Have you ever had the same dream several times in a short period of time, or maybe the same dream year after year for your entire life? Believe it or not, you’re not the only one who experiences these recurring dreams. In fact, recurring dreams occur in between 60% to 75% of adults, and they’re more common for women than for men.
While some believe that dreams are simply the result of entirely random electrical impulses in the brain pulling together nonsensical images in memories from your past, others believe that dreams have deep symbolic meanings that may be pathways to greater levels of self-understanding. No one can say for sure why some people have the same dream over and over again, but it may be our minds trying to tell us something important. If lots of people experience the same dreams several times throughout their lives, then dreams can’t be entirely random, right?
I have personally had a recurring dream in my life that wasn’t particularly interesting. I used to have it around the same time every year from the age of eight to around the age of 14. Unlike many other people’s recurring dreams, mine was overall very pleasant. To this day, I really have no idea why this particular part of my subconscious mind kept resurfacing as a dream, and I couldn’t begin to tell you what it means.
Psychologists have been studying dreams as a keyhole to the subconscious for generations and have come up with some interesting theories about what might cause recurring dreams. Let’s look at what some of those theories are, and hopefully, they’ll help explain some things for anyone who’s ever had a recurring dream.
What Do Recurring Dreams Mean?
Many psychologists believe that recurring dreams reveal a source of unresolved conflict or stress in the waking life of the dreamer. Many recurring dreams have similar themes that many different people experience, such as being chased, falling, showing up late, being unable to move, or losing control of a car. In all of these examples, it’s easy to imagine how some source of anxiety in your waking life might manifest itself as a recurring dream.
However, while these themes seem to be present in a lot of people’s recurring dreams, it’s important to remember that no two dreams are exactly alike. Each one contains differences and details that are specific to each person’s life. At the end of the day, our dreams are still the products of our own individual minds and will inevitably bear the hallmarks of our unique situations and mentalities.
Researchers have also found that the vast majority of recurring dreams are largely accompanied by negative emotions of fear, sadness, listlessness, anxiety, or dread. However, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely a bad thing. Research has shown that recurring dreams about failing an exam might actually lead to students getting better scores on their actual exams. Just as it’s good for students to care about their academics, a recurring dream about a loved one might be caused by a very healthy and compassionate concern even if the dream is filled with anxiousness or fear.
In this way, it’s important to try and understand the source of your recurring dream. In many cases, understanding recurring dreams might be helpful in resolving an area of stress in your life and improving your overall disposition and mental health. We all have fears, sorrows, and anxieties, and doing some serious reflection on the meaning of a recurring dream might just lead to a greater understanding of where those fears, sorrows, and anxieties come from. Therefore, recurring dreams can be an effective tool in the healing process if used properly.
Occasionally, people will experience a recurring dream for a while, then will stop having the dream at a certain point. When this happens, it’s most likely because the underlying cause of the recurring dream has been resolved either permanently or temporarily. If permanently, then the person will never have that dream again. If only temporarily, the person may start having the dream again when that underlying cause reappears in their life.
For example, some people who have difficulty expressing themselves or difficulty with shyness may have recurring dreams about their lips being sealed shut or their teeth falling out. If that person is able to overcome their shyness permanently, then those dreams are likely to stop. However, if they overcome their shyness and then recede back into it later in life, they’ll likely start to have those same dreams again.
Recurring Dreams Examples
After researching the meanings behind recurring dreams, I still don’t understand exactly what my recurring dream meant, although that might be because I can’t accurately remember my state of mind and life situation back when I was just 12 years old.
With that being said, I’ve included a brief account of my recurring dream below (which appears first), as well as some accounts sent to me by several brave souls who volunteered to have their recurring dreams included in this article. Feel free to put on your psychologist hat and do some amateur psychoanalysis of what the following recurring dreams might mean.
“My dream usually began with me at a parade in my hometown. It was daytime and I was standing with members of my immediate family. Then, this one float would pass by, and at the top of the float was a tipi. The tipi was a toy that I actually had in the basement of my house that my sisters and I would play with. I would climb to the top of the float and enter the tipi. Inside the tipi would be Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz. She would be floating in the air and at her feet would be a campfire. I don’t remember exactly what she would say, but it was typically her offering me some sort of advice. I always had a good feeling after waking up from the dream.”
“I had this one recurring dream pretty much once a week for about 6 months. In the dream, I would walk into a white room and it would be full of people. I would have a feeling that I knew their faces but I couldn’t recall exactly who they were. I wasn’t able to speak to them and they wouldn’t say anything to me. I would try to get words out and I would start feeling my adrenaline increasing, and all I could do was let out a cry. The people would then smile and hug me and walk away.”
“I have this one recurring dream that happens every few months. It starts with me walking up a flight of rainbow and white stairs, and I’m usually walking with a few of my family members. At the top of the stairs is my parents bedroom, and I walk in and fall asleep. Sometimes I’ll fall asleep by myself or other times one of my family members will fall asleep with me. In the next part of the dream, I find myself in a green and purple void and the face of a troll will be floating in front of me. The troll always says something to me, but I can never remember what it says by the time I wake up.”
If you’re interested in hearing more about recurring dreams, go out and ask your friends and family members if they’ve ever had one. As I said at the beginning of this article, most people have had a recurring dream at some point in their life, and most of the people that I asked while researching this article had some pretty interesting ones to share!