The very useful purpose of bad dreams


 

One of the key concepts I teach my student trainers in working with people is to keep asking:

“WHY does _____ happen?”

I think “WHY” is one of the most powerful words you can use in coaching.

Recently, one of my coaching clients, a golf pro, whom I’m helping get over the yips,  was telling me he had a bad dream and that he has it periodically. He said that he is in a classroom, maybe college, and he’s about to take a test and he is totally unprepared for it. He hasn’t studied and he knows he is going to do poorly.

He asked me “Why do I get this dream” and why does it keep recurring?Why do we get bad dreams

Truth is, I’ve had that exact same dream over the years myself and so
I put the question to my unconscious mind for the answer because, frankly, I didn’t have an answer at the time.

Well, a half hour ago as I write this, I just woke up from that exact dream of being in class for a test and knowing I was going to flunk it. This was no coincidence!

In the dream, I felt strong feelings of dread, despair, anxiety, and even shame as I began randomly answering questions without a clue and knowing I was totally blowing it.

As I forced myself to wake up, I vividly remembered the questions were totally nonsensical, and like most dreams, there was some other weird things about the situation that you wouldn’t normally have in a real classroom about to take a test.

Now, I know that there are people out there who help others with dream analysis who might be able to interpret some of those weird things, and I think there’s probably something to that,

however, right as I started to wake myself out of the discomfort of the whole thing, I had a new thought come to me.

What if….

What if all those weird things about the dream were really not that important to the real purpose for the dream?

You know how after we wake up after a bad dream we tend to replay some of the scenes in our mind to try to “figure it out” or “understand” it and we usually end up in circles and end up like my coaching client asking “Why do I get this dream?” with no answers.

Well, I may have an answer! At least one that is useful and works for me.

Because I purposely didn’t try to analyze my dream, I instead began to focus on how great I FELT after waking up and realizing that it was just a dream, and not real! I noticed and became very aware of strong feelings of RELIEF!

How often do you get to feel that great feeling?

In the dream, my body was extremely tense, more so than even most real life situations where I have trouble.

When I woke up, I literally felt all that tension melt away as I kept thinking,

“it’s just a dream, it’s not real, your life is great.“

…and I consciously forced my focus onto all the things I normally think about that I am so grateful for starting with:

“You already graduated college and you have no desire to go again. You have your degree and you’re proud of it. Everything is good, things are ok, you’re o.k. etc.”

Whew – RELIEF, relax, release of tension.

Again, stronger than normal positive feelings replace the stress and tension I felt just moments ago in the bad dream.

What a gift!

And I really focus on those feelings. It was great! It was sort of like when you have to hold your pee for a long period of time because there’s no bathroom available and then finally, when you get to go, the relief feelings are amazing, right?

and you can feel it and enjoy it for awhile after the initial release.

I think a purpose for such bad dreams could be to give us a safe opportunity to experience bad things so that we can be reminded we have the power to change how we feel through our thinking!

In bad dreams, we often have extreme situations where the tension and stress are along the lines of absolute panic and terror which many of us don’t experience too often.

But even more importantly, even if you do feel those feelings of panic and terror often, you get the opportunity to instantly come out of them when you wake up! You get to FEEL the RELIEF.

When we have the realization that the dream is not real, some of us finally give ourselves permission to feel the RELIEF and GRATITUDE that we normally would not give ourselves.

How often do you give yourself permission to think and feel that?

You see, I think that our unconscious mind is reminding us how we CAN feel…how we CAN relieve our stress. How we have the power to go to good feelings even if we rarely do it in real life.

Functions of the unconscious mindRemember, your unconscious mind’s #1 job is to operate your body to keep you alive and healthy. If you are in too much stress, worry and anxiety during your waking hours, it is having a tough time doing it’s job for you.

Type in any search engine “percent of doctor visits related to stress” and you will see 75-90%.

Stress is the enemy of the unconscious mind.

Get this: most of the mental blocks I’ve helped athletes clear are because of too much stress in their life, now and in the past, inside and outside of sports.

It’s giving you a bad dream, maybe in part, maybe in full, to allow you to physically feel those RELIEF feelings that you can create for yourself.

If all you ever know or are aware of are stressful feelings, how are you going to know you can feel differently? That’s the purpose of the bad dream, to show you that you can, to give you hope, to give you a real bodily experience of deep peace and calm as you release tension using thoughts:

“It’s just a dream, it’s not real”

I wonder what other perceptions and thoughts you have that are “Not real” that are causing you stress and worry that you can shift on and find relief from today. Hmmmmm

😉

 

Let’s do this,

Craig

2 thoughts on “The very useful purpose of bad dreams

  1. Christopher Williams

    Great video/post. I really like your theory. I’m going to embrace it and run with it. It’s funny you mentioned going to the bathroom. Up until now that’s been my conclusion to why I have “bad” dreams. It’s my unconscious mind’s way of alarming me that I need to get up and relieve myself. It’s funny to say, but it seems pretty true. Your version is obviously more useful though. Haha.

    Reply
    1. Craig Sigl Post author

      Yeah Chris, as an Advanced Mental Toughness graduate, you know the power of “Useful” vs “Reality” 🙂
      Thanks for commenting!
      Craig

      Reply

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