How Are Dreams Similar to Waking Life?
Dream Interpretation​
December 26, 2022
May 17, 2023

How Are Dreams Similar to Waking Life?

You may have noticed that your dream content reflects your daily life, inner thoughts, and more. What is the connection between dreams and reality?

Dreams vs reality

More often than not, our dreams appear random, bizarre, and irrelevant to our waking life. Sometimes, you may notice themes that relate to current or past situations in your life. Even if not literal or obvious, our dreams tend to have connections and metaphors regarding content from our waking lives. Images and faces we may not even notice in the background, save in our subconscious minds and seep into the dream space.  The regurgitations and memory consolidations from our life appear as content for our dreams.

Many people experience nightmares after a traumatic event, especially if it's unresolved. Many see dreams as messages from our unconscious, pointing us toward things to pay attention to, or make connections between, in waking life. Scientists have concluded that dreams have a significant connection with our waking life activities such as decision-making, personality, stressful events etc., and they somehow influence our way of dealing with things.

Our own personal interpretation of our dreams also has an effect on our psyche. The imagery of dreams is not a mysterious language that can only be decoded by an expert, but rather a metaphorical or direct representation of what concerns us emotionally in our waking life. Studies suggest that it is the intensity of emotions that are more likely to appear in dreams. Intense and emotional waking life experiences, whether positive or negative, are activated during sleep and incorporated into dreams via imaginative processes such as metaphor generation and the association of disparate memories. 

Precognitive Dreams

  It is quite common to experience a moment in life exactly as you had previously dreamt it. It may be a random insignificant moment or a serious event. Some research suggests up to a third of people report some type of precognitive experience, often in the form of a dream that seemed to come true. Precognitive dreams, in simple terms, are any dreams that give you information about the future you wouldn’t otherwise have. Most of us know what it feels like to experience uncanny feelings of premonition, a flash of insight into the future that seems to have no rational explanation. We often dismiss these feelings as luck or a creepy coincidence, but what you may not know is that there is compelling scientific evidence that backs up the accuracy of at least some of these precognitive experiences.

Many report that because of their dream they felt prepared and controlled their fear. President Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his death about a week before he died. He was apparently quite interested in the meaning of dreams and what they have to say about future events both positive and negative. This has left scientists perplexed about the true significance of dream content. In 1966, 150 people were killed when waste from a coal mine buried a school in South Wales. Many who had died, as well as other locals, had mentioned dreams and premonitions of dying in the days before.  Dreams certainly show us our past, and present lives. What about dreams that predict the future; could they be real? Scientific research offers several more likely explanations, but experts still don’t fully understand the potential of dreams.

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