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Monthly Archives: August 2013

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4 facts about dreamsYou Can Control the Contents of Your Dream

Most people have heard of the term lucid dreamer, but don’t’ really know what it fully means. Lucid dreaming is real and with practice dreamers can actually control specifics about their dream. They have even invented apps for your phone that will detect when you are in REM sleep and repeat certain words or phrases to help shape your dreams. There are a number of tools that dreamers can use to help control the content of their dreams.


Puzzle dreamsDreaming can help You Solve Real Life Problems

You have probably heard that if you sleep on it you might discover the answer to your waking life problem. Research has shown that the performance on specific problem solving tasks often improves after a period of REM sleep, compared to being awake. You are probably wondering if there is a catch to sleeping on something. Well, researchers found that sleeping on difficult problems actually help with problem solving abilities, however, sleeping on easy problems made no difference than being awake. So sleep is much more effective at solving difficult problems than easy problems.


Dream inventionsDreams can Help you Discover New Inventions

The next time you are about to go to sleep think about a problem that has yet to be solved.  Dream psychologist Deirdre Barrett who is the author of the book The Committer of Sleep, discovered in a study that 50% of dreamers who thought of a problem before bed actually dreamt about that problem. A total of 25% of the dreamers actually dreamed of specific solutions to the problem they were dreaming about. If you can conjure up the image of a specific problem before going to bed, there is a chance that you will discover the solution to this problem in a dream.


dream about caloriesMore time Spent Dreaming Can Help You Burn Calories

Most people don’t consider dreaming and diet to be correlated. However, studies have shown that people who had less REM sleep had a slower metabolism and actually consumed more carbohydrates and chocolate compared to those with more REM sleep.  Due to the fact that REM cycles get longer and longer after the 6 hour mark, you are more likely to burn calories the longer you dream. Dreaming is calorie demanding, which is why you should do more of it.

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Carl Jung Dream TheoryCarl Jung is one of the founding fathers of psychology and helped to create a number of theories one of these known as archetypes.  His work had a large impact in the world of dreaming because he gave alternative interpretations to his mentor Sigmund Freud. Although Freud once referred to Carl Jung as the “adopted eldest son, his crown prince and successor,” Jung would go on to forge his own path with theories that differentiated from his mentor Freud.

Similar to his mentor Freud, Jung believed that the unconscious mind was at work while dreaming, however, he’s views were very different than Freud on the meaning of dreams. While Freud’s work often emphasized the sexual meaning of a dream, Jung’s view was that the dreams were a window into the subconscious, not masking them. He believed that dreams were designed to help offer dreamers advice in the waking life, taking a similar role to a counselor. Dreaming was a communicative process that allowed for you conscious and subconscious to connect with each other.

Like Freud, Jung believed there was an ego, but his ego was a sense of yourself and the perception of yourself to the outside world. He was a firm believer in opposites such as young/old, male/female, and dark/light. For this reason, the ego had a counterpart, which was aptly named the “counter ego” or “shadow.” This counter ego represented specific parts of you that you wanted to hide or rejected. Very similar to Freud’s Id.

Freud’s view on dreaming was that everyone has their own tools to interpret a dream. He viewed specific dreams as something designed to help reveal something about yourself that you didn’t know. Your dreams were given to you to help realize your full potential in your waking life. His view was that your interpretation of your own dream was the most important opinion that matter, more valuable than anyone else’s opinion.

Jung’s view was that by discussing what is currently going on in your life, you can help unlock specific cryptic messages and images in your dream. Jung’s overall interpretation of dreams emphasis the dreamer and the power they have to unlock the answers in the dream. There is no single correct interpretation of a dream; whatever interpretation feels right to you is the most significant one.

Carl Jung’s Archetypes

To help people discover the meaning of dreams, Jung helped define certain symbols that possessed the same overall meaning for men and women universally. This phenomenon was coined “collective unconscious” and was used to help find meaning in dreams. Carl Jung created archetypes which are specific models of people, behaviors and personalities.  Here are some of the  Major Archetypes:

The Persona – The Persona is the exterior mask that you wear to the world. This is your conscious minds representation of you. The persona is the superficial values that you perceive and want to show the world around you. A great example of this is a business man wears expensive suits and an artist may wear eccentric clothes.

The Shadow – The shadow is represented by everything in us that is unconscious, denied, suppressed or underdeveloped. These are often seen as dark rejected aspects of yourself. This shadow is often seen as an aspect of yourself that you want to hide from the world because you view it as ugly and unappealing to others.

This shadow can be represented as:  someone who frightens you, usually a shadowy figure the same sex as the dreamer; walking dead person or a zombie; dark object or shape; an unseen thing; someone or something that we feel uneasy about; someone addicted to drugs; something dark or threatening in a dream; a minority; prostitute; gypsy; or a burglar.

The Anima/Animus – The anima and animus represent the male and female aspects within you. Dreamers always have both masculine and feminine qualities within themselves. In dreams the anima represents a man’s image of a woman. She will often appear young and feminine. Conversely the animus is the opposite of the anima and the masculine unconscious element in women. The woman

A woman having an animus dream could dream of having male genitalia in a dream. This dream could represent the females need to express her masculine side by being more assertive or aggressive. Conversely a male could dream that he shaved all his body hair, representing the need to be more emotional or feminine in his waking state.

The Wise Old Man – The wise old man often represents a helper or guide in your dream. The can be a father, doctor, priest or another authority figure that can offer you guidance and help you choose the right path. By listening to the guidance of the wise old man we can develop the gifts given to us.

Divine Child – The Divine child can appear as a child, animal or even jewel. It is represented by your true self in the purest of all forms. It helps to symbol your innocence, helplessness and vulnerability that you have in the world around you.

The Great Mother – Is the nurturer in your dreams. Anyone or thing in a dream that represents a nurturing role or figure can be the great mother. She can often provide the dreamer with specific nurturing and reassurance that they are making the right choice.

The Trickster – Just as the name might imply, the trickster uses jokes and other funny imagery to prevent the dreamer from taking themselves seriously. The trickster will often make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in certain situations. Just like the name implies, the trickster plays lots of jokes and pranks.

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Sigmund FreudOver the past hundred years there have been many researches who have struggled over the meaning and interpretations of dreams. Some psychologist such as Sigmund Freud, believe that nothing you do ever occurs by chance. Sigmund believed that during your conscious state you often suppress hidden urges and impulses throughout the day. Sigmund believed that the mind was broken up into three distinct parts:

Id – This is the completely unconscious part of the brain that is impulsive and his the source of the basic impulses and drives in human beings. This part of brain operates on the “pleasure principle” and always looks for instant pleasure and enjoyment. This part of your mind is often depicted in movies as your “shoulder devil,” which gives you the more pleasurable option.

Superego – This is the moral part of our minds that will always choose the absolute right thing to do in any situation. It desires to be socially acceptable, appropriate and well behaved. This part of your conscious can be considered your “shoulder angel” giving you the best moral advice.

Ego – The ego works between the Id and Superego to help balance out the impractical self-indulgence of the Id and the moralism of the Super-ego.

When a person is awake, their natural desires are suppressed by the superego, which acts to enforce a moral code which has been passed on to the individual. However, when a person is dreaming, the balance shifts to the Id, which is able to act out its uninhibited desires in the form of a dream.

Freud also believed that sometimes the Id’s desires and wants can be so psychologically disturbing and dramatic that these desires will be projected into symbols that are more acceptable to society. This conversion into acceptable images in your dream is an attempt to help preserve your sleep and prevent nightmare reactions from occurring.

As of result of this translation of deep desires into acceptable symbolic imagery, Freud believed that is caused people to struggle to remember dreams at night. This was due to the fact that the superego was going to work in your conscious state trying to suppress the disturbing symbols and images that people dreamed about.

Sigmund Freud’s Dream Theory

Freud believed that dreams were separated into two distinct parts:

  1. Manifest Content: Upon awaking from a dream, this is what you would remember. If you were to tell a person what you dream about last night, this is the content of the dream that you would describe to them. This is the censored version of the actual meaning of the dream. The surface level meaning of the dream. It is what people use to disguise their forbidden desires with acceptable symbols and meanings.
  2. Latent Content: Completely opposite to the manifest content, the latent content is the true meaning of the dream. Although the latent content might be seen in the manifest content of the dream, it won’t be interpretable because there is no context for the dream to have any meaning from.

Freud believed that the dreamer takes the latent content of a dream and works to censor it by turning the content into manifest content that is more acceptable to society. This process of converting latent content into manifest content was called “dream work.” There was also a belief that the mind had specific methods to help convert content of the dream.

  1. Condensation – The process of condensation in a dream is taking to or more latent thoughts and combining them into one manifest dream or an image that is acceptable. The dreamer will often hide the feelings or urges in a dream by turning them into a brief image or event in a dream. This makes the dream imagery not apparent of the obvious meaning of the dream.
  2. Displacement – During sleep the hidden desires or emotions we have for someone or something can be displaced to hide the true meaning in the manifest dream. If you are the type of person that has a hidden love for a person you might find it represented in a new object like an iPhone.
  3. Symbolism – This is where objects that are similar in sound and look to are concealed in specific objects to hide sexual desire. A good example of symbolism in dreams is anything that looked like or was in the shape of an erection symbolized it. This meant that lamps and trees all represented a form of an erection. Similar to the erection, anything that had a space inside of it represented a vagina. A great example of this is entering a tunnel.
  4. Projection– This takes place when a dreamer projects all of their desires and wants onto another person in the dream. You might dream of someone else who represents everything that you want.
  5. Rationalization – Often considered the final stage of Sigmund Freud’s dream work cycle. This is where the mind organizes an incoherent dream into something that is logical and can be explained. It is sometimes called the “secondary revision” of a dream.

Note: When using Freudian theories to interpret dreams it is important to put everything in context. Freud was a man that was preoccupied with the sexual content in dreams. He believed that sex and sexual feelings were the root causes of most things we dreamed about. It is important to know that Freud grew up in the Victorian era. During this time society as a whole was very repressed sexually, which is why Freud often believed that sexual repression was the root cause of most dreams.