If we assume that dreams are a pathway for the subconscious mind to communicate to its conscious counterpart, the fact that dreams keeps reoccurring become an important key to decode the mysterious bridge between our internal universes. In general, recurring dreams indicate the presence of an unresolved and persistent conflict in an individualís life, and the theme or Central Image of the dream provides a stage for this conflict to play out. The cessation of a recurrent dream may indicate that the conflict has been successfully resolved. Thus, being aware of and working with recurring dreams is a useful tool for resolving conflicts and improving well-being. (reference)
Themes in which the dreamer is in danger have been found to characterize approximately 40% of recurrent dreams. In most of these dreams with threatening content, the subject is either fleeing, attempting to hide, or helplessly watching. In addition to anecdotal and clinical case reports, research data support the theory that the repetition of negative dream content is associated with the presence of unresolved conflicts or stressors. Furthermore, the cessation of a previously recurrent dream in adulthood is associated with increased psychological well-being. (reference) In both late teenagers and older adults, recurrent dreams:
- Occur in times of stress
- Are accompanied by negative dream content in everyday dreams; and
- Are associated with a relative deficit in psychological well-being.
"One of the first practices which will help to establish some conscious rapport with your dreaming self is to recall the most important and powerful dreams you have ever experienced, either as a child or an adult. It takes considerable conscious effort to remember either the important or the recurring dreams you might have had, but with perseverance brief memories will begin to surface. Write them down briefly, as they are only notes to trigger further memories. Without trying to analyze them, search for some overall pattern to the situations or images which arc unique to you. It might be that you have dreams of being chased or of finding yourself in embarrassing situations. Your dreams might be comic or overly serious, but whatever the case consciously recall the type of dreamworlds you usually inhabit. If there is a recurring scenario, or one to whick you feel strongly attracted, examine it more carefully. This will be the familiar base from which you can always operate and where you can direct your attention. Then simply intend to go there in your dreams, and when you do so determine that you will remember all that happened in them. This is a deceptively simple yet powerful means of focusing one's attention on a dream spot. It might be a strange landscape or a particular room in an old house which has doors which you have never opened; it could be a city street where many of your dreams are enacted. Whatever the situation or place, try to fix it in your mind, telling yourself that this will be the place where you will become conscious when next you dream of it." Malcolm Godwin
According to Malcolm Godwin, this simple method of imprinting the idea that whenever you find yourself in that spot you will remember it is a dream, is one of the most effective triggers for lucid dreaming.
See also: Booze and dreams, Dreams and brain disorders, Dreams as a source of inspiration, Essential oils, Food and dreams, Hypnagogic state, Neuroprotective agents, Sleeping brain, Sleep deprivation, Weed and dreams