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Deconstructing the monster – how to take the power out of your nightmares!

You jump up, your heart’s pounding, your brain is in panic-mode, trying to decipher every image, thought, and feeling  – what have you done? It feels like deja vous!

Suddenly you realise it was all a dream! You haven’t just killed someone, or worse still, you haven’t just been murdered! But it felt so real I hear you cry!

We’ve all been there, the same nightmare repeating itself; wary of falling asleep, fighting it! But sleep is the one thing we all have to get enough of in order to replenish our body, brain, and organs. A sleepless night makes you more anxious and on edge the next day, and you’re therefore more vulnerable to the dark thing, let’s just call it a ‘monster’ (whether a person, thing, or place), which haunts you and leaves you with a sickly feeling in the pit of your stomach.

While a horrible dream may leave you feeling uneasy, the good news is that it rarely has a horrible meaning! Dreaming we are getting hurt or dreaming of hurting others (at times in gruesome ways), doesn’t mean these things will really happen.

According to Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at Rush University in Chicago: Thinking about how the feelings in your dreams relate to what’s happening in your life can help you better recognize and address your internal struggles.”

Modern dream and psychology researchers claim our dreams are where we live out our deepest fears, anxieties, and ‘what if’s’ about the most important events and relationships in our lives. Our subconscious works through problems we are dealing with in real life and leaves clues into what may need to be addressed. This process, believe it or not, moderates, reduces and regulates our emotions so that we are not so overwhelmed by them come morning and are able to get on with our day.

So, working through these often irrational fears in our dreams, could help us deal with life better.

However, you’re probably wondering how you can conquer this? The answer is by facing it head-on. Like in the ocean when a particularly big wave approaches, the best thing to do is to take a big breath, plug your nose, and dive through the wave. It might not be the most pleasant, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative.

Just like with the wave, in order to remove the ‘monster’s’ power, we have to face it! Name it. What does it “feel” like? Could it represent the fight you had with someone close to you? Or maybe it could it be something you’re fearful of and haven’t even admitted to yourself?

Your dream is a piece of narration, a story told to you by your own subconscious brain. So, what is it trying to tell you? Was the monster trying to hurt you? Was it making you hurt another? Find what the monster’s objectives were. There are no wrong answers and only you know the right one, so really dig deep.

Questions to consider are;

  • Who or what does the monster represent in your life? Does it evoke a thought about your boss? Or about an unpleasant experience from your past, even if the dream may have not ‘looked like’ that experience?
  • Ask yourself the same questions about every character and element from your dream. Where did it take place? What feeling does that place evoke in you? Was there anyone else in the dream? Are they a friend or foe?

Now, let me ask you, is that monster still as scary? Probably not so much. By deconstructing our monster apart and looking at it in smaller chunks, we can see that it’s not really that scary. We can disarm the monster and strip it off its power by teasing it apart and ‘attacking’ each separate part.

What did your monster teach you? Are you ready to take your power back and release the hold that your nightmare has on you?

Share your stories with us and join the dream revolution!