Icon by James Stone. All images courtesy of The Noun Project.
People have ascribed spiritual meaning to dreaming for thousands of years, but the science behind it is still something of a mystery. Once you hit the mattress and drift off to sleep, you’re likely to find yourself in situations totally foreign to your waking life. Psychologists and neurobiologists have been putting forth theories for centuries, but the exact scientific function of dreaming is still largely unknown.
We polled our coworkers at Hayneedle’s corporate office to find out their five most common recurring dream themes. Unpreparedness for an event or assignment, buildings and houses, being chased, falling or drowning, and being trapped were the most common results. Other common themes included losing teeth, arriving late, being able to fly, and walking or running in place.
While the jury’s still out on the exact science behind our dreams, there are some commonly accepted theories behind their potential meanings. We dove into the world of dream interpretation to find out the symbolism behind our most common dreams …
Being unprepared for a test, interview, or performance may indicate anxiety over an upcoming event or task in the waking world. Some consider these dreams to be expressions of your own self-doubt and fear of failing to meet expectations. If you’re plagued by these dreams, go ahead and practice some self-love. You’re a rock star! You can do it!
Icon by RULI
Buildings and Houses
The significance of buildings and houses seems to be a source of debate within the dream interpretation community. Some theorize that the structure represents your brain and thought processes, and that each room embodies a different segment of your personality, memories, or emotions.
Others suggest that buildings represent your status in life. They theorize that the higher you go in the building, the higher your levels of understanding, success, and self-awareness are.
Icon by Ferran Brown
Similarly to dreaming about unpreparedness, dreaming about getting chased may signify avoidance or fear. Some even suggest that whomever or whatever you’re running away from represents your own suppressed feelings or worries. See if you can determine who’s doing the chasing or what you’re running away from … It may give you some insight into your deep-seated anxieties.
Icon by Christopher T. Howlett
Drowning or Falling
If you regularly dream about drowning, you may be feeling overwhelmed or overburdened in your waking life. Similarly, dreams about falling may indicate insecurity or a lack of control, or that you’ve failed to succeed in a particular endeavor. If you dream of falling without any fear – lucky you! This may mean that the adversity in your life will be overcome with ease.
Icon by Andrew Doane
Dreams of being trapped may be another indicator of anxiety or dissatisfaction in your waking life. Some theorize that these dreams mean you’re feeling confined or in a rut. Perhaps you feel restricted in your career, health, or relationships. Is it time for a change from your daily routine?
Icon by Luis Prado
If there’s anything you should take away from these theories, it’s that your self-image in your waking life plays a major role in dreaming. If you’re looking to sweeten up your dreams, see if you can pinpoint the areas of your life that make you feel stressed, scared, or overwhelmed. It may provide more insight than you expected.