When you’re drifting off into a good night’s sleep, the last thing you’d want is to be pulled into a nightmare. That’s where your dreams go wrong and you enter a dark and twisted place in your mind. The aftermath can make you feel absolutely exhausted the following day.
Nightmares can cause too much anxiety, not being able to fall asleep, and nightmares.
The emotion centre of the brain, the Amygdala, is activated during nightmares, pushing you into a flight or fight response. This is the subconscious mind screaming at you at the top of its voice to focus your attention on the issue that bothers you.
Why you experience these nightmares:
Sometimes after a traumatic experience, our nervous system does not step-down and realize that we are safe again - staying on "red-alert". It can be overwhelming to allow old feelings to come back to the surface. When people let go and move into a new space they might feel scared. It’s like jumping from a trampoline for the first time - you keep waiting for the impact and anxiety builds. So, if you don’t address your troubled feelings, they can come out during your sleep as nightmares.
Nightmares can stem from fears and old wounds - physical and mental. Nightmares appear as metaphors of the issues that trouble you and prohibit you from leading a peaceful life. For example, a child’s fear of disapproval from a parent can become twisted insecurity that manifests as a nightmare that plagues them over a period of time.
The fear that results from trauma is another cause of prolonged nightmares. A soldier who witnessed his team die on the field can revisit the horror in his nightmares, fueled by fear. Reliving trauma is a pattern in nightmares, which can further deteriorate one’s mental health. This, in turn, can lead to the additional trauma of recurring nightmares when the issue is left unaddressed and/or untreated.
Here’s a common misconception: "That's not me now because that experience is over and in the past and I know that because...."
Being really clear about when safety can be available to you again is powerful. Admitting that you need help in the first place is hard enough. Sometimes the simple assurance that there is a way out of living through nightmares can be life-changing.
The first step towards getting rid of nightmares:
To put an end to your fright-filled sleep, the first step is to acknowledge any feelings coming out, and just let them be. Accept the feeling without fear or judgement this time. Rationalize that you live in your present moment. Concentrate on the present. Give yourself time to process your feelings.
Nightmares are symptomatic. The trick is to be prepared for them, especially when intense feelings like sorrow and grief are emerging. It is truly intense, and if left unfaced, you will feel like you’ve returned back to an uneasy place you thought you had left far behind you.
Take every nightmare as a warning. You will need to separate your mind from the event, and view the events/scenes rather than re-experience them. Journaling is a good way to describe what you feel. Understand that it is absolutely safe to experience that feeling and writing it down is a safe way to express it. Even though it may not always seem like it, your dreams(including nightmares) are usually analogies for unresolved emotions. So, journaling is a good way to pinpoint whatever feels out of balance, and just allow yourself to dive deep and have a look at it.
How RTT can help you sleep peacefully:
To clear that block, we need to identify what you experience and work towards an upgraded, untraumatized way of living. That requires reasserting your mind to believe that the issues you’ve faced, all the trauma of your past, is only in your memory. It had a beginning, a middle and an END.
The reason we remember nightmares more often is because they wake us up out of sleep before we get to the resolution. So for example running from a fire, you find a shelter and the fire is put out.
The mind needs to believe that it is now safe again and their body can relax - the adrenaline levels can naturally go back down to normal, their muscles can relax, and the fight or flight notion that drives your nightmares can begin to fade.
When you heal, hearing footsteps coming up behind one in a crowded shopping centre will not take you back into a nightmare state; nightmares of your accident will not stop you from driving down the highway.
RTT can help equip you with the tools you’ll need to be able to process your emotions and your issues better. With that guidance, you will find safety in your dreams. You can learn to cope or deal with the issues that need to be released. Apart from restoring the feeling of safety, you’ll be able to take back the power of recovery into your own hands, under the guiding light of Rapid Transformational Therapy.