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6 Ways to Reap the Health Benefits of Dreams

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2. Don’t Read Dreams Literally
Taking a dream literally doesn’t often help to gain insight–a dream about your partner cheating on you doesn’t mean your partner is cheating on you, or even that you are worried about it. Although often times it does indicate that your partner is spending too much time at work or might be otherwise distracted. Be loose in intrepeting your dreams, look for symbolic significance rather than literal.

Here are some of the most common themes in dreams, and possible interpretations:

Flying and Falling
Flying is usually a sign that you’re in control. The more adept you are at controlling your flight, the higher the chances are that you are feeling in control when awake. But if the flying turns to falling, or if the dream is all about falling, a loss of control is indicated. Falling is a sign that something is not going well–job, relationship, finances, etc. It is a good time to reflect upon what’s feeling slippery to you. Falling dreams are also common for people who suffer from depression.

Losing Teeth
Dream therapist Patrick Andries says that because teeth “process” food just as the brain digests new knowledge, losing your teeth can mean you’ve come across information that you aren’t quite ready to accept yet. Other dream specialists suggest that losing teeth signifies that you have been talking too freely, like gossipping or using blunt language.

Failing An Exam
This dream often takes places when you are feeling challenged by a life circumstance. Look at how you are being challenged or judged, and what you can do to relax and effectively prepare for what (or whom) you’re facing.

Next: Slay that Dragon!

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

11 comments

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10:43AM PDT on Jun 14, 2009

thanks...
Kabin
Konteyner

4:02AM PDT on May 21, 2009

Very nice article. Thanks

3:13PM PDT on May 19, 2009

I am an avid dream explorer and practice the arts of lucid dreaming. I journal all my dreams and have been doing this for 5 years now. Last night, I just stopped a tsunami during lucidity!

6:10AM PDT on May 17, 2009

Interesting article,i like to think i can learn from my dreams although they can be unsettling.Sometimes totally changing my mood for the day.

6:28PM PDT on May 12, 2009

Great article! Thanks so much.

6:58PM PDT on May 10, 2009

Yes, I fully agree, dreams can provide valuable insights into how we really feel about things and what is truly valuable to us. Our conscious mind is greatly influenced by our environment, including our friends, family, and society. Our dreams strip this away so that we can get to our actual feelings.

My dreams are very vivid, but I don't always remember them. I've also noticed that I have a soundtrack, usually music. Some of my dreams seem to be playful, a recreational outlet. I remember waking up one night and laughing as I recognized the music and realized it was an ironic pun on the action of the dream. Sadly, I couldn't remember what it was in the morning!

12:44AM PDT on May 9, 2009

I don't agree at all. I have been dreaming all my life -- almost every single day -- vivid, brilliant , fantastic dreams and I remember every little detail like the colours of the brocade, the shape of the teeth or feet, the threads that stick out of well ironed clothes and so on..it is great fun, that's all. I don't see any connection with my dreams and my life. I wake up and it is another dream!

12:00PM PDT on May 8, 2009

I find that trying to remember feelings experienced and not so much detail in dreams, gives one insight into real life situations that might normally be suppressed.

11:53AM PDT on May 8, 2009

I find that if I try and recall the feelings that I had during a dream instead of details, it gives me more insight into real life situatuations and things I might be suppressing.

7:37AM PDT on May 8, 2009

I found this article very helpful. I've had a very vivid dream life since I was a child and have found the one common theme is about time travel to the past. I use a digital recorder to keep my dream journal rather than writing but over the years I've found these "time travel" dreams as well as all my other dreams have pointed me in the right direction on issues both in the past, present and future.

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