Wellness is multidisciplinary, all-encompassing and not just limited to our conscious choices in health and fitness, but also our subconscious healthy mind.
Read: health is about what we feed our tummies, our muscles, and our brains! Overall fitness of the mind, body and soul, if you will.
And dreams are a huge part of our healthy mental state. Interpreting these vivid movies in our mind can be uber helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the state that we are in, bringing awareness to things that otherwise might go unnoticed in our normal day-to-day grind. It’s important to acknowledge dreams (or nightmares!) as internal cues that your body may be sending you.
While it can be hard to believe that an oddball dream about your mother, a circus and a snowstorm can have any bearing on real life, there may be symbolism and potential meaning to be mined in every dream—you just have to look for it, says Harvard-trained psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber. “The meaning of our dreams oftentimes relates to things we are needing to understand about ourselves and the world around us,” he says. Instead of shrugging off strange dreams, think about how they make you feel. “We tend to dismiss these dreams due to the strange components, yet it is the feeling we have in these dreams that matters most,” he explains. “Sometimes the circus and the snowstorm are just fillers that allow us to process the range of emotions we feel about our mother and give us the necessary distraction so we can actually experience that spectrum of emotion.”
Studies also show that dreaming is a way of processing new information, so these unconscious telenovelas can actually help us learn and get smarter!! WHOA! Totally bodacious.
If anyone were to ask me how my life is right now, I would probably relay a huge monologue of all of the amazingly wonderful things that are happening in my world. My career is really taking bloom, I am so happy and fulfilled in my work, I feel healthy and alive and surrounded by great friends. Of course, I have to deal with the daily agony of the subway and the ever-present magic trick of making the rent check appear each month, but otherwise I’m generally not overly-stressed and actually quite happy.
Which is why I was shocked off my rocker last night to find myself in an underwater stare-down with an enormous tiger.
I mean. I can’t really think of anything more stressful than being submerged with no breathing device in a pool with a huge carnivorous feline. #totallyhelpless
But upon closer inspection, I realized it actually had a beautiful message, as crazy as that sounds.
My dream was as follows: As I plunged underwater, I came face to face with a larger-than-life tiger staring right back at me. My first instinct was what I would assume to be a pretty generic reaction in this situation: total and utter fear and dread, fight-or-flight mode. Cue adrenaline.
But floating under the calm layer of water I became still as I realized that this tiger had a peaceful expression on his furry, terrifying face and was surprised to find that he was not actually lunging at my jugular to immediately execute and eat me alive. My whole energy shifted. I felt my body relax, and suddenly I took a huge invigorating deep breath. Underwater. And didn’t die.
Apparently, I’m a mermaid in my dreams.
Tame that shit.
But for real, it became instantly apparent that this dream was actually a metaphor for realizing a fear, staring at it dead on and conquering it with serenity and strength. Kind of coolio, if you ask me.
I inspire you to look closely at your dreams this week. Allow yourself to dissect a particularly weird one, and try to find its significance. Because if we learn to take a deep breath underwater and read between the stripes, we just may find some clarity.