What Do Your Dreams Actually Mean? Experts Sound Off On Their Significance

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It's easy to brush off — or not even remember — the dream you've had once you wake up in the morning and have to move on with your day. But according to some experts, it might be worth jotting down as they may hold deeper meaning than you think. So exactly what do your dreams actually mean? The Zoe Report asked a couple of experts to break down some of the most commonly occurring dreams — and the results might just surprise you.

Sometimes your dreams may seem like a very literal extension of something you're going through, like being overwhelmed by projects at work or having an argument with a friend or loved one. But other times you might may not be able to make any sense of them at all. For example, have you ever dreamed of losing your teeth? Or being naked in public? You're not the only one: These are among the most common themes and (according to studies) some dreams are possibly symbolic of feelings or experiences you might not otherwise connect, like a lack of communication in your relationship or a deep rooted insecurity you have.

But while dream experts can decode some of these more familiar concepts, it's important to note that they're still going to vary somewhat from person to person. "In Jungian psychology, every person in the dream is some aspect of the dreamer; as such, the dreams are highly symbolic of the dreamer’s current internal state," says psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly. "Thus, what a dream may mean for one person is not necessarily what it would mean for another person. Although general themes can surely arise, it’s important for the dream to be looked at through an individual lens."

With that in mind, getting the inside scoop on some dreams you've likely had — and will probably have again — could provide you with some general insight, and shine the light on issues that could stand a little more attention. To do just that, read ahead for what seven of the most common dreams could be saying about you.

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What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Being Chased

"Running away from something or someone in a dream is so common because so many of us tend to run away from confrontations, obligations, difficult issues, or a past that needs to be processed in a healthy manner," explains dream expert Lauri Loewenberg of The Dream Zone to The Zoe Report. "Avoidance is a behavior pattern a lot of us share, and it's not necessarily a productive behavior. This dream comes along when the subconscious mind knows better. It is the way we are telling ourselves — through the dream — that this situation at hand is going to catch up with us if we don't face it and handle it already."

What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Falling

"Whether you are plummeting off a skyscraper or tumbling into a ditch, the falling dream indicates that something in your life or within your psyche is going in the wrong direction," says Loewenberg. "Most often this dream is caused by let downs in real life: When plans fall through, when something we had high hopes for doesn't work out, when we get bad news, etc., we tend to get the falling dream as it is an expression of how the bad news brings our spirits down. It is also a common dream for people who suffer from depression and can be a warning your body is sending you that you are about to fall into another bout — so prepare yourself."

What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Flying

As Loewenberg explains, flying in your dream is basically the opposite of falling. "When things are going really well in real life we can get the flying dream," she says. When we are reaching a 'high' goal we set for ourselves, when we are super excited about something, when we break free from something that had been holding us back or weighing us down, etc." That said, if the dream involves a struggle to stay in the air, it may say something about your sense of control, power, and accomplishment in real life, says Loewenberg.

What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Teeth Falling Out

According to Loewenberg, a dream about losing your teeth could show insecurity either emotionally or physically. "When your teeth fall out in a dream, it is usually because you have said something without thinking about it first," she says. "Most often [this is caused by] concern about how others may view you after something you have said but also can be caused by feeling inferior or unattractive."

What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Driving

Dreaming about driving? Dr. Manly first suggests examining whether you were the driver or the passenger in this scenario. "Being the driver in the dream tends to infer greater personal control about the direction of life," she explains. "When driving into unknown places, dreams often indicate that new experiences are awaiting. Driving over a cliff can indicate the ending of one part of life — and the readiness for something new."

What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Being In Your Childhood Home

If you've had a dream where you're transported back to your childhood home, it could mean you've been subconsciously trying to reconnect with that period of time. "Dreams about returning home are often related to the dreamer’s desire to reclaim or understand younger or 'lost parts' of the self," says Dr. Manly.

What Your Dreams Actually Mean: Being Naked

In this case, your physical exposure could represent an emotional one, as Dr. Manly explains. "Such dreams relate to being too vulnerable or exposed in some area of life," she says.

Studies cited:

Perogamvros, L., et al. “Sleep and Dreaming Are for Important Matters.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 4, 2013, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00474.