“To sleep, perchance to dream,” wrote Shakespeare in Hamlet. In penning these words he summed up an experience virtually every person on earth is familiar with. Dreams have been around as long as humans, and interpreting them is a fun and fascinating pastime. So here’s a look at the seven most common dreams and what they’re supposed to mean.

  • Car problems – These dreams can take many forms. In some the dreamer needs to go somewhere but can’t get their automobile running. In others they’re forced to use a minimal vehicle, such as a motorized wheelchair or go-cart, while driving on a busy highway. In yet others they’re in a car or truck that’s out of control and heading for a crash. Most dream experts agree this means that the person feels out of control of some part of their life, and fears that trouble or even disaster is imminent.
  • Broken tools or devices – In these dreams the subject needs something to work properly, such as a drill, computer, or phone, but it continually malfunctions. Usually they need to complete an important goal, but can’t because of the defective device. Interpretations of these dreams vary. Some think these dreams indicate that the person is worried about their health. Others believe that they signify fear of loneliness or losing a valued friend.
    Being trapped or lost – It might be in the woods, in a strange town, or even in an unfamiliar home. Whatever the setting, the dreamer desperately wants to get out of the place they’re in but can’t find an exit. Dream interpreters say this means that the person feels like they’re stuck in a situation they hate but can’t get out of, such as an unhappy relationship or a job that makes them miserable.
  • Stuck in an airport, terminal, or station – You keep looking at the flight schedule, but your plane never arrives. Or the bus you’re sitting on never pulls out, or the train you need to catch is endlessly delayed. Sometimes this can mean you fear missing a great opportunity, or that you have a shot at achieving a goal but fear you won’t make it. Other times it can show that you feel trapped in some way, such as in a bad marriage.
  • Being chased – The pursuer could be a vicious animal, an alien spaceship, a criminal gang, or any number of things. Whatever the case, dream interpretation experts say that whatever’s chasing you represents some person or thing you feel threatened by.
  • Failing a test or returning to school – The scenarios vary; sometimes the person dreams that they didn’t take a required class in elementary school and must return to complete it as an adult. Other times they may dream they flunked a high school or college exam and are being held back from graduating. In any event, the root cause is a feeling of inadequacy, a fear that one doesn’t have the brains or the courage to make it in life.
  • Being naked in public – The most common form of this dream is when the person is at work and is desperately trying to cover up their nudity while co-workers hover nearby. Other times the dreamer might be in a public place like a train station or crowded restaurant. Most dream experts say this represents the fear of being found out. The person having the dream believes they are hiding a sin or other failing from those around them, and they will be ruined if it becomes known.

For most people, dreams are a harmless and even amusing part of their daily lives. But if your dreams are causing worry or stress, a visit to a doctor or professional counselor may be needed. In almost all cases you can learn how to understand dreams and deal with their causes.

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