“I was running but I couldn’t get away. I knew they were getting nearer – I could feel it – but I was powerless to stop it. It felt inevitable. I knew they would catch me and that would be it. Game over.”
The horror of the nightmare. Only made better, I hasten to add, in that moment when you wake up from it with absolute relief, pouring in sweat whilst at the same time wondering what on earth could have prompted such a terrifying dream.
The example I’ve given of being chased is just one of many you may have experienced. What differentiates nightmares from other dreams is the content which leaves you feeling beyond petrified not just for your own safety but possibly that of those you care most about who may have also featured in the dream.
Here’s the spooky bit. Nightmares are good for you.
“Wait!” I hear you shout”There’s no way that dream, that terrifying nightmare that has me recoiling in horror at the sheer thought of it, has my best interests at heart.”
Dreams of any kind are like buried treasure. They contain a message from the Soul which has been carefully designed to help you explore an area of your life which may need attention. It is the rough diamond waiting to be made into a precious jewel through interpretation.
It may be you’ve been on the end of a traumatic event like a partner’s infidelity or bereavement and are finding it difficult to process your grief. A chasing dream like the one I’ve described would be the ultimate metaphor, offering you a message: “you can’t get away from this – its time to confront what’s happened in a healthy way.”
Stress is also a contributing factor to dreams which turn your stomach. If you’ve been storing unhealthy stress hormones which haven’t been burnt away through fight or flight you are going to be a busy – and possibly terrified – dreamer. Knowing how to manage your stress is pivotal to healthy sleep and dream content.
Then there’s the really weird stuff, like “Old Hag Syndrome“. That unspeakable moment (literally, you can’t speak) when it feels like there is someone in the room with you or, worse still, sitting on your chest. It feels real. It feels terrifying.
The inability to speak in a dream can be a metaphor for how you feel in waking life. You may be an excellent communicator but someone in your circle isn’t listening no matter how hard you articulate your point. You may even feel that no one listens or that your contribution is not worthy. This combined with a bedroom environment that leaves you too hot can conspire to provide these “hellish” dreams.
So what can you do?
Here are my top tips to help your nightmares discover your “sparkle”:
* Improve your sleep. Sleep deprivation may be a cause of nightmares. Access my free download on Sparkling Sleep when you subscribe to my newsletter.
* Manage your stress. Stress may be the root of all “evil” when it comes to bad dreams so make sure you have a healthy stress management plan in place. That means good time management and avoiding alcohol, nicotine and other stimulants. Take time out to relax before you have too much time on your hands caused by ill health. Find balance in your life, and if it would help talk unhealthy patterns of behaviour through with a qualified professional.
* See the positive. It’s very easy with scary dreams to think that this means something bad is going to happen. This is your busy mind distracting you from taking healthy action. Remember like attracts like so keep your energy positive and focused on good stuff – like how you can help yourself.
* Remember: nightmares are giving you a message that something needs to be addressed. Whether this is something current or something from the past talking about it and taking positive action will make the nightmare worthwhile, most importantly so that you don’t have to experience it again.
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