Dr. Royce Fitts, LMFT

Holistic, Spiritual Counselor & Dream Work

Stress Management and Your Dreams

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How to reduce and manage stress through understanding your nighttime dreams.

Dr. Royce Fitts

(copyright 2009, from a transcript of a mini-seminar)

Can you believe this? If you take 10-20 minutes a day to write down your dreams from the night before, or even do this just 2-3 times a week, you will begin to reduce and manage the stress in your life in new and powerful ways. Experiment with this idea for 60 days, or even just 7 days! I guarantee that if you do this you will run faster, jump higher, laugh more, feel better, be kinder, be less bothered by those annoying people you have to work with; you will like yourself more and you may even win the lottery because you dreamed the winning numbers!! I guarantee and promise this and if it does not work for you, I will, with no questions asked, gladly refund all your stress! In fact, I promise to double the refund of your stress!! I  will even give you my stress!! What a deal! This is even better than shopping on TV’s Home Shopping Network. Hurry! Call now! Stress operators are standing by!!

Well, before you throw rotten tomatoes at me, I do want to encourage you that there is truth, even healing truth, that if you begin to pay attention to your dreams you will enrich your life. I promise!

You and I were born with one of the most powerful and effective stress management tools ever invented–we have the ability to dream!

Very few of us, though, actually pay attention to those crazy little movies that we make in our heads and go bump in the night. If you knew, though, that dreams–all dreams–nomatter how crazy or boring or scary or embarrassing or fun or bizarre–all dreams–could help you live more enriched, more healthy lives, would you give your dreams more attention?

Of course, you would! So let’s explore dreams…

Here is a quick dream about dealing with stress by a single, professional woman in her 40s:

I am in my house with my teenage nephew…I look out the window and see a wolf running across my pasture…it runs into my yard and attacks and kills my dog… Then, the wolf just runs off…suddenly, next, we are now in the mountains camping…my nephew and I are getting ready to go to the Denver airport to take a vacation trip…

Now, what kind of dream was that? Frightening? Yes. Bizarre? Yes. How could a dream like this be about stress? How could this dream be trying to help the dreamer deal better with stress in her waking life?

What do you think? If this were your dream, what would you say this dream might mean? If you borrowed this dream, made it your own, what would your imagination say this dream may mean? Where do you go as you imagine?

At a workshop recently, we explored some of the meanings of this dream. I asked the audience to quickly borrow this dream and just “blurt out” what some of the “dream elements” (the various parts of the dreams, like the house, dog, wolf, camping, etc.) might mean. One person said, “The wolf was the dreamer’s boss!” (Now, that was graphic! And, for this person, very honest and possibly telling of her own work life!) Another said, “The dreamer was tired of taking care of the dog, so this was a way to get rid of the dog and go on vacation.” (Ouch! That is one way to unload unwanted obligations!) Someone else said, “The dog and the wolf represent two sides of the dreamer, that the dreamer may be having some kind of conflict in her life”. See! Isn’t this fascinating? We could go on and on to delve into the many possible meanings of a dream like this.

Well, the dreamer and I unpacked some of the meanings of this dream in a counseling session. Remember, the dreamer was single, in her 40s, is a hard-worker in her job and life. Her nephew seems vitally important to her. Animals in dreams sometimes represent parts of our lives. Dogs may represent the tame, domestic part, wolves may represent the wild, untamed part of our lives. What happened? The wild side attacked the tame side! What might this mean? Perhaps, this person’s workaday–dog-day–world was becoming too stressful for her, too consuming of her best time. Maybe she was bored. Maybe her life was going to the dogs! Perhaps, this person was not spiritually or emotionally balanced between the necessity of working for a living and experiencing healthy rest and adventure in her life. Maybe her nephew represented her longing for her lost youth. The wild, angry wolf destroyed her tame world! Suddenly, the dreamer was in the beautiful mountains, getting ready for a great trip and adventure!

In the dream, I believe the wolf was the dreamer’s best friend—it got her attention with a horrible wake-up call! She might die, or be forever bored in life (which would be worse?), if she did not pay attention to the other needs of her life that are just as important as making a living. The dreamer may have neglected her relationship needs in her life, such as enjoying the people she loves, her nephew, or taking some time to renew and restore herself with healthy adventures, like camping or going on a vacation.

See how this dream tried to help the dreamer by scaring the “you-know-what” out of her?

This dream was a great stress management tool for her. Not only that, but because we borrowed this dream, it is a great stress management tool for you and I, too! This dream calls us to pay attention to the really important things in life. How often do you feel worn out and that you are just getting by with drudgery? How often does your work and/or your personal life feel overloaded with dreaded obligations? Ever feel like a boss, a partner, a mate is just ripping you apart? What kind of renewing and restoring adventures have you experienced recently? The meaning of this dream is not, of course, just about going on a vacation or camping. Not all of us can do or like to do that kind of activity. The dream is
about you taking back your life right now, in little and big ways, to give yourself healthy rest or renewal or healthy adventure.

Sometimes you and I have to be fierce, like a wolf, to not let anything or anyone stop us from tending to our soul.

What gives you renewal? What restores you? What is a little or a great adventure you are longing to experience? Let the wolf take you there…

I love hiking. Nearly every week, I borrow my neighbor’s dogs (that is a whole other story!) and we explore the canyons and bluffs around our region. I am renewed when I do this. Maybe you need to take time for you, read a fun novel, or listen to music that restores you. Maybe you feel torn up at work or in your personal life and you need to explore with a professional counselor, healer, priest or some trusted helper to find ways to renew and restore your soul. Maybe you need to visit with someone that you deeply miss and long to see?

Be fierce as a wolf in making sure you tend to your soul.

What dreams are you having that are trying to help you heal? Pay attention, journal your dreams. Talk about your dreams with a trusted, really trusted, friend. Listen to your heart, your soul.

Your soul is talking to you in your dreams.

Projective Dream PathMany years ago, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, I was working with a person who was dying of cancer. She was working on her end of her life, trying to heal her soul, trying to take care of the ones she loved and would soon leave. Somehow, as we were visiting one day, I just happened to ask, “What do you want to do before you die?” Her eyes grew large and full. Without a blink, without a moment’s hesitation, she blurted out, “I just want to dance!”

Yes, dance! Let us dance our dreams.

Don’t die without paying attention to your dreams… live fiercely, live your dreams.

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