What Do Dreams Mean?

What Do Dreams Mean and What is Their Significance?

What do dreams actually mean and how seriously should you actually take them? This article tries to answer this central question.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
I simply love what my mind spins in dreams. The storylines range from hilarious, absurd, to outright terrifying. They have been interpreted as mind's escapism, messages from the sub-conscious, and even random brain noise. Every day, as we wake up, we remember bits and pieces of our dreams before we snap back into full reality.

Unless we jot them down and tell somebody about it immediately, they slip out of memory. Sometimes, they are so vivid and nightmarish, that we do remember them. At such times, we often wonder what dreams mean. This article explores the mystery.

What Do Dreams Really Mean?

Dreams are a succession of images, sounds, thoughts, and emotions, that are vividly imagined and experienced by the mind in sleep. They are responses, generated by the brain, without any kind of external stimuli. They are wholly created by the brain from the accumulated pattern of memories and emotions.

Research has shown that dreams happen in short bursts that last for 15-20 minutes, during what is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, when the brain is more active. We spend about two hours dreaming, on an average. If you calculate, over a year, we spend about 30 days of our time in dreaming. The brain shuts down the neurotransmitters which can cause body movement during sleep. This safety precaution prevents physical damage, that may occur from dream-activated body movements.

The meaning of the dream is relative to the person. There are many theories about their interpretation. I will discuss my own idea about this whole thing, based on my own experiences. I think they are created out of three important sources: repressed desires, fears, and plain old nonsense, arising out of garbled information in the brain.

It is simply the mind projecting information, garnered from your experiences, onto the mind's eye. Sometimes, the storylines created, may be plain old rubbish, but sometimes your brain is actually trying to drive you towards a solution.

This has happened to me in the past. Sometimes, you just see what you want to see. The things that you should be dealing with but are afraid of doing anything about or avoiding, usually crop up in dreams. Some fears that are buried deep down, find an outlet in them.

I do not believe in identifying a list of dream images and their meanings, as it cannot be an absolute thing. People make a business out of interpreting them. I don't believe in identifying specific kind of dream imagery, with a specific message, for everybody. Different images will mean different things to people, as every person's experiences, fears, and desires are different.

Interpreting Recurring Dreams

Usually, at least in my case, the recurring dreams that occur, are related to some deep-rooted problems, that keep gnawing my mind, during sleep. They are certain unfinished desires and fears, manifesting themselves. Usually, one understands why one gets specific recurring dreams, if one goes deeper into what the specific imageries mean. They mostly indicate that you need to do something about an emotional issue, that you have been ignoring.


A nightmare crops out of certain insecurities and fears that a person might have. It is generally an embodiment of your deepest fears; the ones that you have acquired, throughout your life. They may be prompted by some scary incident that you have gone through, which still troubles you. The only way to get over it is to face your fears and make peace with that past incident. Unresolved issues crop up in dreams and unless they are resolved, you cannot be free from them.

What about death dreams? Well, that too again depends on the person. It may be that it signifies that you haven't yet gotten over the death of a loved one or death is looming on your mind currently. It may also mean nothing really.

It all depends on how deeply you look into it and what are the specific things you see. Do not take death dreams as indicators of the future. Future is in your control and you can change it. Personally, I do not believe in premonition and would advise you not to believe in death dreams as premonition or anything like that. It is just fear taking form, in your thoughts.

Dreams About Snakes

Well, when you see snakes in your dreams, it either means that you are very afraid of them or they symbolize fear in your mind. I do not believe in making a connection between snakes and sexual desires. There even might be a connection, but it won't be the same for every person, as every one of us has different experiences and a different set of symbolic interrelationships in our minds.

What dreams mean in actuality, can only be understood by you, the dreamer, as the things you see in there, are created from your own mind. It is a subjective experience. Keep a dream diary and write every one of them in as much detail, as you can, just after waking up. As you dig deeper inside yourself, you may understand their genesis.