5 Common Questions About Dreams—Answered By A Psychotherapist

Pooja Maheshwary , 15 Jan 2021
Dream Catcher By marina shin | www.shutterstock.com
Dream Catcher By marina shin | www.shutterstock.com

Why people dream is one of the oldest questions ever. There have been many theories about their nature and purpose. Are they messages from the subconscious? Or simply meaningless firing of neurons in the brain? What do dreams mean, anyway?

So, we invited Anshuma Kshetrapal, Drama and Movement Psychotherapist, to host an Ask Me Anything session on Girl Tribe By MissMalini and answer some of the most common questions we have about dreams. What are dreams, why do we dream, how long do dreams really last, is there any meaning to dreams, what are your dreams trying to tell you, what are lucid dreams, what are nightmares, what are the common dream disorders—Anshuma answered these questions. Scroll down to read all about it!

Disclaimer: Please note that the scope of this medium of communication does not permit for any diagnosis or exact interpretation. For those reasons, please visit Anshuma or any other therapist specialising in psychoanalysis as it takes much more detailed and in-depth work to be able to explore individual meanings of dreams and or offer any diagnosis on sleep or dream disorders.

Q. I dream almost daily, but I don’t remember all my dreams. Sometimes, I make a note of them on my phone. Is there a way to remember our dreams better?

Dreams are information from our unconscious mind. To dream better, we need to practice good sleep hygiene. You can look up techniques like lucid dreaming and active imagination as well. I personally maintain a dream journal and it is a great way to keep track of what the unconscious mind may be wanting to communicate.

Q. What is lucid dreaming?

It is simply the awareness of being in a dream state and then allowing the state to continue, consciously. It takes practice to start catching ourselves in that situation and then changing the outcome of our dreams. This way our minds become more accessible. It can mostly happen in the early hours of the day when you wake up, yet allow a dreamlike state to continue. Just like meditation and any other psychological skill, it can be learnt.

Q. What is maladaptive daydreaming? Is daydreaming unhealthy if you indulge in it once in a while?

Daydreaming is our way of capturing our intangible emotions, metaphors that can help us understand our mind better than words can. But when anything starts hampering our daily functioning, we call it ‘maladaptive’. So, daydreaming is encouraged absolutely, but if you ignore your tasks and procrastinate in your life to participate in daydreaming then that is where the problem begins. Otherwise, enjoy those little mind vacations!

Q. Do you think dream catchers are helpful in trapping your bad dreams or nightmares?

As a therapist, I encourage all my clients to examine their culture and belief systems for things that they like and give them support. As such there is no scientific explanation for dream catchers but if it helps you to believe and dream better, then more power to you. The mind acts on our faith and if this cultural talisman is helping you then catch those bad dreams away!

Q. How can we improve the quality of our dreams?

The quality of our dreams is reflective of both mental and physical factors related to our sleep.

  • Physical factors: If our physical sleep hygiene improves and we don’t carry our anxieties to bed, we can dream more clearly. For this, we need to set our sleep timing, avoid screens, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, create the right conditions for sleep, etc.
  • Mental Factors: Mental sleep hygiene requires us to calm our minds before going to bed, spending some time with ourselves, and doing things we like to ground ourselves. Also, reflecting on our feelings, being true to them and taking care of our minds is important.

What would you like to know about dreams? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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