Have you ever felt like you were having déjà vu in your dreams? If you have reoccurring dreams, you just might feel that way. Recurring dreams are important and need your attention.
What are Reoccurring Dreams?
A reoccurring dream is any dream you have more than once. Generally these dreams repeat several times over a period of weeks, months, or even years.
You may get the same dream once a week, once a month, or once a year. It doesn’t matter how far apart the dreams are, the important piece here is that the dream repeats.
Many people find reoccurring dreams disturbing, if only for the fact that they seem to be stuck on repeat. Recurrent dreams tend to stand out in your mind. And if you have a sense that your reoccurring dream is meaningful, you’re right…
Why do Dreams Recur?
Dreams in general provide valuable insights about your life. When you pay attention to your dreams and take appropriate action on them, you integrate the lesson and your dreams move on to what’s next.
Even if you don’t actively use your dreams, most dreams will not reoccur. Sometimes, however, there is something *so* important that it needs your attention. If you do not act on and integrate the dream, your dream will repeat.
The main difference between reoccurring and one-off dreams is that reoccurring dreams have an important message that you are not hearing. So the dream repeats itself again and again and again and again… until you finally pay attention AND take appropriate action.
The repetition shows that the same situation is still present in your life. Once you take action on your reoccurring dreams, the dream will transform and eventually stop. The end of the recurrent dream is a sign that you’ve integrated its lessons.
Understanding Reoccurring Dreams
To understand why you are having a particular dream, it’s helpful to look at two separate occurrences of the dream:
- The first dream
- The most recent dream
Once you have identified the first and most recent occurrences of your dream, look for patterns and similarities between the two instances.
When did you FIRST have this dream?
Get out your dream journal or think back to the first time you had your reoccurring dream. Knowing the exact date the dream started is not important. What is important is the time period of your life, what was going on, and what your life was like.
Reoccurring dreams often start during periods of change, such as after getting married or starting a new job. Recall if there were any changes happening in your life when the dream started.
What was the most recent occurrence of the dream?
Now, think back to the most recent occurrence of the dream. What was going on in your life at that time? If the dream is still occurring, what is going on in your life now?
Look for Patterns
Look at both the first and most recent occurrences of your dream and look for patterns. What similarities do you see? What is the same in your life? How does the dream relate to the events of your life both now and then?
Of course, your life circumstances probably won’t be exactly the same, especially if the dream has been reoccurring for years. Look for similarities in the way you feel, how you behave, and the way you show up in the world.
How Reoccurring Dreams are Helpful
Since we all tend to repeat certain patterns, reoccurring dreams often point to a reoccurring pattern in your life. For example, you might have the dream when you feel stressed, devalued, underappreciated, or when you need a change in your life.
The recurrent dream acts as a reminder that you are doing the same thing over and over again. They can show you that you are repeating the same behaviors that haven’t worked in the past or that you are holding on to beliefs that no longer serve you. Reoccurring dreams teach us that if we want to have different results, we need to take different actions.
Sometimes reoccurring dreams have different variations. Maybe one of the dream characters did something different, or maybe you reacted differently.
Pay attention to these differences. They provide clues and more details about your situation. Often they reflect what is going on right now in regards to the situation in the dream.
Further, dream variations may be showing you what you need to do next or how you have changed.
Reoccurring Dreams and PTSD
Reoccurring dreams are a common symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is common in veterans, rape victims, and people who were abused as children.
With PTSD, you may find yourself reliving the trauma through your dreams. These dreams can be vivid and terrifying. The dreams show you that the trauma you suffered is still very real for you and that you have not worked through it yet.
If your reoccurring dreams are related to PTSD, it’s important to seek help from a trained therapist or psychologist. He or she can help you process the trauma and relieve the PTSD symptoms.
As with any reoccurring dream, once you have successfully processed the trauma, you will stop having the dream.
Putting it all Together
In short, reoccurring dreams show you that there is something important you need to know and act on. When you don’t understand the dream or fail to take appropriate action, the dream will repeat until you do.
To begin working with your reoccurring dreams, find the parallels between your dreams and your waking life. Ask yourself:
- When did you first have the dream?
- When was the most recent dream?
- What patterns can you see in your life between the first and last instance of the dream.
Remember, it’s not enough to simply recognize patterns. To honor the dream, you need to take action in your waking life. Look to the dream to help you find the appropriate action to take.
Once you understand the dream and take action, you’ll notice the dream start to transform and eventually stop.
It’s your turn, Dreamer
I’d love to hear your stories. What is your experience with reoccurring dreams? Were you able to act on the dream to resolve it? Comment below.