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Disturbing Dreams During a Crisis

Why are we having so many disturbing dreams at this time?


by Margaret Bowater

Don’t scare yourself about having unusual nightmarish dreams - this eruption of dreams is a recognised phenomenon during a time of high anxiety in the general population. 
We’re currently under siege by a lethal new Covid19 virus that is spreading rapidly around the world, so it’s quite natural to be afraid for your health, especially if your immunity is already compromised. When anxiety rises in a whole population - heightened by constant media reports - everyone is liable to recall past fears (even from stories and films) as well as present ones, resulting in a number of bizarre or fearful dreams. These are simply distorted reflections, however, not predictions of bad things to come.

What can you do to lessen their impact?

  • First, turn off all news an hour or more before bedtime, and distract yourself with peaceful music or an enjoyable book or a creative activity or regular spiritual practice, so that you calm your mind and body. Writing a journal about your day’s experience is helpful. Make sure you get a good 8 hours’ sleep if possible, to keep both mind and body healthy.
  • Second, if you wake up with a disturbing dream or nightmare, you can consciously think of a new ending for the dream-story, so that you escape the danger or fight it off or summon help to survive. Don’t let yourself go on feeling like a victim. Consciously train yourself to think creatively in your dreams as well as your life!
  • Third, even if you or a loved one is unlucky enough to catch the virus, remind yourself that our chances (in NZ) of a full recovery are very high.
Best wishes for happy dreaming. Margaret Bowater

Article posted 27 April 2020
Margaret Bowater is Founding President of the Dream Network Aotearoa-NZ.
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