The Importance of Dreams in Resolving Stress

In this day and age, its surprising how little attention we pay to the power and wisdom of the unconscious mind. Experts remind us that about 85% of our behaviors are driven by the unconscious mind. With that much influence you might think that we would pay a little more attention to this wealth of information and influence. Unlike the conscious mind, the unconscious mind (which is in full operation 24/7) speaks in the language of colors, symbols, stories, metaphors and dreams, with dreams being perhaps the best means of communication. While we sleep it is thought we have about 3-4 dream periods (usually during REM). During this time, the unconscious mind does its best to “problem solve” by giving insights to personal situations, problems and issues. The insights are often “coded” and rarely a literal interpretation. While Freud said that dreams conceal various aspects of our personality, Jung argued that dreams don’t conceal, they REVEAL these aspects. We just need to be bi-lingual with dream language. Jung spent nearly his life work teaching us how to do this but as with much wisdom, it often gets forgotten with contemporary distrations. Learning the language of the unconscious mind takes work, but the payoff is always rewarding. Both Freud and Jung studied dreams long before the invention and prolific use of television AND its influence on our minds. It’s fair to say that these images (from violence, sex, etc) as well as those by movies have an effect that has yet to be fully accounted for. Nor has the impact on these shows toward personal levels of stress been fully researched. But you don’t need to be Freud or Jung to know that surely what we take in through the media definitely affects profoundly us at an unconscious level. Recurring dreams are a means for the unconscious mind to get your attention to work on the resolution of a specific issue. Jung was of the opinion that we could do this through lucid dreaming (visualization) to consciously finish/ resolve the dream with a happy ending. In doing so, you then send a message to the unconscious mind to continue this resolution process and reduce this latent stress. The message here is not to ignore your dreams; they may offer insights to help you reduce stress! So pay attention to your dreams, they may be your best means to help resolve stress.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Consider keeping a pad of paper and pen by your bed to jot down some/any notes you might have about dreams (or dream fragments) from the night before. Writing them down often helps remember more of them. Also by reminding yourself as you place head to pillow that you wish to remember your dreams you plant a seed in the unconscious mind to do so.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
A group in California has embarked on a wonderful idea: to conduct inspiring lectures from some of our world’s most insightful luminaries. The website is called:

and it contains many great talks. One talk I feel compared to share is by Al Gore whose message is important for all of us to heed.

• Photo of the Day:
This is a photo composite I created (with the help of Photoshop expert, Mark S. Johnson ( ). Although it was made to convey a sense of practicing mental imagery, it also conveys a sense of remembering your dreams.

• Quote for the Day:

“ Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
— Helen Keller

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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