Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dreams about taking exam, being naked -- what they mean

I personally never had the naked exam dream, but have had a recurring dream at times during my adult life about not being able to remember where my next class was in college and continually missing those classes. I don't remember being in any confused state during my waking moments at the time of the dream. Maybe someone out there has another interpretation for me.

You're in a classroom and the teacher puts an exam face down on your desk. You pick it up and can't really make out what's on it; it's blurry, or it's in another language, or it's in a subject you didn't study.

You feel like you're going to fail, even though it's been years since you've actually been in school.

People commonly relive this scenario in their dreams, even decades after their last graduation. While many high school, college and graduate school students are cramming for real exams this week, you may dream about it if you have anxiety about being judged, or if you're in a situation you don't know how to handle, experts say.

Dreams are "an extremely rich source of practical advice, and other alternatives about what we're doing in our lives," said Deirdre Barrett, Harvard psychologist and author of "The Committee of Sleep" and "Trauma and Dreams." "They're just coming from such a different part of ourselves that they're a very good supplement to our waking, rational thinking."

Letting your dreams help you

If you want further insight into a difficult decision, consider asking a question before you go to bed, and then seeing what happens in your dream, Orloff said. Get a dream journal and write down the question at night; in the morning, without getting out of bed, write down everything you remember.

One patient of Orloff's had to make a difficult decision about whether to take a new job, and dreamed that she was in the new position but had a negative experience. This helped her realize that she did not get along with the boss, and she decided against the job, Orloff said.

The bottom line: Trust your waking, logical thinking, but don't ignore what your intuitive, feeling-based, visual side might have to say about difficult decisions through dreams, Barrett said.

"It can be very important to look to our dreams on anything that we're kind of stuck on in our waking lives, because the dream thoughts are likely to be so different, and they may really think outside the box and come up with an answer that we haven't awake," Barrett said.

Read entire article here.

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