Processing traumatic events - Deepstash

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Why We Dream What We Dream

Processing traumatic events

Another function of dreaming appears to be processing and coming to terms with traumatic events. Grief, fear, loss, abandonment, even physical pain are all emotions and experiences that often replay themselves in dreams. 

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Talking about dreams

People are compelled to talk about dreams. It is a natural impulse because dreams are emotional, affect moods, feel profound. 

What is unusual is that we live in a culture where we’re expected to forget our dreams. We have this cliche that it is boring to talk about dreams.

How to remember your dreams
Believe your dreams have value and tell yourself before bed you want to remember them. 

Keep a dream journal. Get into a habit, set things up the night before to reinforce your goal. 

Lucid dreaming

In lucid dreams, you become aware you’re dreaming. You can take control of the plot. They can be anything from a brief moment where you’re in a nightmare and tell yourself: “this is a dream” and wake up. 

Everybody Dreams

Adults and babies alike dream for around two hours per night—even those of us who claim not to. 

Researchers have found that people usually have several dreams each night, each one typically lasting for between five to 20 minutes.

You Forget Most of Your Dreams

According to one theory about why dreams so difficult to remember, the changes in the brain that occur during sleep do not support the information processing and storage needed for memory formation to take place.

Not All Dreams Are in Color

While most people report dreaming in color, there is a small percentage of people who claim to only dream in black and white. 

In studies where dreamers have been awakened and asked to select colors from a chart that match those in their dreams, soft pastel colors are those most frequently chosen.

Dreams as therapists

Your dreams may be ways of confronting emotional dramas in your life. 

Because your brain is operating at a much more emotional level than when you’re awake, your brain may make connections regarding your feelings that your conscious self wouldn’t make.

Fight-or-flight training

One of the areas of the brain that’s most active during dreaming is the amygdala - the part of the brain associated with the survival instinct and the fight-or-flight response.

One theory suggests dreams may be the brain’s way of getting you ready to deal with a threat. Fortunately, the brainstem sends out nerve signals during REM sleep that relax your muscles. That way you don’t try to run or punch in your sleep.

Dreams as your muse

One theory for why we dream is that it helps facilitate our creative tendencies. 

Without the logic filter, you might normally use in your waking life that can restrict your creative flow, your thoughts and ideas have no restrictions when you’re sleeping.