you probably are longing for something or recovering from something. I have found that 90 percent of the time, the feelings associated with our dreams are on point with some underlying issue.
It’s also important to understand the physiological process of dreams. We dream during REM sleep which is also when we get the most restorative sleep. And although some people say they never dream, it’s been estimated that we dream several times a night, totaling about six years’ worth of dreaming over a lifetime! Most experts in medicine and psychology who have studied dreams conclude that REM sleep is your unconscious mind trying to resolve issues
There are even therapies that are based on this. The American Psychological Association (APA) has approved EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, which is built on the theory that the rapid eye movements during REM sleep are connected to memories, especially ones in your unconscious. It’s your unconscious, which never sleeps, trying to work out issues and resolve them for your good while you sleep.
Eye movement therapies have a fantastic history of effectiveness by instigating eye movements when you are not in REM sleep. So EMDR is activating the REM system, but not during REM sleep, during consciousness. I would say that the success of REM therapy over three decades is also proof that that premise is correct. It’s like it takes a trauma memory in full color 360-degree surround sound and turns it into black and white two dimensional. In other words, it’s not bothering you anymore!
Our dreams can sometimes seem like a jumbled, crazy mess. We go into this bizarre fantasyland and try to interpret them literally but again, it’s like throwing darts at a dartboard blindfolded. But if you look at it from the feelings perspective it makes sense. If you’re dreaming incredibly sad dreams, for example, there is potentially a sadness problem you need to address.
If you want to get to the underlying issues behind troublesome dreams and heal them once and for all, I would highly recommend my Rapid Eye Stress Release method. While eye movement therapy is a wonderful method, I am convinced that mine works even better for most people because it allows your body to create its own perfect pattern, rather than relying on a therapist to give you an arbitrary eye movement pattern at random. Not only does it more accurately reflect REM sleep, but you can do it at home (in your pajamas), without the expense of a therapist for each session!
Since its release I have had people say, “Alex the most surprising thing I have done is the Rapid Eye Movement Stress Release.” It is a great tool to incorporate into your normal routine and once you know how to do it, it only takes about 20 seconds. I’ve literally had people say they have stopped and done it in the middle of grocery store shopping or even in the middle of a big corporate meeting and felt tons better afterwards.
I would add, however, do not try Rapid Eye Stress Release method without consulting your licensed medical practitioner or if you are completely alone because sometimes it can evoke very powerful feelings. And if they are trauma feelings, especially, you may need someone nearby to give you a hug or help calm you down.
Use your dreams to heal your biggest issues and take advantage of your greatest strengths! The exciting thing is you can do both with my Rapid Eye Movement Stress Release method.