Dreams about falling are a common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one has been experiencing this type of dream at night, you may have questions about what it all might mean. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Cathleen O'Connor, Ph.D., author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary," to get expert advice about the meanings of your or your loved one’s dreams about falling. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occurred or is recurring.
What do dreams about falling mean? According to O'Connor, dreaming about falling can have a physiological basis. As the body drifts deeper into sleep and the nervous system begins to quiet, blood pressure and heart rate drops and this physiological shift of "falling" asleep can trigger a falling dream, often one from which the dreamer suddenly "jerks" awake. She notes that most often, however, dreaming about falling is the mind’s symbolic way of alerting the dreamer to a situation in her waking life where she feels out of control or where things are quite literally going quickly downhill.
What can I learn about myself from dreaming about falling? "Like any dream symbol, understanding the relevance of a falling dream to your waking life is key," explains O'Connor. She suggests thinking about the various areas of life –- work, relationships, finances or even physical well-being –- where you might be feeling overwhelmed or vulnerable. With that insight you should then be better able to deal with your fears or worries and regain a sense of empowerment.
Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about falling? According to O'Connor, you can induce a falling dream. "Spend a few minutes before bedtime setting an intention to experience that sensation again in the dream state," she advises. "If dreams of falling bring up feelings of vulnerability and fear, realize that the goal is not to avoid them but rather to work with those dreams in your waking state to deal with the fears around the situation so you can regain your balance."
Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about falling? "Someone living in a modern industrial society holding a high value on monetary measures of success might experience a falling dream over worries about mismanaged finances or bad business investments," explains O'Connor. "However, someone living in an agrarian society that places value on shared resources might experience a falling dream over worries about the impact of natural weather patterns on a season’s harvest." The specific reason for dreams about falling may vary depending on culture, but the core psychological issues of fear, of failure or lack of control are the same.
Who tends to have dreams about falling most frequently? "Dreaming about falling is one of the universal dream experiences," notes O'Connor. "Virtually everyone has dreamt about and experienced the sensation of falling when asleep." She says this dream most often occurs shortly after you drift off, but it's possible to dream about falling anytime while asleep.
What does it mean when I dream about someone else falling? Most often, other people in a dream represent the dreamer, so dreaming about someone else falling might simply indicate that the dreamer wishes to emulate the other person in some aspect and fears unable to do so. The dreamer could also be feeling as if someone in his life is letting him down or failing him in some way or otherwise "falling short." According to O'Connor, "by thinking about your current life situations and the people involved, the correct interpretation can be found."
Cathleen O'Connor holds a Ph.D. in metaphysics and is author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary." In addition to her work as a dream analyst and author, O'Connor is a keynote speaker and entrepreneurial coach. She enjoys inspiring others to act on their most cherished dreams and create lives of joy, fulfillment and success.