Your physical body speaks to you quite regularly. It tells you when you are tired orhungry and when you have overdone it and need to take a break. It also gives any number of specific warning signs that medical researchers have identified as precursors to things like stroke, heart attack, and cancer. You brain also speaks to you. It provides warnings through intuition and a sense that something is wrong. Many researchers also believe that your subconscious brain speaks to you through dreams.
Psychoanalysts have long considered dreams to be a window into the unconscious mind. Many psychiatrists use dreams as part of therapy, as the things we dream about can reveal our deepest worries, our fears, and things that we truly want from life. While we sleep, our brain is organizing our memories and experiences, so emotions felt in dreams often parallel those in real life. There are some common features in dreams, such as dreaming of being in an enclosed place means you feel somehow trapped or restricted in life. For the most part, however, the meaning of a dream is very unique and must be assessed and interpreted individually.
When some part of your body is unwell, dreams may give you advance warning. Some research has linked violent dreams with the development of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. One Russian study found that people experiencing heart attack symptoms dreamed of things like being stabbed or bitten in the chest. There are many anecdotal reports of dreams revealing specific illnesses ranging from cystitis to diabetes, to cancer. For example, a cardiologist dreamt of a four-engine plane crash a few weeks before discovering a coronary artery blockage.
Do these things happen because the brain knows about an illness and is expressing that knowledge through the dream? Or is the dream reflecting one’s own concerns about lifestyle and disease risk? Often we push health risks into our subconscious and ignore them, particularly if they are related to needed lifestyle changes. You may be a sedentary smoker experiencing a lot of stress – all risk factors for developing heart disease. Your unconscious awareness and worry over that possibility may be coming out in your dreams. Sometimes you can subconsciously pinpoint the cause of an existing health concern through dreaming.
Regardless of the mechanism of dreams, our brain is trying to tell us something through them. When we have a dream that suggests a possible health concern, give it consideration. What are you doing in life that may be interfering with good health? If we pay attention to our dream warning, we can take early steps to change problem behaviors before they become major health issues. Good health is a state of mind. By listening closely when your brain speaks to you through your dreams, you will be able to focus on what is important in life and stay on the path to wellness.
What Dreams Reveal: www.today.msnbc.msn.com
Dreams and Psychiatry: www.webmd.com
Dreams and Health: www.webmd.com
Dreams Predicting Illness: www.myheartsisters.org
Heart Attack & Soul, Stephen B. Parker: www.synchronicitybooks.org