Psychologists have pondered about the reasons and origins of our dreams for at least a century. The father of psychology Sigmund Freud pioneered the study of dreams, and since then, psychologists have learned so much about them.
A particularly interesting notion in psychology is that of the so-called universal dreams, or dreams that are common to all humans across history and cultures. Psychologist Patricia Garfield believes that the reason why all of us have universal dreams from time to time varies. Some of these dreams stem from our instincts and our ancestors’ experience, while others are caused by a modern cultural code and personal experience.
Garfield also points out that these dreams are very valuable to one’s psychological well-being, so knowing what they mean can teach you a lot about yourself. Now let’s cut to the chase and finally look into each of these mysterious universal dreams, and find out why we have them.
1. Finding or Exploring a New Room.
Rooms are not just rooms in the dream world, they are the reflection of your psyche. If you find a new room or new location in a dream, it may be because you have discovered a new talent or “unlocked” a new skill.
If you suddenly appear in an unknown room or house in your dream, it means that you are confused about your self-image. A dirty or dusty room may mean a neglected talent or part of personality.
An interesting approach to dream analysis belongs to psychotherapist Eddie Traversa. He states that we associate certain rooms with specific processes on a subconscious level:
1. A kitchen is a place associated with work and transformation, so finding yourself in a kitchen means that you’re currently experiencing some inner changes.
2. A bathroom is a place where we cleanse and free ourselves of unnecessary baggage, so it symbolizes a need to rethink things and lose some emotional baggage.
3. A bedroom is associated with romantic relationships and especially the concerns you have about your romantic life.
2. Losing Your Teeth, Getting Injured or Dying.
I know, this is a surprising one, and yet, most people have a dream like that at least once in their lifetime. According to Penney Pierce, people who feel helpless and out of control of their lives can experience this type of dream because conceptually we associate our teeth as the symbol of our physical strength.
Garfield, on the other hand, believes that teeth falling out is a result of us clenching our jaws as a symbol of suppressed anger. She claims that it might be signaling the need to vent your negative emotions.
In the same category are dreams where you or someone else you know dies or gets injured. Though these dreams may be difficult to deal with, they are usually a good sign. From the point of view of psychologists, these dreams signify rebirth and regeneration, new insight into your own life or a relationship with another person.
3. The End of the World or a Natural Disaster.
When you get overwhelmed by everything that is happening in your life, you are more likely to be visited by one of those dreams where the world is about to end. Think, do you feel threatened by something or someone in your life? If so, you need to face your fear, as your mind is activating the alarm signal through this scary dream.
Note, however, that this isn’t always the case. Did you watch a catastrophe film last night or did you read too much about catastrophes in the media? If so, your mind might just be digesting what you’ve seen or read and there is no reason for concern.
4. Being Followed, Chased or Persecuted.
A dream expert Lauri Loewenberg states that a dream about being chased is characteristic of people that avoid conflict and are afraid to bring up issues. The thing or person that is chasing you might hint what situation or conflict you’re trying to avoid.
An alternative theory claims that these dreams are a manifestation of our primitive instincts, as, in the distant past, we had to survive in the wild. The fear of being chased, then, even if just in a dream, would urge us to be more alert and wary of predators.
Dreams about failed public speeches and exams are a cliche in movies, and for good reason, as most people have had them at least once. Have you ever dreamt that you didn’t know the answer to a simple question in class, or that you failed an exam? Don’t worry, because worrying and anxiety are the cause of these dreams. Take a break and relax instead.
Speaking of cliches, how about that dream when you showed up to an important business meeting in just your underwear, or not even that? Psychologist Ian Wallace points out that it is important to notice how you felt in the dream. Did you feel proud of yourself or embarrassed?
If you didn’t experience any shame, it means that you feel like you’re underappreciated in some aspect of your life, be it work, family or relationships. If, however, you did feel embarrassment, it means that you’re afraid that someone will learn about your secrets or weaknesses.
In any case, contemplate your feeling and try to understand what caused these negative emotions, as this type of dream signifies suppressed negative emotions.