You know those dreams where you wake up with your heart pounding and you feel like you just ran a mile? Perhaps you were being chased by some bank robbers or running away from a tornado. These types of dreams are sometimes anxiety dreams and we have them for an important biological reason.
Why do we have Anxiety Dreams?
Our body uses anxiety dreams as a way to process the stimuli that we encounter throughout the day. As we sleep our brain looks through all the sights and sounds and experiences we have had and decides which ones to save and which ones to trash (I know, that is a pretty simplistic explanation – so if you are a scientist please be easy on me). In this process it filters through all those times we feel anxious throughout the day and help us to work through any unconscious fears that come up for us. These anxiety dreams actually work as a natural stress-reducer on the level of meditation or exercise. They allow our brains to find a way to see that we can survive even the most frightening of situations.
Common types of Anxiety Dreams
With a little tracking, you may be able to quickly identify the type of anxiety dream that is common to you – and their is likely one or several symbols that you will become familiar with as signs that you are dealing with excess anxiety in your life. Sometimes the image of teeth falling out is used in this way, but this example can have a variety of symbolism and might not actually be just strictly an anxiety dream.
More common are dreams of anxiety producing situations you encounter throughout the day. This can be whatever natural disasters or weather related problems are pertinent to your area or the area you grew up in as a child. For me this comes in the form of tornado dreams. When I wake up from a dream of outrunning or surviving a tornado I know that I was working through some anxiety while I slept. For you this may show up as dreams of earthquakes or tsunamis.
Another common anxiety dream in our modern times are those born out of our current media culture. Instead of dreams of outrunning lions or bears, we now dream of car chases or police shootouts. Perhaps your favorite crime drama that you watch every week on tv plays out in your dream world.
What are type of anxiety dream do you regularly experience? Does knowing that this is just your bodies way of processing your daily stress help you to understand these dreams and appreciate them?