Do Dreams Have Meaning Featured

Do Dreams Have Meaning (12 Common Dreams & Meaning)

Do Dreams Have Meaning

Yes, dreams do have meaning. According to the research, Nightmares, Bad Dreams, and Emotion Dysregulation: A Review and New Neurocognitive Model of Dreaming, published in Sage Journals, the researchers Tore Nielsen and Ross Levin have proposed the Neurocognitive Model of Dreaming. It suggests that our seemingly random dream images are guided by our emotional states.

In other words, our dreams often reflect our emotional experiences during waking hours. This explains why people who have experienced trauma are more susceptible to nightmares than others. A retired soldier might dream about fighting on the battlefield again, and a graduate student might find himself sitting for the final year exam again in the dreamland.

While our dream itself does not have an objective, the overall emotional quality of the dream probably does have meaning. It tells us something about our emotions. So, if you are having a sequence of nightmares lately, you might want to monitor your waking hours and see if you are undergoing a high level of stress or fear of losing something lately.

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Dream Interpretation

It has come a long way since humans are first trying to uncover the hidden meaning that lies behind dreams. The ancient Egyptian civilization was the first to describe the similarity between dreams and awakenings. They practiced dream interpretation and analysis for thousands of years before the modern psychoanalytic theories. 

In the 19th century, scholars started to abandon the supernatural ideas linked to dreams, and start to look at dreams from a more scientific perspective.

Sigmund Freud, in his book The Interpretation of Dreams, suggests that dreams were all forms of “wish fulfillment”. It can give us special insights into our deepest selves. This is why he studied dreams to understand the unconscious mind, for our dreams reveal our repressed wishes to us.

On the other hand, Carl Jung felt that dreams were more than a repressed wish and suggest that dreams serve to compensate for the part of the psyche that is underdeveloped in waking life. 

Nowadays, in the modern era, the psychologist and neurologists armed with various imaging equipment like MRIs and PET scans, allow us to learn much more about the dreaming process in a scientific manner. However, there are still many schools of thought on whether dreams have any meaning.

According to Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis, proposed by Harvard University psychiatrists, John Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley, dreams do not have any meaning, they are just merely the brain’s efforts to make sense out of the electrical brain impulses.

While on the other side, G. William Domhoff, a distinguished professor emeritus and a research professor of psychology at UC Santa Cruz, in this new book The Emergence of Dreaming: Mind-Wandering, Embodied Simulation, and the Default Network (Oxford University Press), he presents an integrated neurocognitive theory of dreams that is grounded in the similarities between dreaming and drifting waking thought.

“Dreaming isn’t tied to any one brain state,” said Domhoff. “The issue is the level of brain activation. Dreams are imaginative but largely realistic simulations of waking life.” In simple words, Domhoff has found that dreams reflect the thoughts and concerns of a dreamer’s waking life.

Although it is difficult to decide which theory to follow, “people, in general, are beginning to be more open to the fact that dreams are more than random misfirings of the brain, and that they are telling us something about ourselves. These may not be obvious links, for example, to lose your bag in a dream doesn’t mean you are going to lose your bag tomorrow. It would more likely mean that the dreamer feels that something important to them is missing”, said Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, the Professional Dream Analyst and author.


Common Dreams And Their Meaning

Dream interpretation and analysis are becoming more popular nowadays as a source for both entertainment and self-reflection.

Do dreams have a real meaning behind them? They are many schools of thought on this, but in general, many people believe that dreams do reveal unconscious desires and wishes.

Please note that there’s no single definitive meaning for symbols and images in dreams. However, if the dream images are very common, we do have a generally accepted meaning for it. You can see if your dreams are listed below and are it being interpreted correctly.


1) Being Chased
dream meaning about being chased by monster ghost

We dream about this a lot. One day we dream about being chased by a bear, and another day by a zombie or ghost. The underlying meaning of this dream is that we are running away from something which requires our attention in our waking time. If your to-do list is piling up, it is best to stop procrastinating and start to clear it up. Otherwise, those important but not urgent tasks will then slowly become urgent and unconsciously increase your level of stress and anxiety. 

Tony Crisp, the author of Dream Dictionary, suggests that being chased in a dream might indicate a desire to escape from your fears or desires.


2) Vehicles
Dream about vehicles cars

In general, vehicles like a car, ship, train or airplane reflect the direction and control we have over our lives. If you have this dream, you are probably thinking about the direction in life, and wanting to have more control over things that happen in your life. Needless to say, if you have bad dreams like losing control over the vehicle, you are probably facing an important challenge that you do not have full confidence currently, and the fear of failure is slowing consuming you. It is best to shift your focus to a more positive mindset, such as “challenges in life is good as it is an indicator that you are leaving your comfort zone and growing”, “There’s no failure, there’s only feedback and lesson”.

3) People
dream meaning about people

One of the most common dreams we have is often about people. Dreaming about people can have two aspects. Depending on the dream, the first aspect is that the people we dreamed about is the person who wishes to become or fear to become. The second aspect is that it reflects an interpersonal issue we need to work through. Remember, a dream does not have a definitive meaning. If you constantly dream about someone, it could be something as simple as you have been thinking about him/her lately or you miss her, or there’s something you wish complete with him/her in real life.

4) Paralysis
dream about paralysis

Our body entering into a form of paralysis during dreaming. This helps to prevent us from physically acting dreams. When it comes to dream interpretation, dreaming about paralyzed could reflect a lack of control in waking life.

5) Death
dream meaning about death

Dream about death is often taken negatively but it often means that you are facing or wanting a dramatic change in waking life. Maybe you want to put an end to something and to start a new venture in life. It could also reflect anxiety about the change and the fear of the unknown.

Lauri Loewenberg, in her book Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life, suggest that “Like death, change can be scary because – also like death – we do not know what is ‘on the other side,’ of the change, which is why the dreaming mind equates change with death” 

6) Falling Uncontrollably
dream about falling

Well, as you might have already guessed, dreaming about falling uncontrollably might indicate that you are feeling very much out of control in life. It can also be interpreted as you are afraid of dropping from your current position or status. If you dreamed about failing, it might suggest that you need to reconsider a new option in certain areas of your life. 

“Dreaming of falling is very common. It is a symbol of fear in real life – perhaps of failing at work or in your love life… Falling often expresses a need to let yourself go more and enjoy life more.” claims Russell Grant, author of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary.

7) Nudity
dream about public nudity

Nudity in a dream is often related to vulnerability or emotional exposure. It could mean you are afraid to open up your emotions/wants in life (due to fear of rejection or fear of getting hurt), but deep inside, you desire to be accepted as who you truly are.

Penny Peirce, the author of the Dream Dictionary for Dummies, suggests that dreaming of public nudity might indicate that you feel like a phony or you’re afraid of revealing your imperfections and shortcomings.

8) Dream About Taking A Test
dream about test and exams

Taking an exam can very much reflect that you are facing a stressful challenge that you feel unprepared for. 

According to Craig Hamilton-Parker, the author of The Hidden Meaning of Dreams, “Examinations are stressful experiences in which you are made to face up to your shortcomings…To dream of failing an exam, being late for one, or being unprepared shows that you feel unprepared for the challenges of waking life.”

9) Baby
dream about baby

If you dream about babies, it probably means that you want to invite something new into your life. It could be a new environment, a new life, a new job, or a new opportunity.  

10) Food
dream about food

Dreaming about food could mean that you are hungry for new information and insights. It can also mean you desire to have a higher level of energy to cope with daily tasks.

11) Sex
dream about sex

Dreaming about sex can simply indicate a need for sexual expression or intimate connections.

12) Flying
Dream Meaning About Flying

Dreaming about flying is also like dreaming about vehicles. It is related to the control we have in life. If you can fly steadily towards the direction you want to go, it is an indicator that you have good control in life. Flying high while enjoying the flying process also means that you feel more confident or powerful in life. 

According to Tony Crisp, author of Dream Dictionary, flying “can represent feelings of freedom and independence, or they can also indicate a desire to flee or escape from the realities of life.”


A Word From InspirationBoost

Once again, please note that only the dreamer can truly interpret the meaning of the dream and how can it be linked to the specific events occurring in waking life.

In general, our dreams are linked to the emotions we experienced during our waking life. If you are constantly having bad dreams, you should start monitoring your mood during the day and learn what has triggered the negative emotions. 



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