If you think about it, a dream is like an unscripted episode of our lives, playing out in a bizarre sequence. We think dreams rarely make any sense, but in truth, they can make more sense than our conscious thoughts!
The body doesn't lie, it is unabashedly honest. If you have a particular physical symptom, it indicates that there's something wrong by pain for example. The mind also works like this through dreams. The dream is, simply put, a mirror to your reality. The first reaction of most people is to deny what their dreams are telling them. Because dreams are so fantastically absurd, it's hard for us to grasp the fact that they are actually very intricately linked to our own reality. Our conscious personality acts as a barrier to our subconscious self, taking into account factors like social norms and upbringing. It is dreams that act out our real emotions and instincts, without any concern for logic.
When we're awake, we are actively trying not to show our inner feelings to the world. When we're sleeping, however, is when our subconscious gets free reign to tell us what's really up. It's where our minds can express things the only way they know how - going back to basic human instinct. Unfortunately, our waking mind cannot often grapple with this concept easily.
As a counselor, I tackle this by trying to disconnect a person from reality as they see it. I put them in the scenario they were dreaming about. For example, if the dream was about a trapeze artist swinging back and forth, I'd ask the person how they felt about it. The answer you get could be ‘Scared that nobody would catch me and that I'd fall'. It's a simple analogy - that person is probably insecure about their friends, family or colleagues supporting him. That explains the dream and any physical symptoms the person might be experiencing as a result, like acidity, which is really common.
As a therapist I have to help people bridge that gap and make the connection. Then I proceed to breathing exercises and therapy. This also serves as a warning about similar future incidents. For me personally, every time I see a big wave or fire and I get up with a gasp, I know I'm going to get a bad bout of cold and coughs. So I take necessary precautions like drinking warm water and taking steam.
People get wrapped up in the scenario in the dream - alien planet landscapes, weird creatures and what not. But that's not the important bit. Forget about the context. You have to think about how you were feeling in the dream. Write down your feelings without context. Then try and correlate those same adjectives to specific aspects of your life. If it matches any particular situation or illness, then that's your answer right there!
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