What is the meaning behind these 9 common dreams

Dreams can be like an inner therapist sending you signs on your life path. But they are not to be taken literally

Woman floating in air, dreams

Your teeth are falling out. One by one you catch them in your hand. There is nothing you can do to stop it from happening. People are staring at you. You rush into the restroom, look in the mirror and see your toothless reflection smile back at you. You start to panic and just as you are about to scream you wake up. Relief! It was but a dream.

Yes, it was just a dream. But knowing this doesn’t stop you from tapping your teeth to make sure they are all there, and throughout the day whenever you glance in the mirror you can’t help but feel reassured to see your teeth intact. The dream felt so real. What did it mean? Should you visit your dentist? No, your teeth are in great shape because you visited your dentist a month ago after having the same dream. So, why are you having this dream yet again?

Teeth falling out is one of the most common dreams people have, so there has to be some kind of meaning to it. The great majority of dreams are as unique as the person who dreams them but certain dreams come up time and time again. Here are nine of the most common dreams we have and the psychological reasoning behind them.

1. Naked

In this extremely common dream, you are with a group of people and suddenly you realise you are the only person who is not wearing anything. You are completely naked. This dream suggests that you are feeling exposed and vulnerable in your waking life; you need to protect yourself. A flip side interpretation is that your subconscious is urging you towards greater self-expression or the freedom to be more honest in your relationships.

2. Losing teeth

Teeth are a symbol of dominance and power in the animal kingdom, so this dream could suggest low self-esteem or confidence. You have lost your mojo and your dreaming mind wants you to enjoy being you again. Alternatively, as loss of baby teeth is a sign of growing up, this dream could also suggest fear of ageing or the need to let go of the past in some way to move forward.

3. Taking an examination

Chances are you have had a dream where you are about to take a test or examination or are actually taking it. The simplest explanation is that you are stressed out with your work or studies, but it could also indicate that you need to keep on top of things and stay alert. You could be missing things out and not paying enough attention to important details.

4. Flying

This exhilarating dream occurs when you are quite literally feeling high—with joy. Your dreaming mind wants you to savour the moment while it lasts. If, however, your waking life is anything but joyful then flying dreams are urging you to detach from your problems, spread metaphorical wings and let go of self-imposed limitations so you can see the bigger picture.

5. Falling

Dreaming of falling from a great height suggests you are frightened of failing or are feeling insecure and unsupported in some way. Your dreaming mind is urging you to deal with the issues that are overwhelming you. Closely associated with falling is the dream of drowning. Drowning also suggests a sense of crisis or feeling overwhelmed; an indication that you are metaphorically drowned by the circumstances in your waking life.

6. Running away or being chased

Either you are feeling threatened in some way in your waking life, or your dreaming mind is trying to get you to face an issue or problem that has been holding you back. Dreams of being lost have a fairly similar meaning in that they also suggest you are feeling confused and aren’t sure which way to turn in your waking life. Your subconscious wants you to find a direction, a solution.

7. Death

More a nightmare, many people worry that dreams of themselves or their loved ones dying may come true in real life. Rest assured this is not the case as dreams are symbolic and do not predict the future. If someone you know in a dream dies, or is dead, this means that the part of yourself or the situation that person represents is dead, or needs to die. If you are the dying person, your dreaming mind is urging you to make changes, let go of old ways or one stage in your life and take a new path. So this is very much an “out with the old, in with the new” dream interpretation.

8. Arriving late and car out of control!

Your dreaming mind is telling you that you are unprepared or have taken on way too much. Another closely related dream is when you dream about transport difficulties or are in a vehicle that suddenly loses control. You may be the driver or the passenger but either way it is a sign that you are feeling powerless and a crash is likely if urgent changes in your waking life aren’t made soon or a bad habit isn’t corrected or brought under control. Dreams about phones or electrical appliances being faulty have a similar meaning. You need to reassess your life, take on less and focus on what really matters.

9. Sex

Typically we have sex in our dreams with people who are not our partners, or dream of our partners having sex with other people but this does not mean you are going to have an affair or that your partner is cheating. If you are having sex in your dreams—especially with someone you aren’t attracted to in real life—your subconscious is urging you to develop aspects of yourself that are hidden. What aspect of yourself does the person you have sex with in your dream represent? For example, if you dream of a celebrity, perhaps this suggests the desire for more recognition or confidence. And if you dream of your partner cheating, don’t judge or jump to conclusions. It could simply mean that your partner is devoting too much attention to something other than you: work, study, sports, a hobby, a pet and so on. It could also indicate that you are drifting apart and need to reconnect.

You may also like: Look! I’m lucid dreaming

Amazing you

Your dreams do not predict the future or read your mind but what they can do is shine a symbolic spotlight on an area of your personality or your life that you need to resolve, develop or pay more attention to. If you listen to what your inner therapist is trying to say, you will find that every dream you have has a great deal to say about you and your life—because in your dreams absolutely everything is about YOU.


This article first appeared in the February 2016 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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