Dealing with Bad Dreams and Nightmares

Robert Russell By Robert Russell, 1st Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Sleep

People have always been fascinated with dreams. Freud was interested in developing a scientific theory of dream interpretation. While Freud's theory never gained universal acceptance, it did help to point out how psychological and physiological factors play a role in dreams. One of the points in Freud's theory is that dreams have causes and understanding the cause helps to resolves the issues involved with the dream.

Write the Dream Down

One of the characteristics of dreams is their elusive character. The specific details of the dream easily slip away upon waking. One of the first steps in understanding a dream is to remember the specific details of the dream. Understanding the details of the dream helps to identify the underlying causes and factors that motivate the dream. A recurring nightmare or bad dream may leave a person with a sense of fear and anxiety but with an inability to pinpoint the exact nature of the fear. Keep a pen and a pad of paper or a recording device on a bedside table. Jot down the general impression of the nightmare, the context and persons involved in as much specific detail as you can.

Analyze the Content

The next step involved in discovering the meaning or sense of a dream is interpret to interpret and analyze the specific details of the dream. Interpreting and analyzing the contents of a dream helps to identify the issues that may be responsible for the dream. The content of a dream may be inspired by a contemporary event, occurrence or concern or it may be related to a childhood event or memory. Read over the description of dream that you wrote on the pad of paper and try to pinpoint topics and issues related to the dream. Freud's theory on dream interpretation suggests that the technique of free association is the best way to get at the dream. According to Freud, there are two levels of dream content, the manifest content and the latent content. Freud thought that the unconscious is expressing desires and wishes during the dream but consciousness works as a censoring mechanism that seeks to divert the true content of the dream. Free associating simply involves allowing your mind to make connections that come to your mind about the dream without prejudging if they are pertinent or not. Freud discovered that unearthing the meanings at work in a dream is a way to stop the dream from recurring.

Develop Relaxtion Techniques

Although Freud thought that dreams have a specific meaning or content that is embedded in the unconscious, other dream researchers think that dreams and nightmares are simply related to brain activity and the actual dream itself doesn't have any significant psychological relevance. In other words, a recurring bad dream or nightmare may have a physiological rather than a psychological cause or determinant. Changing your eating habits, winding and relaxing before you go to sleep, and thinking about pleasant things that you would like to dream about, may help prevent a recurring bad dream or nightmare. Make an appointment for a physical checkup with your family doctor. Tell the doctor about the recurring nightmares.

Talk About Your Dream With Friends and Family Members

Sharing a dream with a family member or friend allows you to articulate the dream and express your fears and concerns. A friend or a family member that knows you well can serve as a good sounding board. Their external vantage point and critical ear may help them to pinpoint the connections between specific details of the dream and your personal life. Talking through the dream with another person can help you deal with the content of the dream and resolve the issues that may be causing it.


Dream Interpretation, Freud, Recurring Nightmares, Relaxation Techniques

Meet the author

author avatar Robert Russell
I play guitar professionally in a Cajun/zydeco band named Creole Stomp. We are a nationally touring band that have been together ten years. I also have a PhD in philosophy.

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author avatar dak
3rd Nov 2011 (#)

Nice information I think this help to needy ones.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
4th Nov 2011 (#)

In the Bible dreams played a significant role in the lives of many, why not now? Great read. Thank you.

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