Your anxiety dreams are trying to tell you something, and you should start listening: These dreams are warning you that you are overly stressed or that your anxiety has reached a high-point. Your anxiety dreams are telling you that you need to relax and de-stress. But what exactly are anxiety dreams?
Anxiety dreams are brought on by high-levels of stress, anxiety, or even depression. It is your subconscious mind releasing these feelings and emotions through dreams. They're similar to nightmares, but are different in the sense that they can actually increase stress levels, and create feelings of unease and panic that linger long after you wake up. Nightmares and anxiety dreams both occur during REM sleep, which is when our most vivid dreams occur, leaving a lasting impact into the next day. Anxiety dreams are more likely to be re-occurring, or they will happen again as a variation of a dream you already had. They're typically more structured than average nightmares, usually with some type of plot that's either extremely disturbing, intense, or very surreal.
You may wake up with your heart racing, in a sweat, feeling intense emotions, and feeling almost as if you never slept at all. That's the problem with anxiety dreams - you wake up feeling foggy and exhausted the next morning. This is because while your brain was trying hard to work through your anxiety and make various connections to your thoughts, your mind was unable to get the good night's rest that it needed.
Here are the most common types of anxiety dreams:
1. Running away from someone or something, being chased. This could signify that you're running away from a huge problem, or your avoiding a very important issue in your life. Your dreams are telling you that it may be time to face this issue head on.
2. Being unable to run, feeling stuck or trapped. You may feel like you have no way out of a certain situation. Like no matter what decision you make, you'll still face the same dilemma you're in. You feel like a problem you have isn't going away. You feel helpless.
3. The end of the world, experiencing an apocalypse. You might be experiencing a deep inner conflict, or something major is going on in your life. Whatever the internal struggle may be, you've been unable to face it.
4. Having your teeth fall out, or losing teeth. This dream is very common, and usually signifies a loss of control over a situation. You feel like you're not strong enough to handle what's going on in your life, almost like you're powerless. You also may have something coming up in which you are afraid you might look bad or embarrass yourself.
5. Being late for something important. You're completely overwhelmed with something, or you feel totally unprepared. You are most likely going through big changes in your life that you're currently trying to adjust to, but are having a difficult time doing so.
6. Falling uncontrollably. You've been feeling a sense of failure, or like things in your life are going downhill. A current situation in your life may seem to be getting worse. You feel like you don't have much control over things and that you are stuck in a downward spiral trying to climb back up.
7. Being naked in public. This type of dream is typically linked to feelings of embarrassment or shame. Perhaps you're nervous about an upcoming event in which you think you might make a fool out of yourself. You're lacking self-confidence and are doubting yourself.
8. Being swept up by a large wave, or a wave crashes over you. You almost feel like you're drowning. You are way too overwhelmed and overworked. You have way too much on your plate right now, and you're struggling to keep up with everything and to stay on top of things.
9. Incomplete tasks or feeling unprepared. You may not feel prepared for an upcoming event that may be causing you a great deal of stress. You don't feel ready, and you're scared or unsure of what comes next.
10. Out-of-control car. If you're driving, it means you may be trying to gain control over a situation in which you may feel helpless, or as if you're not ready to take on certain responsibilities. If you're a passenger, you may feel like you're giving the control to someone else and you are uneasy about this. You aren't ready to let go of the control.
11. Losing something valuable. You may be losing sight of what's important in your life, or you've been feeling distracted and overwhelmed with the stress of everyday life. You may be worried you haven't been paying much attention to the meaningful aspects of your life, and this could be a reminder to start doing so. This also could be a sense of losing your true self. You may need to reevaluate certain life situations and remind yourself of what's truly important.
If you're having anxious dreams, try to use them to empower you to make a change and to try and find better ways to ease your anxiety. Learn new ways to de-stress. And if you have anxious dreams often, use them as a guide. You might even want to thank your brain for trying to work through all of those anxious thoughts and feelings that you may be unable (or unwilling) to face throughout the day.