Some students and teachers have reported having bad dreams or nightmares during this time of ongoing stress. First of all that’s, normal during abnormal times. Our routines have been changed and so our dreams are changed. The nature of stress dreams are usually shorter than dreams in regular times and can be intense or frightening or just strange and puzzling. The Egyptians thought that dreams were messages from the Gods; the Greeks thought that dreams were messages from the dead. I’d like to remind you that dreams are usually no more than our subconscious mind reacting to the events of that day. Our mind is trying to file away important memories of today and to short out what everything meant to us today. The mind files some things in important folders of our memories and trashes or files other things in the back of our minds in less important files. Dreams are not warnings of things to come such as sudden, unexpected deaths or winning the lottery next weekend, etc. They are just our reactions to recent events.

Some students are mentioning violent or gory dreams. These usually have to do with feelings of not being able to control upsetting information and feeling helpless to do anything about it. They represent our fear of what is going on in the world and what will happen to us next. Some people believe that they never dream, but this is not the case. We all dream most every night that we achieve deep sleep. There are a few things you can do about dreams that are waking you up with uneasy feelings. Just after you close your eyes to fall asleep, tell yourself you will NOT remember your dreams in the morning, or you can say to yourself that you will only remember pleasant thoughts. Try to think of the type of dreams or visions you want to have. This may take several nights before you see a difference, but keep it up until you have the types of dreams you want or just don’t remember any dreams at all.

I have been encouraged lately that most people’s bad dreams are getting fewer and less traumatic and their overall mood is lighter than just a couple of weeks ago as we see signs of slightly better reports on the news. However, I have to stress again that you should limit your exposure to the news media. One hour a day should be you media exposure to the reports of the virus and the statistics. 30 minutes of the world news & 30 minutes of local news per day is the maximum. You can find out everything you need to know in those summaries and the rest is just speculation. Remember that sensational and shocking things that come across your computer or cell phone are usually not true even if they sound real and make for drama when you repeat them by sending them on to others.

No matter how bored, scared, or worried you get, remind yourself, “This is temporary. This is not my life, only a part of my life.” “All of this is temporary.”

Thank you for listening,
Dr. Crawford

Dr. Russ Crawford

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