Can dreams be interpreted

Can You Analyze Your Own Dreams? Yes, and Here's How

Dream interpretation can offer new perspectives into the nature of your mind, but it isn’t backed by research and might be best practiced with the help of a psychotherapist.

Dreams may reveal information about your emotions and thoughts, although in ways open to interpretation.

A good starting place for dream analysis is identifying common symbols and understanding what they might mean for you specifically.

Interpreting your dreams is likely to result in better results when you work with a psychotherapist specializing in dream analysis.

To interpret your dreams is to identify specific elements and try to understand if they hold any significance to you.

Dream interpretation has been used as a therapeutic tool. It may serve as a self-awareness resource when digging deeper into your subconscious and emotional state, and when you’re working on finding peace of mind.

Both Jungian theory and Gestalt therapy, for example, have included elements of dream analysis in their therapeutic approaches.

Jungian dream analysis considers individual symbols of each dream to be of great importance. These symbols may relate to your childhood experiences, spiritual perspectives, or culture.

For example, dreaming of a red hat lying on the floor of your high school could represent a present concern about your appearance or a need for social appreciation, something that you may have also felt when you were a teen.

A large aspect of dream interpretation considers your associations and what each symbol means to you personally. In that sense, interpreting your own dreams can be very effective.

In Gestalt therapy, dreams may be considered messages from your subconscious mind. In this approach, dreams may be viewed as expressions of your personality that could require unification or attention.

Contrary to the Jungian analysis, Gestalt dream interpretation may not be about working with specific symbols but rather identifying the aspects of your personality that may need attention and bringing awareness to them.

Research on symbols or interpretations of dreams is limited and inconclusive, however.

The relationship between your mental health and what you dream about hasn’t been established yet, but some evidence suggests there is indeed a connection.

A 2018 study indicated that someone’s waking mental well-being might influence the content of dreams.

For example, researchers found that experiencing peace of mind before falling asleep was linked to a higher chance of pleasant dream experiences. On the other hand, anxiety typically led to negative dream affect.

Study authors suggested that based on these preliminary findings, dreams have the potential of being mental health markers, giving you insights into your mental well-being.

And since dreams do often involve emotional responses, it’s also been hypothesized that they may help you process and manage emotions. They would serve as a way to emotionally reset and could prepare you for any emotional challenges you may face the following day.

Some experts believe there’s a connection between the sleep cycle and your emotional state.

Lack of sleep may lead to mental health symptoms while achieving the REM cycle — a stage where you tend to experience vivid dreams — could be linked to mental health benefits.

In any case, more research on this topic may be needed.

You can explore dream interpretation by becoming familiar with common symbols. These symbols may mean many things, so keeping context and personal significance in mind is recommended.

Consider asking these questions when identifying symbols in your dreams:

  • What was the symbol or object doing in your dream?
  • What did it look like?
  • Where was it?
  • How did you feel about it while you were dreaming?
  • How do you feel now when you think of it?
  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this symbol in your dream?

Here are some of the most common symbols in dreams and what they could mean:

House or room

Houses and rooms can represent unexplored aspects of yourself.

For example, if the house or room was frightening, it could represent an aspect of yourself that you may feel fearful about exploring.

Looking into other symbols in the same dream scene may help you develop possible personal meanings.


As a source of affection for many people in the waking state, dogs can represent a need for love or affection.

If you’re fearful of dogs or dream of an aggressive one, it may mean you’re sensing danger about a specific situation or person, or you may feel hurt by someone and haven’t yet become aware of it.


Teeth can be symbols of aggression, assertiveness, or your “bite.”

Dreaming of falling teeth may indicate you’re experiencing intense stress or anxiety. It could also mean you’re fearful or concerned about a lack of control and power in your life.


Weapons such as guns typically involve themes surrounding personal power or control.

Dreaming of using weapons may be linked to the desire to hurt someone or have them disappear from your life. If you’re being hurt in the dream, it could mean you feel vulnerable in a situation or with a person.

Friends and family

People who appear in your dreams may reflect parts of your own personality. Analyzing these dreams may help to think about what the person was doing in the dream and what part of yourself you think may be shown to you through the other person.


Water may be a symbol of your emotions. If the water appears still and murky, it could represent a disconnect from your emotional state or the need to explore your own emotions.


Driving can be thought of as a type of forward momentum. If the car doesn’t start, you may feel stagnant or stuck. If the car is running smoothly, maybe you feel you’re making good progress on your life path.


If you dream about falling, you may be dealing with control challenges in your life.

If you felt relieved about falling, or it was a pleasant sensation in the dream, you may be letting go of some emotional weight and may now feel relieved.

If you felt scared while falling in your dream, you could be having a hard time not being able to control everything around you. It could also mean that you feel you’re letting someone down.

Interpreting your dreams takes patience, practice, and an open mind. It may be a good idea to remember that you give meaning to your own dreams by identifying symbols and thinking about what they mean to you personally.

The same dream can mean different things to different people in this sense. The same dream could also mean different things to you, depending on when you dream it.

Here are some tips to start analyzing your dreams:

1. Try to recall your dreams every day

The best time to recall your dreams is as soon as you wake up, while the dream is still fresh.

If you tend to wake up during the night, it might help to have a notebook next to the bed to record your dream before you fall asleep again. Recording a voice memo on your phone may also help.

It’s natural to only remember fragments of your dreams at first. They may seem vague or meaningless. The more you practice recalling them, the more details you’ll remember from your dreams.

2. Consider keeping a dream diary

In addition to writing or recording aspects of your dreams as soon as you wake up, keeping a more in-depth diary may help you with dream interpretation.

Based on your notes when you wake up, try to write down as much detail as you can remember. As you write every aspect of the dream, include how you feel or felt about those symbols or scenes.

If any ideas or memories come to you while you write about your dream, make a special note. These ideas, memories, or emotions give you more clues about what the dream may mean to you.

3. Telling someone about your dreams can help

Sometimes, it’s about how you describe a dream more than the dream itself.

As you tell someone else about your dream, try to become aware of how you describe specific symbols that may not be as clear at first.

Talking about your dreams with a psychotherapist may be particularly beneficial when trying to analyze them. They may be able to give you feedback about specific words you used or facial expressions you made, which could also add to the dream interpretation.

4. Try to identify symbols and associations

Once you write details about your dreams, try to read your notes again to identify hidden symbols that you may have missed at first.

Maybe you dreamed about cooking with your grandmother, which you wrote in your notes.

On a closer look, you may remember it wasn’t your grandmother’s kitchen or that all the windows were open and the wind was blowing inside the kitchen.

These aspects of your dream may also hint at the possible meaning of the dream.

Dream analysis can become an interesting tool for exploring your mental and emotional health.

You can interpret your dreams by learning more about common symbols, keeping a dream diary, and trying to identify personal associations.

Dream analysis may be better achieved by working with a psychotherapist. They might be able to link different aspects of your dreams and ask you specific questions that could lead to more profound insight.

Do Dreams Really Mean Anything?

Source: Pexels/Public Domain

When I was 14 years old, I had a dream I’ll never forget. Though it wasn’t dramatic or worthy of cinematic adaptation, it has stuck with me all these years.

I found myself wandering through the endless hallways of an ancient and eerie mansion. The cobwebs that adorned its opulent furniture made it obvious that no one had been there for many years. Even in its abandonment, however, the electricity was on, and numerous ornate crystal lamps and chandeliers lent a dim glow to its gloomy countenance. I was anxious—but not terrified. Like a character in a horror film, I felt strangely compelled to explore, even while dreading what I might encounter. In the garage, I found a crumbling horse-drawn carriage. In the dining room, a feast was laid out, but there were no diners. And throughout the house, I found more and more crystal lamps. There must have been thousands of them lighting my way.

Then I woke up.

Dreams have fascinated people since the beginning of recorded history. In ancient Egypt, people with vivid dreams were considered to be blessed with special insight, and many of their dreams have been found recorded on papyrus. In fact, the Egyptians believed that one of the best ways to receive divine revelation was through dreaming, and some people even slept on sanctified "dream beds” to gain wisdom from the gods.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, scholars largely abandoned these supernatural ideas. Prominent figures such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung instead concluded that dreams provided insights into the inner workings of the mind. In his book The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud detailed a complex system of dream analysis. At its core, his theory stated that while our conscious minds slumber, our unconscious minds produce images that can give us special insight into our deepest selves.

Regardless of whether dreams foretell the future, allow us to commune with the divine, or simply provide a better understanding of ourselves, the process of analyzing them has always been highly symbolic. To understand the meaning of dreams, we must interpret them as if they were written in a secret code. A quick search of an online dream dictionary will tell you that haunted houses symbolize “unfinished emotional business,” dimly lit lamps mean you’re “feeling overwhelmed by emotional issues,” a feast indicates “a lack of balance in your life,” and garages symbolize a feeling of “lacking direction or guidance in achieving your goals.” So there it is: At 14, I was feeling emotional about lacking balance and direction in my life.

But what if there’s no secret code, and we’ve been spending our time reading into a bunch of random images, much like people find shapes and objects hidden in the clouds? What if dreams don’t actually mean anything?

That’s the conclusion drawn by some modern neuroscientists, who believe that dreams are just a side effect of more fundamental neurological processes. Although people often think that the brain is shut down during sleep, researchers now know that sleep is a period of intense neurological activity. One of the main reasons we sleep may be to allow the brain to consolidate and organize our memories. Much like computers must periodically optimize their hard disks, our brains must continuously consolidate the memories we have stored. You can think of it as a kind of neurological housecleaning, sweeping away the unnecessary experiences from the previous day and storing the important ones more securely. Research shows, for instance, that people’s recall of recently learned tasks improves after sleep, and that their memory suffers if sleep is interrupted. That’s why parents and teachers often urge children to get a good night’s sleep before taking a test.

Although not all researchers agree, many think that dreams may be an unintended consequence of these and other underlying neurological processes. Harvard psychiatrists J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley, for instance, proposed that, as various brain circuits become active during the night, this triggers sensations, emotions, and memories, all of which are essentially random. Given that we’re meaning-making creatures, however, our brains assemble all of this underlying activity into a story. But this story doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s simply an attempt to make sense of the neural activity that has taken place. This is why dreams seem so illogical and strange.

So why do people cling so tightly to their dream dictionaries?

It may have something to do with what researchers call the “Barnum Effect,” named for circus entrepreneur P. T. Barnum. Psychology professor Bertram Forer first demonstrated this effect in 1948, when he administered a fake personality test to 39 students. They didn’t know it, but all of them received exactly the same results, including statements like, “You have a great need for other people to like and admire you,” and “You have a tendency to be critical of yourself.” Afterward, the students were asked to rate how accurate they felt these results were on a five-point scale. The average rating was an astounding 4. 3, indicating that even though everyone received the same fake feedback, they felt that the test did an almost perfect job of summarizing their minds’ inner workings.

Dozens of similar studies have replicated Forer’s findings in the intervening decades, involving horoscopes, handwriting analysis, and yes, even dream analysis.

“Barnum statements” are easily accepted as true because of their wide applicability. Even though they sound specific, they can apply to almost anyone, much like the interpretation of my haunted house dream. Doesn’t “feeling emotional about lacking balance and direction” apply to virtually everyone, to some degree? We could reasonably ask the same question about almost any interpretation given by a dream dictionary. And if all interpretations apply equally well to almost everyone, then they’re not truly accurate of anyone.

But not all scientists agree that there’s no inherent purpose or meaning to dreams. Tore Nielsen and Ross Levin have proposed a theory midway between Freud’s almost magical symbol-based system of dream analysis and the view that dreams are simply random. Their perspective, the Neurocognitive Model of Dreaming, is complicated, and impossible to completely explain here. Although this theory still states that dreams are closely tied to neurological memory consolidation processes, that doesn’t mean they’re random. Instead, Nielsen and Levin believe, the stories our brains weave from seemingly random dream images are guided, at least in part, by our emotional states. For instance, as the amount of negative experiences in our waking life rises, the probability of having bad dreams also rises. This may be why people who have experienced trauma are more susceptible to nightmares than others. According to this theory, an important function of dreams is what the researchers term “fear extinction"—that is, dreams help us to process our stressful experiences in a healthy way, putting them “to rest,” so we’re not overwhelmed with negative feelings during our waking lives. When the process is working properly, dreams use the stresses and waking concerns in our lives as source material, taking them apart and reassembling them into odd but generally harmless stories, a procedure which ultimately allows us to move past them.

Though the Neurocognitive Theory of Dreaming would suggest that the particular symbols in my haunted house dream don't have any objective or universal meanings that I could find in a dream dictionary, the overall emotional quality of the dream probably does have meaning. Like many 14-year-olds, I was full of youthful angst as I encountered the stresses of growing up—feelings which showed up in my dream.

Source: Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

So while dreams may not tell the future, allow us to commune with the supernatural, or give us special insight into the depths of our unconscious, they do tell us something about our emotions. Because most of us occasionally get out of touch with how we’re feeling, this is a useful insight.

In other words, if you’re experiencing a stream of bad dreams, it might be worth checking in with yourself about how you’ve been feeling, and perhaps consider whether there’s some action you could take to help improve your mood.

I suggest you start by putting the dream dictionary down.

Do you believe in dreams?

Attempts to study the origin of dreams and their influence on people have been made for centuries. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that sleep is a source of divine revelations, so the elect were allowed to sleep on consecrated beds to receive the wisdom of the gods. And people who see vivid dreams were generally considered almost prophets and their dreams were recorded on papyrus. Many years have passed since then, of course, scientists have abandoned such theories, but sleep is still one of the main mysteries of mankind, although some interesting facts about sleep are already known. 9

What we know about dreams By the way, sometimes this phase of sleep may be absent for various reasons, so we spend the night without entertaining dreams. It is also known that in one night we can contemplate from 3 to 6 dreams, lasting from 5 to 20 minutes each, but we remember, as a rule, the one that was dreamed last.

Experts define sleep as a thought process, which in most cases is some kind of continuation of events that happened to a person during the day, just all emotions and events are in the form of metaphors and symbols that require interpretation.

During sleep, the brain works differently than during wakefulness - some areas begin to work more actively, some completely stop their activity. For example, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for rational thinking, is completely disconnected from the work process, but the amygdala, which controls emotions, enters a phase of increased activity. That is why when we see flying cows and a talking tree, for example, in a dream, we perceive this as a completely natural event.

Strange as it may seem, in dreams we keep thinking about our problems, achievements, failures, and plans for the future. And while being in an unconscious state, we are maximally focused on the issues that concern us. Therefore, it is quite possible that the answers to them can also come to us in this state.

Are there prophetic dreams? Proponents of the rational approach are firmly convinced that a person's experience is manifested in the form of symbols in a dream, but the other half believe that dreams can be harbingers of future events, and there is historical evidence for this.

Three days before the assassination, Abraham Lincoln had a dream in which he attended his own funeral and saw his own closed body, about which he told his wife and several friends when he woke up. Carl Jung kept records of his terrifying dreams about "dead" Europe some time before the First World War. Why, probably, every person at least once in his life witnessed how dreams, after some time, came true. Of course, until the moment of this incarnation it is impossible to determine whether the dream was prophetic, hence all the ensuing difficulties in interpretation.

Sigmund Freud in his works wrote that sleep is nothing but repressed and unconsciously suppressed conflicts and desires, which often drag on from childhood. There are many opinions, but be that as it may, in any case, it is clear that dreams do not just happen, it is through them that our subconscious communicates with us, which we do not always hear in the waking state.

Working with dreams

If you are really interested in learning how to interpret dreams, experts recommend starting a special diary in which you will record dreams, as well as events and experiences that occurred during the day and conduct further analysis. It will take literally a little time before you begin to identify patterns between nighttime images and waking events. For example, after a strong disappointment experienced during the day, at night you may find yourself in the midst of a plane crash, and after a terrible attack by a bear in a dream, an unexpected relative will suddenly come to visit in the morning ...

You can also try to understand dreams logically. For example, if in a dream you see yourself as a small child sitting in a cage, then in reality you may well feel helplessness and limitations, which are embodied in a dream in the form of a cage. In a word, your intuition and inner instinct act as an assistant: cling to the right strings in the process of thinking, and something will respond inside.

It is also worth considering that sometimes dreams may not have any meaning and reproduce what the brain picks up from the environment during rest. For example, if you sleep in a room with a TV on, where a horror movie is being broadcast, all the sounds coming from the speakers will be received by the brain and transferred to a dream, where you will become an active participant in the events. That is why you should rest in a calm environment.

Get insight

Dreams contain a lot of useful information that we need to know and take into account in life. These can be indications of the future, valuable advice, as well as warnings that it is time to ease the pressure and take a break. Sleep is not just pictures, it is the only time in the day when our brain is really focused on us, our problems, goals, and this should be used.

One should not underestimate the creative bonus that a dream can bring. So, for example, one of the most popular paintings by Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, originally appeared to the artist in a dream, exactly like the idea of ​​the film Inception came to Christopher Nolan in his night dreams. Who knows, maybe the next brilliant idea will come to you. It's just a shame that according to statistics, about 9We forget 5% of dreams immediately after waking up - this is how many insights are lost in vain ...

future events, so listening to it will definitely not be superfluous.

Is it possible to interpret dreams from dream books?


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Is it possible to interpret dreams from dream books?

February 04, 2021 172 Basyp shygaru nuskasy

The Holy Qur'an says: “Allah takes souls at the moment of death, and the one that does not die yet, during sleep. He holds the one to whom he predetermined death, and releases the other until a certain period. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think” (Az-Zumar, 42).

At night, a mysterious world of dreams opens up to us. Dreams, like every thing, are created by Allah Almighty. According to Islamic doctrine, dreams are of three types: dreams from Allah - righteous and good, bringing good news, dreams from Shaitan - unpleasant and frightening, dreams from nafs - dreams associated with one's own experiences and thoughts.

Having seen a certain dream, a person often experiences curiosity or anxiety, he wants to know what this dream means, whether it is a harbinger of something. Muslims often ask themselves the question: is it possible, according to our religion, to use dream books in the hope of interpreting your dream? First of all, it is worth noting that a person is characterized by curiosity, a desire to know his future, to know the hidden and secret. And Allah Almighty, by His infinite wisdom and mercy, made the world of dreams hidden and secret, so that people would live in reality, and not in dreams, and He made the meaning of this or that dream known only to Himself. That is, you should not pay excessive attention to dreams, perceive them as undeniable messengers of what will definitely happen in the future. Obsessed with dreams, you can forget about real life. What makes a person turn to dream books? Usually fear and anxiety. But not a single thing comprehends a believer and cannot harm him without the will of Allah Almighty for this. First of all, having seen a dream, joyful or disturbing, the believer should turn to Allah with gratitude or a request for protection, and not look for its interpretation in the dream book. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “If a person sees in a dream something he likes, then let him thank Allah and do not tell anyone about it, except for those whom he loves. And if he sees something unpleasant for him, then let him spit three times over his left shoulder and say: “Auzu bill-layahi minash-shaytaani rrajiimi wa min sharrih” (“I seek refuge with Allah from Shaitan and his evil). Let him lie on the other side and tell no one. He will not be harmed by this dream.” (Bukhari) Upon hearing this hadeeth, the brother of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) Abu Salama said: “In the past, some dreams were harder for me than mountains, but now I do not pay any attention to them.”

Nowadays, there are a huge number of dream books. It is not reprehensible to refer to Islamic dream books as such, but it is worth remembering that dreams are a very delicate matter, and can be brought to life exactly as they will be interpreted. Dreams can materialize and come true, according to what meaning a person will give to him, based on the interpretation in the dream book. The hadith says: “And this dream is in an indefinite state until they talk about it. When they speak, then he will fall” (Tirmizi). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that a dream is realized the way you interpret it. And even terrible and disturbing dreams should be interpreted in a good way. Can we be sure that the interpretation of our dream in the dream book will be good, and that this knowledge will not disturb us even more?

In addition, the same dream, objects and symbols can have completely different meanings for different people.

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