The most common nightmare for both adults and children includes the theme of being chased. Typically the dreamer does not know the potential assailant but they do feel very threatened by them. Many wake up with their heart racing, gasping for breath and are so relieved to realize that the danger was only in the dream. For adults the chaser can be anything that is after them in waking life, something gaining on them; a deadline, an addiction, a woman's biological clock, their own pressure to lose weight or any similar self-imposed issue. For children the whole world seems so large and out of their personal control. Nightmares can include monsters, the Big Bad Wolf, authority figures, a faceless "bad guy" or the disciplinarian parent.
Nightmares reflect our fears and anxieties. Bad dreams can sometimes be a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for those who have been through trauma. It seems so unfair to have to continue being haunted by something terrible that happened in the past. Talk therapy with a trained counselor can go a long way to stop these disturbing dreams.
If you have a nightmare ask yourself what am I afraid of? Where in my waking life am I not measuring up to my goals? Is there a bully I can make arrangements to avoid? What actions can I take to regain control of my life? Make a new plan to take back the reigns in your life.
If you realize that you are having a nightmare while you are experiencing it, you can turn toward the chaser and ask he or she what they want.
It is normal to have an occasional nightmare. They may be our most important dreams in the sense that their vivid nature helps us to remember them as well as face our fears so we can live with more peace.
Until next time, I wish you Sweet Dreams,