Are our dreams -- those wild, fantastic and definitely uncensored jumbles of images that bombard us in our sleep -- just a retweet of our day's events, or are they more?
And can you open your mind to the possibility that your dreams might actually come bearing gifts -- valuable gifts that could help you gain guidance, solve problems and figure out your magic formula for meeting the man of your dreams or getting the raise you've been seeking?
I believe the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes. In my experience I've found dreams to be therapeutic, cathartic, predictive, cleansing, healing, inspiring, rebuilding and processing.
In order to make sense of these multi-faceted, multi-purposed, multi-layered and multi-platinum gifts that you awaken with each morning, it is helpful to know how to categorize them.
In fact, there are telltale signs within each dream to help you discern whether it's helping you process information, release negativity, embrace your shadow side, break through limitations, predict the future, receive inspiration from your higher self, or create a life, well, of your dreams.
Below, the eight most common types of dreams, what they mean, and how knowing can work to your advantage.
1. Processing Dreams
These dreams can feel quite annoying in that they are a rehashing of the events of your day -- in other words, "sleep-working
." (And who needs that?) Processing dreams are a way for our subconscious to digest the bazillion message units we are exposed to all day. In these dreams you are tying up loose ends from the office or rehearsing ways to resolve a conversation that went awry.
As tedious as these dreams may feel they can give you a tremendous advantage (like eyes in the back of your head), like a rehearsal before a play. You can also think of your processing dreams as your own personal after-hours assistant whose job is to render spotless the messy office of your mind. Every night while you're asleep she (or he, whatever turns you on) gets out the Dustbuster and cleans up the clutter, files important documents, discards irrelevant scraps, and helps find solutions and ideas for questions that were posed throughout the day. Is it any wonder that when you are unsure about a decision you say, "Let me sleep on it."2. Venting Dreams
These are your nightmares where you're being chased, falling, failing a test or arriving naked to a job interview. Venting dreams can be, let's face it, terrifying. But before you delete these unwanted dreams from your psychological inbox, consider that they can either help you get ready for an important opportunity (like cautioning you to prepare for your job interview instead of winging it) or help you release beliefs that are blocking the full breadth of your creativity and passion (think about how great you feel after a good cry). Think "out with the old, in with the new" or "you can't heal what you can't feel."
3. Integration Dreams
You dream that you or someone else is acting out in an extreme way that you either greatly admire or seriously judge (i.e., pole dancing in the lobby at work.) What this dream is trying to teach you is that this character or behavior is a vital aspect of you (as disturbing as that may sound), and in embracing it you become more whole. In other words, the behavior you're busy judging may be a part of yourself you're afraid to embrace -- or secretly dislike.
4. Breakdown/Breakthrough Dreams
Dreams of disaster, death, fires, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, oh my! These dreams are indicative of great change on the horizon. If you are a creature of habit who clings to routine then these dreams might be helping you to loosen up and break out of business as usual, so you can be prepared for what's next. The trick is to embrace change, since it is an inevitable part of the adventure of life.
5. Recurring Dreams
Your recurring dreams are like a Secret Agent on a mission for the S.I.A. (Subconscious Intelligence Agency). Their mission: to deliver a message to your conscious mind that will enhance your well-being and happiness, should you choose to accept it. Until the mission is accomplished, the agent (repetitive dream) will try again and again until the message is received and decoded successfully. Pay attention to the clues!
6. Precognitive Dreams
These are dreams where you look into the dreamtime crystal ball and actually see the future. You can never quite be sure that yours is a precognitive dream until an aspect of it plays out in "real" life. But here's a clue that your dream may be prophetic: You dream of people, places and situations that are future extensions of what is currently taking place in your life. (For example, you dream of engagement-ring shopping and you wake up and he actually pops the question.)
7. Prophetic Dreams
Prophetic dreams are like your own personal Burning Bush that can, if you heed their messages, reveal more than any psychic ever could. How they work: you dream of a wise, loving being (i.e. Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mother Teresa, Ammachi, Gandhi, your departed pet, a favorite grandparent, etc.) and you feel that you've been given a gift or taught a life lesson. Make this dream a real part of your conscious reality by writing down its message and recalling the feeling this dream gave you, often.
8. Wish-Fulfillment Dreams
A wish-fulfillment dream, like a genie in a bottle, aligns you with the resonance of your heart's and soul's desires. Just as people who are wealthy attract more wealth to them and happy people attract more of what makes them happy, when you move in the direction of your dreams by acting as if they've already come true, you add velocity to the process of manifestation. Wish-fulfillment dreams might include dreams about an upcoming vacation, an ideal scene at work, or the resolution of a conflict that you've had with a sibling. Because your subconscious mind cannot discern between actual events and that which is vividly imagined, your wish-fulfillment dreams actually create an energetic map that can lead you from where you are to where you would like to be.
Got a dream you want Kelly to interpret? Fan us in the Facebook box above, then post your dream here.
Dream Doctor Kelly Sullivan Walden is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of the bestselling book "I Had the Strangest Dream ... The Dreamer's Dictionary for the 21st Century" as well as "Discover Your Inner Goddess Queen ... An Inspirational Journey From Drama Queen to Goddess Queen." Kelly is featured regularly on Fox News as well as in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Bride, Seventeen and US Weekly. She is the creator/founder of The Dream Project, a nonprofit organization bridging the gap between the United Nations and inner-city schoolkids.