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Bad Dreams or Nightmares? Lucky You

Armen Hareyan's picture

Dreams and Nightmares

Why would anyone want anxiety dreams? Don't people want to get rid of them?

Though perhaps not obvious, almost all nightmares and recurring dreams provide an extremely valuable service to the dreamer. If we block them, we are likely missing their immediate benefit; if we remember but ignore them, we miss their vital messages, both very unwise strategies indeed that serve to perpetuate or worsen the situation, much like putting a Band-Aid over the oil light on our car because we find it annoying or upsetting.

For some, unpleasant dreams recur identically; for others, the content changes yet the theme repeats, such as scenes of falling, being pursued or attacked, late or unprepared for an exam or presentation, unable to move or scream, or having teeth fall out. This type of anxiety dream usually recur and are mainly associated with the dreamer's failure to recognize and solve related life conflicts.

The majority of nightmares therefore, like a bitter but quite necessary medicine, represent opportunities for personal healing through much-needed emotional release. They also warn of current behavior patterns that need adjustment if we don't want such unpleasant dreams to repeat or worsen. Sometimes, such imbalances resolve themselves as the dream percolates into waking thought and we unknowingly respond and make changes in our life. Yet if we ignore such subconscious warnings repeatedly, then life often speaks "louder" to get our attention, bringing related events, which I call "daymares," into our waking hours. These daymares show up as sickness, accidents, relationship difficulties or other unfortunate circumstances that force us outright to deal with the issue at hand.

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So, we truly are lucky to have such nightmares, since they provide a natural "pressure-release" therapy for the psyche, and an early cure if we try to understand and act upon the valuable insights that they offer. The goal is still to put an end to anxiety dreams, but by evolving them into more beneficial scenarios, not by blocking, ignoring or denying them.

Fortunately, there exist non-pharmaceutical nightmare treatments that are remarkably effective. Two of the most useful techniques include dream re-scripting, and lucid dreaming. The lucidity approach is demonstrated by this woman's dream:

"After many recurring nightmares where I'm pursued by a terrifying figure, I learned lucid dreaming and had the following dream: 'I'm in a frantic car chase with the pursuer right behind me. Swerving into a parking lot, I bolt out of the car with him hot on my heels. Suddenly, the scene seems familiar and I realize that I'm dreaming though the lot and trees still seem more real than ever. Drawing up every ounce of courage, I swirl to face my pursuer, repeating to myself that it's only a dream. Still afraid, I scream, "You can't hurt me" He stops, looking surprised. For the first time I see his beautiful, loving eyes. "Hurt you? I don't want to hurt you. I've been running after you all this time to tell you that I love you" With that, he holds out his hands, and as I touch them, he dissolves into me. I awake filled with energy, feeling great for days.' The nightmare never returned." (M.R., San Jose, CA)

So instead of wishing you sweet dreams, I will go one step further, with your greatest fulfillment in mind, and wish you truly pleasant nightmares.


Craig Webb is an author, speaker, dream analyst, and Executive Director of the DREAMS Foundation a non-profit organization that offers information, courses and private counseling/training about dreams, nightmares, lucid dreams and their practical applications. He's made over 200 public/media appearances including the Discovery Channel, CTV, ABC, AOL, and many others. To find out about courses, private consultations, or DreamQuest outdoor retreats, email: [email protected] or contact: 514-990-2113.



All i have is nightmares. every night. i cant move and am either afraid too move or restricted from movement. i scream out for someone to wake me or help me but i am alone. i feel like im losing my mind. this dream is never reoccuring but it is the same that i cant move to wake my self and i do yell out.. this has been going on from january first,08. tonight i woke at two in the morning screaming thinking mice were crawling all over me. afraid too move in fear they would of bit me i was frozen screaming. i thought my father was brushing off the mice and my step mother was yelling at me to stop screaming... i woke myself only too find my head under the covers and then throwing them off of me. im awake now not wanting to go back asleep..... ever. im so over this. can you help?? [email protected]
I have the nightmares that i cant move. i struggle to take a breath. i can move my eyes and see everything in my bedroom. sometimes i see a dark figure watching me. my solution, wich isn't a great one. i drink alcohol before i go to bed. i traded one problem for another. but i can get a good night sleep.
I have had this dream several times in my life. I just woke up to it this morning again. It's where there is a strong invisible presence, its forcful with me, and scares me, and tries to hurt me. The recent dream that i just had, and may I add, that the evil presence is always in the bathroom, in my dream, In this one he had me picked up right off my feet and was strangling me. I felt myself choking and trying to scream for help, and then i felt a kinda calmness and woke-up, not feeling scared but kinda confused about the calmness. INSIGHT ANYONE?? contact me at [email protected]
For the last two months I have had very visual, somewhat recurring nightmares surrounding the theme of animal torture and harm. I am a very gentle, caring person who adores animals so for me it is particularly traumatic. In these dreams I often see animals come to harm and I am unable to stop it. It is horrifying and paralyzing. I recently attempted to change my SSRI medication and I am sure it could be related, but I am curious as to why this particular theme comes up. What is the significance? It's very painful, bothering me even into the day time and making me obsess over issues to do with animal cruelty. I am not normally nuerotic or obsessive, usually pretty balanced! I was raised in Africa in a very rural setting and have also recently moved with a boyfiend to a new country and a totally new setting I am not sure I like. I am homesick. Any help?
I have been having the exact same dreams... I absolutely love animals. In fact I am majoring into animal studies to be a vet tech, so I don't know why these dreams have come about. I didn't start having them until recently.
i have been having some really bad dreams everynight i wake up after having a bad dream,i can remember everything about what i just dreamed and i cant go back to sleep i have been losing sleep. lastnight i dremed my boyfriend was kidnapping me and i was telling people to call 911 but no one did. i woke up every tired at 5am and could not go back to sleep till 8am then i had more nightmares it seems to happen to me everynight me having nightmares for about 3 mounths now. i dont know what to do. and every dream is diff and they seem not to mean anything i dont know what to do.
well your not the only one my boyfriend lives with me and i hit him in real life but i was a sleep
I have had two bad dreams, i remember every thing when i wake up and feel so overwhelmed I've burst in to tears afterwards and my heart starts starts racing. Dream one : My mother was killed and I don't know how i just know she was dead. I was in very formilliar places and it felt o incredibly real. I sat on my bed in the dream and was being confronted by my grandmother until she just left to check on something. I sat in my room alone thinking about my mothers death and all of sudden thought i was approaching it myself, i screamed for help but no words came out. Then i woke up. Dream two: I dreamed my boyfriend cheated on me with a girl he was once with and like in the first one everything was so intensely real. Nobody listened to me cry, and every time i would meet with my best friend he'd end up across from me to where i couldn't get to him. I woke up again feeling once overwhelmed and shaky and burst into tears. I don't know how to control it from happening but it scares the shit out of me.