Recurring Dreams: What Does It Mean to Have a Dream Over and Over Again?
Why Do Dreams Reoccur?
Dreams reflect a dreamer's feelings, thoughts, unconscious drives, and unfinished business. They also allow a dreamer to gain personal insight, which allows them to process and resolve issues from their waking life. Dreams and dream work can be a powerful tool for personal growth and goal achievement.
Recurring dreams, whether they are pleasant dreams or nightmares, are very significant to the dreamer. Dreams can reoccur for many reasons. The most likely reason is that the message or purpose of the dream has not been received by the dreamer, and the issue it highlights is being left unresolved and ignored.
Recurring dreams often turn into nightmares when the dreamer continues to ignore something important in their waking lives. This issue housed in the dream will wait for the dreamer and will not go away, despite the dreamer convincing him/herself that it does not exist. The nightmare is an extreme version of the dream content screaming for the dreamer's attention.
Attempting to Understand Recurring Dreams
Understanding the meaning of a dream that reoccurs for you can be tricky. After all, this dream is likely highlighting an issue you have not attended to and may even be repressing. If you are repressing or denying something within your life or within you, that thing is not going to be the first thing you think of when you begin to explore the meaning of this dream—after all, your conscious mind is doing a good job of avoiding the idea hiding in the dream.
So how do you figure out the meaning? You can start by asking yourself a few questions:
- What have you put off in your life? (Examples: education, a new job, having children, ending a relationship, confronting something or someone, the next step, etc.)
- What problem or facet of life have you not addressed? (Examples: spirituality, faith, emotions, creativity, childhood dreams, goals as an adult, issues with your mom, issues with your dad, issues with another person, issues with your boss, follow up on health issues, etc.)
- What do you feel you do not have control over in your life?
- Review a few suggested interpretations from a dream dictionary. Do any suggestions jump out at you? If an interpretation feels like it's correct, then it probably is.
- If you are still unable to find a suitable interpretation that gives you that Aha! moment, ask yourself which possible interpretations did you dismiss? Or, which ones appalled you, annoyed you, or evoked other unpleasant emotions? It is hard to confront what you are not confronting, but allow yourself to entertain the idea—just for a few moments—that that particular meaning is correct. It is likely this is either the meaning you are searching for, or it is beginning to point you towards a truth you'd rather not face.
How to Stop Having Recurring Dreams
It is important to always be honest with yourself and confront issues as they come up.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. If the steps above helped you identify a possible meaning to the dream, then as you address the issue the dream highlights for you, the dream will change, and you will begin to progress through the steps towards resolution. Your dreams will reflect your progress and you may be able to gauge how well you are doing based on the evolution of your dreams.
If you have not found the meaning and are truly stuck, you may try to resolve the issue backwards by working out the dream within the dream. This sounds a bit strange, but just as dreams help us understand and resolve things going on in our waking life, dreams can also help us make changes internally (emotionally, intellectually, etc.) so that we approach situations in our waking life a bit differently. As we begin to change, we may indirectly resolve the issue that created the recurring dream in the first place.
Dream Work: How to Resolve Issues Within Dreams
- Encourage dreams and dream recall by getting plenty of rest, avoiding alcohol and mind-altering substances, and writing down your dreams in a dream journal each night.
- Once you are a bit more aware of your dreams, you can work towards having a lucid dream. A lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware you are dreaming but continue to sleep. It is within lucid dreams that the dreamer is able to make changes to the dreamscape and willfully affect and participate in their dreams.
- If you are unable to lucid dream (this takes practice and dedication that many do not have the time for), you may also lay down in a quiet, darkened room and remember your dream with your eyes closed. Walk yourself through the dream, visualizing each aspect over and over. Slow the dream down and picture yourself making changes and doing the opposite. Attempt to resolve the dream by changing the story and changing the outcome. Example: if you are dreaming of being chased by something, turn around and face it, look at it, examine it—what is it? Accept that it cannot hurt you. These visualizations may help you affect your dreams which may also help you alter how you are approaching life or situations that are creating issues for you now.
How to Have Lucid Dreams
Lucid dreaming may come naturally for some but takes practice, time, and commitment for most. The first step is becoming more aware of your dreams and being able to recall dream content.
- Once you begin to remember dreams often and have vivid dreams, you are closer to having a lucid dream.
- For most people, when they become aware they are dreaming and realize they are sleeping and the dream is not real, they instantly wake up from the dream.
- If your heart rate increases, you will wake up. You may realize you are dreaming, get excited that you are having a lucid dream, and wake yourself up.
- This takes practice, but try to remind yourself before you sleep each night that you may realize you are dreaming and still remain in the dream. Remind yourself to stay calm, breathe slowly, and slow down. Prepare yourself to understand you are dreaming and look around your landscape.
- If you are in the recurring dream (congratulations, this is where you wanted to be!) only control the parts you need to change. These parts could include facing a monster, grabbing a hold of a steering wheel, warning someone of danger, etc. These changes may affect your recurring dream and help you resolve it.
- Controlling every aspect of where you look and what you are doing can feel strange and will often slow down the dream and feel forced. Allow yourself at times to just flow with the dream.
- It is important to continue to identify the part of your life that is producing the dream as well. This should be an ongoing process.
Lucid dreaming, for people who follow the steps and are committed to becoming more aware of their dreams, can take several months to achieve. It may take you even longer to find yourself lucid within the recurring dream. This process is clearly not something to expect to complete overnight.
The best way to achieve some sort of resolution for the dream is to begin the visualization exercises listed above. Allowing yourself to avoid the meaning of the dream or put off resolving the issue is negatively reinforcing the recurring dream.
It can be uncomfortable and difficult, but tricking yourself to change your approach and perspective on the dream (and on situations you are experiencing in your waking life) will allow you to begin to resolve the issues you are not confronting.
What is your recurring dream about?
Being Chased in a Dream: What Does It Mean?
Most dreamers are reporting being chased as the number one theme associated with their recurring dream. Some report having the exact same dream over and over again while others report having different dreams each night but with a common theme (e.g. of being chased or pursued by something).
We have learned that unlocking the meaning of our recurring dream and understanding how it may relate to something unresolved in our lives can help us move on from this dream. So, what could a dream of being chased mean?
We should always consider the literal meaning. Sometimes this is overlooked yet is the best fit. For example, I once reviewed a chase dream and the dreamer admitted to being pursued by a potential attacker down an alley a few years prior. Sometimes, a chase dream reflects a memory or a general fear of experiencing the actual situation in the dream.
Being chased can often relate to something the dreamer is attempting to avoid. If it is a recurring dream, then it is not likely something you are successfully avoiding. This could relate to an emotion, a situation, an insecurity, etc.
If you are the one doing the chasing in the dream, perhaps you are pursuing something or attempting to capture something in life (e.g. a relationship, a goal, a feeling, an accomplishment, etc.). Feelings and urges of aggression should be explored. The feelings we express the least in our waking lives are usually the subject of our recurring dreams.
Chasing can be rather symbolic and we use this word in many contexts in our daily lives. A review of some common idioms can give us a dream interpretation breakthrough:
- A wild goose chase: A long search for something that is hard to find—or may not even exist.
- Chasing your own tail: Relates to how a dog can run around and around chasing his tail. This relates to going in circles and not making progress.
- Ambulance chaser: This is an insult directed at lawyers and referring to them as someone who seeks out crisis only to profit from it.
- Chase rainbows: To chase or pursue something that is unrealistic.
- Paper chase: A task that involves a lot of paperwork and documents.
- Chase the dragon: This is a slang term related to smoking drugs/illegal substances. Are you seeking a high in some area of your life?
- Chasing a high: Also related to drugs/alcohol and relates to someone attempting to find a way to replicate a pleasant sensation that has passed—usually in vain.
If you are enjoying this chase, perhaps this relates to your romantic pursuits and dynamics. Do you enjoy the chase? Do you enjoy being chased? Are you enjoying pursuing a relationship more than the actual relationship?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.