We all know that anxiety influences thoughts. However, what many people are not aware of is that it can also get to their subconscious mind. Mostly, what manifests in your dreams includes your day thoughts. Sometimes, the dreams can be vivid. Some people have argued that there is a relationship between dreams and anxiety. People with anxiety also experience dreams that are often scaring. Let us learn more about this interesting subject.
How does anxiety affect your thinking and dreams?
Anxiety has a high potential of affecting your thoughts. They also influence what you worry about and the experiences you will have throughout the day. With that in mind, you understand the importance of learning about your anxiety so that you can find help where necessary. Anxiety sometimes is manifested in dreams. Quite often, actually, especially if you are going through an especially challenging period in your life.
Over the year’s scientists have argued that dreams do not carry any meaning. Nevertheless, this does not mean that every dream you have lacks meaning. In some cases, dreams stem from vivid reasons. However, this does not mean that the dream is trying to communicate something to you. On the contrary, it is an indication of what you have been thinking during the day. Your daily experiences and thoughts often inform your dreams.
There are two perceptions about dreams. First, dreams are believed to happen when the brain is connecting various thoughts. When you are sleeping, the brain is actively creating brain connections and memories. Hence, the dream is used by the brain to make a meaningful story out of your thoughts. This may be the reason why dreams are unusual and random. The content in the dreams can be experienced at any time but the most recent experiences are more likely to feature in your dreams.
In addition, although dreams are not telling you something there is a lot you can learn from dreams. It can help you learn about your thoughts. You can gauge what you have been thinking about lately and the way it has affected your dreams. With that, you understand the connection between anxiety and dreams.
When I was teenager, my favorite hobby was to try to interpret my dreams. I had several books that I faithfully used morning after morning to interpret my dreams.I was actually pretty good at that and knew which symbol meant which thing. Unfortunately interpreting dreams didn’t help me too much in the end, at least when it came to my anxiety and panic attacks.
What causes anxiety dreams?
There are many causes of anxiety dreams. Here are some of the leading causes:
Are you having compounded emotions? This might have an effect on your dreams. The emotions you carry to bed after a rough day can be expected to exhibit in your dreams. The brain connects your emotional fragments to make a story. The storyline can speak volumes about the status of your mind. Your dreams can show your level of anxiety.
Mostly, people with anxiety have many nervous thoughts. Owing to that, their dreams also cover a wide range of issues than a normal person would do. The storylines are long and featuring strange issues. You can remember everything in the story or the better part of the plot. Anxiety dreams are therefore a common symptom in people suffering from different types of anxiety disorders.
Persons with anxiety will have a tendency of concentrating on things, which they would not when they are living healthy. Therefore, it is not that you are having complicated dreams. It might be that your brain is trying to remember them once you are awake. People with anxiety might wake up and pay more attention on what they dreamt at night whereas the average person will just focus on their day.
Although anxiety causes sleep problems, the patient’s sleeping can be disrupted. This means that they will tend to have deeper sleeps at certain times. During this period, the person is likely to experience anxiety dreams. Since, the patient’s mind is tired; they will fall into a deep rest, which contributes to increased activity of the brain. Hence, you encounter more intense dreams.
Neurotransmitters are other causes of anxiety dreams. Anxiety does something to your brain by triggering the neurotransmitters. The brain then reorganizes different insights to come up with a vivid storyline, which you can remember.
Anxious and panic feelings at night
Panic attacks at night can contribute to anxiety dreams. However, it should be noted that panic attacks during the night might not necessarily arise from anxiety disorder. Sometimes, sleep apnea, which leads to ventilation issues, aggravates a panic attack.
Are anxiety dreams preventable?
Amid people’s beliefs, dreams are challenging to control. Actually, the only way to manage your dreams is to take care of your emotions and thoughts. You can do this by minimizing anxiety by holistic means. Let’s try to help you do away with some of the anxiety nightmares, with a few tips.
Jot down your thoughts before going to bed
It sounds outrageous but it does work for most people. In some cases, if you have been having a negative thought all day, your brain might transform it into a story at night. If you did not know, your mind is designed in a way that it forgets what you write down. Hence, if you are having a couple of thoughts, just create a journal and write them before you sleep. This way, you will not have them when you are sleeping.
Let your day be filled with happy moments
What you do during the day and all the experiences, can influence your dreaming. When you are anxious, happiness can be unreachable. However, try as much time, to be happy during the better part of the day. For instance, if horror movies or clips trigger your anxiety, make sure you do not watch them. Substitute the fiery movies or programs, with cartoons and comedies. Surround yourself with happy and supporting people. Don’t be afraid of leaving if you face ignorance, abusing or violence. Listen uplifting music rather than gloomy tunes, though melancholic music certainly has its moments to help you handle what you are going through and purge your mind from mental waste. However, filling your days with happy moments can help to construct positive thoughts during the day and eventually, positive dreams at night.
Create background music to lure you to sleep
Some people get anxious owing to the serenity of the night. You can leave some soft music playing on your stereo, while you try sleeping. Before, you know it you will be in dreamland. My son loves calm mediation music that we find from YouTube by simply searching “sleep music“. Usually the search results are some 8 hours long videos, but luckily it just takes a few minutes from my son to fall asleep. He loves to choose music with cat images as he loves cats, though he naturally cannot see anything while he is just listening and trying to fall asleep.
Use essential oils and massage
If you don’t have anybody else around, you can give yourself a nice, calming foot massage with massage oil that contains lavender, or other anxiety-busting essential oil. Naturally, if you get a loved one to give a massage for you, even better. Then you can just relax completely and soon fall asleep. My son calms down easily and falls asleep when I give a foot massage for him using lavender baby oil. Unfortunately that brand is not sold anymore, but this wonderful oil is equally good, even better. Consider also other natural anxiety reliefs that you can use in the evening to calm you down.
Exercise can help your body to release neurotransmitters, which can reduce anxiety feelings. It can also change the way your mind develops stories about your thoughts and experiences, later on at night. Just avoid vigorous exercise before going to bed, since that is very likely to disturb your sleep and prevent you from falling asleep easily.
Now that you know all about anxiety dreams, you are in a better position to manage them or avoid them altogether. Learn what triggers your dreams and start from there.