Interpreting Your Dreams
While you sleep, your brain is conjuring up around five dreams per night—and while every dream is unique, they do tend to follow a few recognizable patterns. From endless falling to alien abductions to that common naked-in-a-crowd nightmare, the art (and science) of interpreting your subconscious thoughts can give you some insight into what’s going on in your life and help you get a better night’s rest.
Dreams often focus on relationships, and if you’re dreaming about an ex, it may represent your attempts to understand what went wrong. Dreaming of digging through their belongings, for example, could be a way for you to see how they lived their lives or the things they left behind in your relationship. But you don’t have to take your dreams literally—they’re more about your own emotions than anything else.
It’s also pretty common to dream about family members. “Dreaming about family members usually symbolizes situations in your own life that are weighing on you,” says certified dream analyst and speaker Lauri Loewenberg, who explains to mbg that it’s not always literal. A dream about your fifth-grade classmate, for instance, could be a sign that you are feeling nostalgic or even guilty about something you have done in the past.
Similarly, a dream in which you are taking a test can be symbolic of a major life event that is about to occur. Whether you’re trying to land a new job or getting accepted into school, it’s likely that your brain is anticipating the challenge and is helping prepare you for success.
When you dream of using a weapon, it’s generally about feelings of power and control, Loewenberg explains. Using a gun in your dream may represent your desire to take back your personal power from someone or something that you feel is controlling you. Dreaming about losing your teeth, on the other hand, is a sign that you are struggling with loss of control in your life.
Dreaming about running away or being chased usually means that you are feeling overwhelmed by something in your life, or that you are trying to avoid it. Loewenberg suggests that if you are running away in your dream, it could be a warning from your subconscious to slow down and look at the bigger picture before making any big decisions.
Lastly, dreams that involve explosions or other forms of chaos usually mean that you are in the midst of major changes in your life, Loewenberg notes. Changing jobs, moving to another city or relocating a home all require a great deal of planning and energy. Your subconscious is preparing you for these challenges by showing you what it’s like in a dream. If the change is bad, it might be a sign that it’s not working out as planned and you might need to rethink your plans. But if the change is good, your subconscious is likely reassuring you that it’ll all work out in the end.