Dreams can be defined as a trail of emotions, thoughts, and images that go through the mind of an individual when they are sleeping. Alternatively, dreams can be defined as visions that are created in the mind of an individual and which are not real. It has often been said that dreams do not serve any purpose, but this is not always the case. Several researchers have argued that this is not true. As such, this paper seeks to explain the reasons why people dream and just how this process takes place.
Usually, dreams come in different forms with some being extremely vague and others are extraordinarily vivid. There are several reasons and theories that explain why people dream. Some researchers have discovered that people dream because it is an essential part of a human beings life. As such, they are of the view that people dream to enhance proper functioning of their physical, emotional, and mental aspects of their life (Harris, 2009). The other reason why people dream is because through dreams, human beings are able to unconsciously realize their thoughts, motivations, and desires. Actually, this is a psychoanalytic perspective of looking at dreams, which suggests that, those thoughts that are not directly revealed an awareness to people in their conscious state find their way into their dreams.
Blass (2002) is of the view that dreams work in an incredible way depending on people’s experiences during the day. Usually, dreams work together with sleep to enable the brain sort out all the issues that an individual dealt with throughout the day. The human brain deals with hundreds of thousands of things on a daily basis. For instance, the brain has to deal with complex issues like to prepare for a presentation in the workplace to simple things like the color of a car that was passing. Therefore, researchers feel that dreams play a big role in the process of plowing through an individual’s daily experience. This is mainly because the brain has to decide what information it should keep and the ones that should be forgotten.
Additionally dreams occur as part of a learning process, thus they help individuals to memorize things. For example, participants who were undergoing a language course and learning new things were involved in so much dream activity, as opposed to individuals who were not learning anything new. In fact, dreams are a vital component in the learning process because they assist individuals to convert memories that are short-term into memories of a long-term nature (Sack, 2011).
Dreams work by attempting to make connections with our mental functions. During the day, the human brain makes loose connections in order for certain functions to be achieved. An excellent example can be seen when an individual is faced with a challenging mathematical problem. This leads an individual to focus on that one thing in order for them to solve the math problem. Besides mental functions, the brain has to focus on practical work. For instance, when an individual wants to build a bench they will have to focus if they are to make the right connections that will lead them to make an accurate cut. This is where dreams come in because while sleeping there is a slowdown in the level of activity (Cvetkovic & Cosic, 2011). Consequently, the brain is able to make loose connections and thus dreams provide an opportunity for the day’s emotions to battle it out. For example, when one is worried about losing their position in the company, they are likely to dream about it, albeit in a different form. Such a person may dream that they have shrunk and are lost in the midst of giants.
In some instances, dreams may be dismissed as inconsequential, but this is not always the case. There are certain visions that may serve as a warning of what is likely to happen in someone’s life more like a premonition. Researchers have discovered that some dreams have relevance in people’s lives and may serve as a warning for people to tread carefully. Others are a sign of the fulfillment of people’s wishes. Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst who was able to analyze the dreams of many of his patients and arrive at the conclusion that was people’s wish fulfillment. As such, dreams were a sign that people achieved whatever they wanted either literally or symbolically (Blass, 2002). An outstanding example is when someone has a horrifying dream about the death of his or her enemy. Although a person may not wish their enemy’s death, this kind of dream helps one to resolve the conflict they have with their enemy.
Dreams are certainly a natural part of human life and most influential, some of the dreams have some significance in people’s daily lives. Given that dreams reflect people’s emotions and thoughts, their daily activities influence what an individual dreams about. Some of the reasons why people dream is because dreams reflect their wishful thinking and serve as a warning. Generally, dreams work in such a way that the brain is allowed to connect an individual’s thought process. Therefore, people who dream a lot need not get concerned or compare themselves with others because it could probably be as a result of their high level of activity on a daily basis.
Blass, R. B. (2002). The meaning of the dream in psychoanalysis. Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press.
Cvetkovic, D., & Cosic, I. (2011). States of consciousness: Experimental insights into meditation, waking, sleep and dreams. New York: Springer.
Harris, W. V. (2009). Dreams and experience in classical antiquity. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Sacks, M. (2011). Your wildest dreams, within reason. Portland, OR: Tin House Books.