How Anxiety Affects Dreams
Almost everyone at some point is affected by anxiety. Whether you show outwardly that the anxiety affects you or whether you tend to keep it bottled up within you, your anxiety will more than likely play itself out in your dreams somehow.
NightmaresWhen you dream, your subconscious takes over your thoughts. This means that any reserves that you might normally have during waking hours are absolved. Anything can happen in dreams and when faced with anxiety dreams, many people find them to be upsetting. An anxiety dream can be alarming, such as that of a child’s death. Most people wake up with the fear that this dreaded dream will come true.
In actuality, this dream is more than likely the mind’s way of trying to work out a stressful, anxiety-ridden situation. Perhaps the child is growing up and acting out. Maybe the child has reached adulthood and he or she is ready to move out of the house on his or her own. This dream is brought about as a way for your mind to try to resolve the situation. Even though you are still asleep, your mind is always thinking, trying to understand situations.
Anxiety and DreamsNot all anxiety dreams manifest themselves into nightmares. However, you can usually identify an anxiety dream by the strong emotions you feel upon waking. For example, if you are a shy person who does not feel comfortable out in public, you may have a dream in which you are being forced to perform in a public place. You may awake feeling humiliated and anxious – fearful of the situation, which frightens you so much, even though you know it was just a dream.
WorryWhile some of us feel we worry too much during the day, your mind is still capable of worrying at night, and that worry shows up in your dreams. These types of anxiety dreams may be linked to something important or something insignificant in your waking hours. In some cases, you may not understand the dream or how that dream is connected to your waking hours.
But remember, your dreams are usually symbolic rather than literal. That is, the things in your dream may represent something completely different from what they appear to be. Just like with the dream about the death of a child, the death is actually representative of unknown change rather than actual death.
Running AwayAnxiety dreams often involve you trying to run away from something. This is a common, but still terrifying experience. The thing hunting you may take the form of a man, an animal, or even a monster. Children have even reported anxiety dreams in which they are being chased by an inanimate object such as a washing machine or toilet. Adults may find themselves crawling through small spaces or narrow tunnels to escape what is chasing them.
While anxiety dreams are often alarming and troublesome, you need to realize that they are an indication of someone or a situation that is consciously distressing you. While you may be able to ignore it during waking hours, it will creep into your dreams.
Some anxiety dreams may be so disturbing that they cause you sleepless nights. To overcome this, take a good look at the situations and relationships in your life to see what might be linked to the dream. If you can figure out what is causing the dream and resolve that situation, you may find the dreams will lessen if not cease completely.