ProConnect

When Fear Directs My Dreams.

By

When Fear Directs My Dreams.
Basic emotions find expression in our dreams. The same emotions guide our perceptions and actions.

I had a familiar dream recently.  It was near the end of the semester in my dream and I had not attended many of my calculus classes.  I knew I would fail and I was desperately searching for a way out of this mess.  As I woke from my dream, I realized that I had nothing to fear from calculus.  I had graduated in spite of it and would never have to pass calculus again.  But it got me to thinking, "What triggered that dream?"  My friend confessed to having similar dreams, along with the ever popular "locked outside naked" dream and the ubiquitous "running from something horrible" dream. 

I came to the conclusion that a basic emotion was at the root of it, that fear or anxiety perhaps triggered by any number of possible sources, real or imagined, was being expressed in that dream.  It was my sleeping brain's way of making sense out of the basic emotion of fear that was firing while I slept. 

More from YourTango: Habits of Loneliness

Survival emotions, such as fear, anger, or shame, prepare our bodies for dangerous situations, prepare us to run or fight or surrender, depending on what seems best.  They also stimulate the creative problem solving cognitive centers of the brain to figure out what we know about the source of the danger and what we can do to defend against it.  When we are asleep, and something triggers fear - an erratic heartbeat perhaps or a little difficulty breathing - or maybe leftovers from a stressful day - fear directs our brain to search for the source of the danger based on what scary things we have experienced in our life and stored in our memories.  Then it is as if Stephen King is writing the script and Alfred Hitchcock is directing the movie of your own personal fear dream, using the material that works best with the emotion that you are experiencing.

More from YourTango: Bullying In The Workplace: Tips & Coping Advice

The brain evolved to protect us in situations much more dangerous than the one most of us live in today.  If you were afraid, there could be a good reason, so you would be highly motivated for getting ready to run and vividly remembering all you knew about dangerous stuff.  As you remembered it, you might visualize it, and the movie of the lion in the tall grass would be played out in the theater of your mind. 

It occurred to me that all of our thinking is a response to two kinds of data, one source of data is the outside world that we can observe and monitor, but the other source is the emotion we are experiencing.  The emotions determine how we interpret the data from the outside world.  If I am walking down the street wide awake, but feeling vaguely anxious, I will probably scan the oncoming pedestrians for suspicious characters, or I might imagine that garbage truck jumping the curb and squashing me  like a bug.  If I am hungry, I am more likely to notice the proximity of restaurants or candy at the checkout.   

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Brock Hansen

YourTango Expert Partner

Brock Hansen, LICSW

www.change-for-good.org

BrockHansenLCSW@aol.com

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MSW
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Depression, Eating & Food Issues
Other Articles/News by Brock Hansen:

Habits of Loneliness

By

Loneliness is usually considered to be the emotional effect of a life situation, the situation of being isolated, rejected, or abandoned. But most of us have experienced feeling lonely in a crowd, or being entirely content when we're all by ourselves. So the emotion we experience as loneliness in adulthood is actually independent of whether we're ... Read more

Bullying In The Workplace: Tips & Coping Advice

By

Over a third of workers have experienced bullying or harassment at their jobs, according to studies by Gary and Ruth Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute. If you include another 12 percent of workers who have witnessed bullying, almost half of workers are affected by emotional abuse at work. In their book, The Bully at Work, the Namies describe a ... Read more

Coping with Bullying in the Workplace [EXPERT]

By

Over a third of workers have experienced bullying or harassment at their jobs, according to studies by Gary and Ruth Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute. If you include another 12 percent of workers who have witnessed bullying, almost half of workers are affected by emotional abuse at work. In their book, The Bully at Work, the Namies describe a hard ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts
Fighting

Put Your Relationship on a Diet Free of Blame and Criticism

Replace the blame and criticism in your relationship with heartfelt gratitude and appreciations.

Smooches

Why You'll Never Meet The Right Partner

Give up the search - and figure out how to actually create love instead.

Trouble In Paradise

The Honeymoon Is Over

Making marriage work post honeymoon phase

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Resources
How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>
HOT STUFF!
FROM OUR PARTNERS