CORONAVIRUS MAY HAVE CREATED
A NEW TYPE OF EPIDEMIC
How bizarre are your dreams, these days ? Many people around the world are reporting unusually vivid and weird dreams since the lockdown started, and neuroscientists think it could be how we process emotion, and they are clearly symbolic of our current fears. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.
DO YOU DREAM OF COVID-19 ?
Difficulty breathing, trying to scrub bugs off yourself, being trapped somewhere, walking in empty cities, feeling abandoned, or alone… In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, our collective subconscious is being affected. People around the world have reported having more dreams than usual, and weirder ones, more vivid. This vividness is attributed to the emotional and physical chaos we are experiencing right now. And since there is a theory – the continuity theory – that implies that people dream about the things they’re thinking about during the day, it absolutely makes sense that recently, it is about the pandemic. And the worst-affected population, not surprisingly, are frontline medical staff. These people are having full-on nightmares, just like a traumatized population.
THAT IS YOUR MIND WORKING OUT ISSUES
Some experts go as far as saying that dreams have a functional purpose and that they prepare us for tough or challenging situations of our daily life, when we are awake. Stressful dreams show that we are trying to work through a certain situation emotionally. I am quarantined alone, and I have noticed that most of my dreams are about me being infected with the virus because I finally meet with someone I love, and that person gives me a hug – which would be a nice dream under a different setup… Social isolation is obviously seriously affecting me.
Indeed, under lockdown, we have fewer opportunities to use our normal coping strategies, so our anxieties crawl up at night.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO MANIFEST BETTER, LESS STRESSFUL DREAMS ?
Undoubtedly, dreams regulate our mental health and emotions, just like our memory is consolidated during our sleep. Therefore, links between waking life and dreams are indisputable.
Research in clinical psychology shows that people who suffer from chronic nightmares can benefit from lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming can be a way to overcome negativity by controlling the content. These dreams can be induced.
If you are an avid dreamer, it could be helpful to start a dream journal, regardless of whether you believe your dreams have a meaning or not. By putting those dreams into words in a journal, you will better understand yourself and learn to filter through your own beliefs. This “morning rumination” will help relieve the subconscious. Also, by sharing your dream with others, your would feel less alone, and it would create a greater level of empathy between sharing people. Not a bad idea in a world that has grown to be more and more narcissistic.
So next time you call your friend, how about telling them: “I had the weirdest dream last night. Can I tell you about it?”