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The 10 Most Common Nightmares Explained

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There’s a very good chance you’ve experienced a nightmare at least once in your life. If you’re unlucky, you’ll have them fairly regularly… or even every night. Once you become aware that dreams are manifestations of your subconscious—causing suppressed fears to rise up and terrorize you during your sleep—there are actually some nightmares that are shared by many people.

As such, these nightmare types in particular have common interpretations that might help you to better understand your anxieties. This will then make it easier for you to address the situation. Here are the ten most common nightmares explained.

The Apocalypse

These are the most straightforward nightmares to understand. If you dream that a tsunami hits your neighborhood, that a tornado rips your city to shreds, or that a deadly meteorite collides with Earth, chances are that you are deeply afraid of something that is just around the corner. (Unless you’re a meteorologist and tomorrow’s your first day on the job, it is unlikely that you are actually dreaming about the weather.)

A redundancy interview or a medical examination might not be the cause of your dreamed disasters; it can be anything from public speaking to a date or a high school reunion. Your anxieties over these liabilities are the areas to focus on if you want to prevent these nightmares from happening again.

Lateness and No-Shows

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For those who live high-pressure lifestyles or work in high-tension workplaces, the panic of missing an important event is nothing new. However, nightmares often exaggerate these fears to magnanimous proportions. While this can certainly reflect a fast-paced lifestyle, it could also reflect the general anxiety of falling short on peoples’ expectations. For example, a nightmare where you miss your wedding might indicate that you are dealing with suppressed anxieties of not living up to your partner’s needs.

Dead Visitors

After losing a loved one, you may feel vividly as though you’ve been visited by them in your sleep, or perhaps you relive their passing over and over again. Quite naturally, this reflects your inability to come to terms with the situation; denial, after all, is an essential part of the grieving process.

Sometimes, though, it may be a little more complicated than that. If you are currently suffering from an illness of your own, seeing dead people in your dreams might reflect your fear of death (or at least the concern over your own health). It is more likely that you will have this type of nightmare if you are currently suffering from a terminal illness.

Breakups

It is fairly common to go to sleep believing you have a loving, stable relationship only to dream that your partner is leaving you. Bizarre, right? Unfortunately, though, this is one of the most straightforward nightmares a person can have. You may be experiencing insecurities regarding your own stake in the relationship, such as thinking you are not good enough for your partner or suspecting that you are not putting enough effort into your relationship. Discussing these dreams with your partner in the morning should help to alleviate your fears.

Nude in Public

Forgotten to wear your pants to school? You’re not the only one who’s had that nightmare. As it turns out, this is one of the most common manifestations of social anxiety, which means that you are probably dealing with some issues surrounding low self-esteem. Being publicly naked in your dreams is a clear sign that you have fears of being judged by others—at least subconsciously.

Losing Your Teeth

As with the nightmares of public nudity, oral trauma or teeth loss is another reflection of deeply-rooted anxieties over one’s self-image. Tooth damage is a stereotype of a poor image, so if you dream this is happening to you, there’s a good chance you are deeply concerned about not looking your best, or that other people are judging you for not looking a certain way.

General Body Damage

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Tooth loss is one thing, but bodily injuries in general can signify a greater sense of vulnerability. It may be that you feel as though you have weaknesses that are being exposed, translating to the possibility of, say, your co-worker taking advantage of you. Psychologists say that isolating your weaknesses and tackling them head on can help to prevent having this dream again.

Deadly Pursuits

Everyone knows the dream where they are being chased by a deadly predator while moving too slowly to ensure their escape. What your mind is doing in these instances is equating an oppressive figure in your daily life with a cinematic chase sequence. This can be a person who is committing abuse or simply a bully of any kind; the common link is that the ‘deadly predator,’ so to speak, is something you are afraid of confronting face-to-face. Similarly, it may also reflect fears of confrontation in general. Targeting these emotions—or learning to deal with arguments in a better and much healthier way—can alleviate these feelings and prevent your mind form ever experiencing such nightmares again.

Claustrophobia

Most of the people who suffer from nightmares of being trapped are likely to suffer from claustrophobia in their waking life. Nevertheless, there are certain triggers for these types of dreams, and they usually consist of tough things like dead-end relationships, a stale job, or financial difficulties. It can also reflect any anxieties you might have regarding the lack of fulfilment of capabilities, which is usually attributable to the contexts mentioned.

Freefall

Whereas nightmares of being trapped are relative to being caught in dead-end situations, nightmares of falling into a bottomless pit or dark abyss often represent a sense of having no control over those situations. In general, it means that you feel as though your life is a literal freefall. However, there are always ways to regain command of your life, and to seek out those solutions is the way to ensure you never experience these terrifying nightmares again.

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