If you’ve ever dreamt of losing your teeth or being underprepared for an exam then you are not alone.
Whilst scientists and medical professionals alike are divided on the deeper meaning of dreams, and how they do or don’t reflect our subconscious, one researcher has no doubt that dreams hold the answers to some of life’s greatest questions.
Scottish psychologist and dream researcher, Ian Wallace, is a firm believer in the power of dreams to enact change and influence your waking life.
On his website, the researcher explains his reasons for delving into the magical world of dreams, as exploring the subconscious with the aim of understanding what life it is we want to lead.
“Rather than trying to control and limit the dreaming brain, he demonstrates how dream imagery is instinctively expressed in our waking language.
Most people ignore their dreams and are unaware of the transformational opportunities they express. Ironically, as a result, they end up sleepwalking through their waking lives, perhaps only realising a fraction of their true potential.”
Defining the concept of a dream, Mr Wallace said: “A dream is a story that you create to express your unconscious self.
“Our dreams collect and connect all the remembered fragments of what we have experienced and what we hope to experience, and weave all those memories and hopes into a meaningful story.”
Working with over 30 years of experience, Mr Wallace has interpreted over 150,000 dreams and is informed more by psycholinguistics than pure science.
So what are the most common dreams and what do they mean?
From his analysis, Wallace has found that being chased was the most common dream experienced by people all over the world.
“In a chase dream, you often find yourself being pursued by someone or something that appears to threaten you in some way,” explained Mr Wallace.
“Normally, you would find it quite easy to escape from your pursuer in day-to-day life but they always manage to stay very close to you in the dream.
“This is because your pursuer is some aspect of your own self and symbolises an opportunity that you are pursuing in waking life,” he added.
Teeth falling out
If you’ve ever woken in a panic and headed straight for the mirror, then you know how it feels to dream about your teeth falling out.
Mr Wallace says that dreams about teeth are indicative of power and confidence.
“Dreaming of losing your teeth indicates that a particular situation is challenging you in your day-to-day reality and has caused you to lose confidence in your usual ability to deal with it,” he added.
Unable to find a bathroom
The third most common dream depicted a desperate search for a bathroom – and being unable to find one.
“You are desperate for the toilet and searching frantically to find one, but the only toilets that you may be able to find are in strange places or in full public view because they have no walls or a door that you can’t lock,” said Mr Wallace.
Mr Wallace suggests, rather unglamorously, that being unable to find a bathroom is a reflection on the mental health of the dreamer. As bathrooms are a place where one goes to release substances, for the dreamer, this situation could be indicative of a real life situation that has become unhealthy for the dreamer and needs to be let go.
“Flying dreams often begin with the sensation of floating or perhaps jumping into the air and staying there,” explained the Mr Wallace.
“When you create a dream of flying, it suggests that you feel as if you are being released from some weighty obligation in waking life. It may have been that the gravity of a particular situation was holding you back or that you had to make a decision that was weighing heavily on your mind. The removal of this burden frees you up to make your own choices and can feel very uplifting.”
Out of control vehicle
“The vehicle represents your ability to make consistent progress towards a specific objective, so in waking life, you may feel that you don’t have enough control over your road to success. Instead of trying to over control the situation, relax your grip and allow your fundamental instincts and drives to steer the best path for you.”
Finding an unused room
“The rooms in a house represent different aspects of your character, so finding an unused room suggests that you’re discovering a talent that you were previously unaware of. The more time that you spend exploring your dormant talents, the more likely that you will find other doors opening for you in waking life.”