5 Common Dreams That People Have And What They Mean

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10 October 2023

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Dreams are quite literally a universal human experience in which when we are asleep, we experience an array of ideas and emotions in a story-like pattern. In some cultures, dreams are perceived to be a window of yourself in a different dimension. In ancient Egyptian culture, dreams were believed to be a form of seeing into a different reality. In Hindu culture, dreams are a window into the future and in some cultures, dreams are held to have no significance at all.

Dreams can (despite being relatively cohesive and coherent at the time) feel fleeting. They can range from being enjoyable to horrific; with some dreams being entertaining, some exhilarating, and others, outright disturbing or bizarre. There may be multiple storylines at play, faces in the background which are recognised by your subconscious but fundamentally they are actually vastly complex. 

Studies have shown that certain dreams may represent emotions that we are currently feeling in our lives, albeit somewhat subconsciously. Dreams tend to be symbolic and allude to a wider apprehension that we have in our lives. As a frequent haver of dreams, I’m here to tell you about 10 common dreams that people have and what they supposedly mean.

floating bed with clouds with a sky blue colour scheme.

1. You dream that you’re being chased

In general, dreams of being chased suggest that you’re anxious but are not entirely conscious of the source of this anxiety. 

According to the book ‘Man and His Symbols’ by author C.G Jung, it examines the world of unconsciousness and symbols revealed in dreams. Any dreams where you are being chased indicate a current sense of heightened stress or anxiety and avoiding taking active steps to understand the cause. This is also a standard interpretation of the dream amongst modern psychologists who believe that any chase related dreams display avoidant tendencies. 
If you’re having this dream, take it as a hint from your unconscious state of mind that you’re avoiding an issue or a person that needs to be dealt with. The answer to the why may even derive from who you’re being chased by, according to some psychologists. 

2. You dream about death

This dream can manifest in different ways; you can be the person dying or you can dream that someone else is dying. Although dreams of this nature can be somewhat unnerving and feel ominous, professional dream analysts and psychologists alike say that this is actually more representative of a death of a cycle. It represents a stage of major transformation.

Dreams about death tend to represent a significant change in your life. Psychologists believe that a peaceful death represents acceptance of a change, whilst a more tumultuous death can be indicative of resistance to transformation and change, and being afraid of the change that’s going on. 

If you have this dream, I urge you to consider what cycles you may be welcoming into your life and allow change to take its course.

3. You dream about taking a surprise test or exam

According to best-selling author and dream scientist Michael R Olsen, this is one of the most common dream types.

Dreaming about an exam or test that is upcoming and suddenly sprung on you invokes feelings of stress and surprise as you lack control. Olsen says that such dreams tend to symbolise an upcoming decision that needs to be made about you rather than by you. It symbolises a lack of control and autonomy over your own decision-making and inherent anxieties that you may have over a situation e.g., starting a new job, becoming a parent, moving to a new city – the question is whether you’ll succeed or fail in this endeavour.

If you have this dream, recognise that you may be unduly scrutinising yourself for something which isn’t in your immediate control and let the situation play out as it should.

4. You dream that you’re cheating on your partner

Theresa Cheung is a UK Sunday Times bestselling author in the field of dreams and the science of consciousness. In her book  “The Dream Dictionary from A to Z,” she noted that cheating dreams are actually very healthy to have because they represent that you’re not being completely honest with yourself and that “there’s more of you to discover.” 

Dreams involving cheating with people you know are said to symbolise underlying issues with your partner, but more a lack of being fulfilled in general. They are generally believed to represent a sign of insecurity in yourself, hidden fears of abandonment or discontent, or anxiety regarding your own adequacy. Such dreams are a sign to take a look at yourself and work out any insecurities that you may have rising to the surface. 

Alternatively, cheating dreams with celebrities are said to be representative of human curiosity and often mean nothing at all. A means to experiment which you wouldn’t in real life, they provide a window into an alternative life that many of us may not have access to.

distressed woman trying to find the meaning of dream.

5. You dream that you’re somewhere completely in the nude

This dream is often believed to symbolise feelings of shame and an attempt to hide but being unsuccessful in doing so. Many authors and dream scientists (including Jung, and Freud) believe that this dream relates to anxiety about being forthcoming and honest about a weakness or secret to the public.

The best way to get over dreams like this, is to try to unpack what it is that may be causing you to feel this way when conscious. It could be an indicator that you’re being far too critical of yourself while awake and an important reflector to become more self-confident. 

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