Unlock the Meaning of Your Dreams

It’s a strange paradox: Everybody dreams—several times each night in fact—and yet most people I talk to say they rarely remember theirs, and if they do they don’t pay much attention to them.

That’s because they find dreams to be too complicated or confusing to understand. Which is too bad, because studies have shown that dreams can help us solve problems, boost creativity, and offer insights that help with anything from emotional issues to improved relationships.

What’s more, there are lots of easy and effective ways to tap into this nightly storehouse of wisdom and creativity. One of my favorites requires you do little more than pick up your pen with the “wrong” hand. Let me explain.

You’ve probably heard about the importance of writing your dreams down. Now let’s take that one step further. You can contact the dreamy aspects of yourself—the unexpected bits of wisdom and insight that often come through in dreams—by writing with your non-dominant hand (the left hand if you’re a righty or the right hand if you’re a lefty). That’s because, just as you have two hands, you have two hemispheres in your brain. The left side of your brain is generally associated with logical, rational thinking, among many other things, and is connected to the right side of your body. The right side of your brain is generally associated with intuitive, artistic, nonlinear thought, and is connected to the left side of the body. So, when you write with your left hand you stimulate the opposite hemisphere in your brain.

This is a highly simplified description of a complex area of brain function, but the bottom line is that when you write with your non-dominant hand, you are breaking old habits and stimulating different parts of your brain. This simple technique helps to create conditions for new insight and perspective.

Here are two practical suggestions for how to use this information to unlock the meaning and messages in your dream:

Write With the ‘Wrong’ Hand

Try writing the dream using your non-dominant hand. This will slow you down, allowing new and creative thoughts to emerge. Also, by writing with your non-dominant hand you activate parts of your brain you don’t usually rely on, and therefore you might unlock fresh perspectives and new insights.

Interview a Dream Character

Choose a character from your dream that you are curious about. Using your dominant hand, write a question you’d like to ask this character. For example, you might ask:

  • Who are you?
  • Why are you coming to me now?
  • What do you know that I don’t know?
  • What have you come to tell me?

Then, using your non-dominant hand, respond, as if you were that character. After engaging in this two-handed dialogue for 5-10 minutes, read back over what you’ve written. You might be surprised to discover new information about your dream, and your self.

Remember, mysterious as they may seem at first, these are your dreams. They are trying to communicate with you. Engaging in dreamwork can help you learn to understand your dreams so you can access the deep wisdom they contain.

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My book The Mindful Approach to a Good Night’s Sleep is chock full of information and exercises to support you in sleeping and dreaming better. And it’s now available for pre-order!The Mindful Way to a Good Night's Sleep book cover

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