A psychologist has analysed the hidden meanings behind some of the most common dreams experienced the world over – including drowning, being chased or watching your house burn down.
Ian Wallace, from the UK, has studied more than 200,000 nighttime visions for his clients and believes by exploring the recurring themes we can address some of the issues in our waking lives.
He told FEMAIL: ‘As well as being streams of vivid imagery, the dreams that we create every night are also powerful flows of emotion.
‘Creating a dream is a natural response to resolving all the emotional tensions that we encounter in our day-to-day lives.
‘The dreams that we tend to remember are the ones that are usually most emotive for us.’
So does dreaming that your partner is having an affair spell the end for your romance or imagining yourself pregnant mean you have a baby on the way?
Ian explains the meaning behind some of the most common dreams.
1. BEING CHASED
This is the most common dream from all around the world, regardless of country, creed or culture. When you create a dream of being chased, you are encountering some frustration or challenge to your pursuit of a particular fulfillment in your waking life.
Being chased by an animal indicates there is an instinctive impulse that you are finding hard to contain in waking life. When a monster is pursuing you, it reflects that you have a raw and powerful talent but are finding it challenging to evolve and refine it.
If a man, woman or a gang is chasing you, then you have the opportunity to assert a particular talent but may be running away from some of the responsibilities involved in displaying your abilities.
Although they seem scary, your pursuers are actually bringing your attention to unrealised powers and talents in your pursuit of fulfillment.
2. HOUSE BEING ON FIRE OR FLOODED
When you dream of a burning house, it often indicates the potential for a major creative transformation in your waking life. This burning house dream is illuminating your need to take some creative action in order to transform your current situation. No matter how fired up you may be, however, you are finding it difficult to direct your energies towards a constructive outcome.
When you dream that your house is flooding, or that water is running down the walls due to a leaky roof, there is a situation in your waking life where you feel that the levels of emotion that you are experiencing are somehow threatening your identity as an individual and how secure you feel in yourself.
Although a flood may seem to be a natural phenomenon that you have no control over, you will have been aware that these potentially overwhelming emotions have been building up for some time now.
Dreaming that you are drowning suggests that there is a situation in your waking life where you are becoming deeply involved emotionally and possibly being overcome by your feelings.
As you sink down into the water it indicates that you are immersing yourself in your feelings and responding to what you experience at a purely emotional level.
Your head slipping under the water symbolises your thoughts are being overwhelmed while being unable to breathe signifies that you can’t put your feelings into words.
Being unable to touch the bottom means you feel out of your depth and struggle to stand up for yourself.
4. PARTNER CHEATING
This has nothing to do with your partner possibly being unfaithful in waking life. Dreaming that your partner is being unfaithful is usually triggered when you begin to lose faith in your own sexiness and attractiveness in day-to-day life.
Although it can be tempting to think that your partner has been spending intimate time with someone else, this dream often reflects that you are losing touch with some of your fundamental needs, making you feel less attractive than usual.
5. TERRORIST ATTACKS
This is particularly prevalent in high-pressure working situations that require immediate responses to unexpected developments. A dream of a terrorist attack suggests that you have become involved with a group of people in waking life that seem to be making sudden and unreasonable demands on your time and resources.
Although you feel a loyalty towards this group, you also feel they often force you into doing things that you would rather not do. The fundamental elements of terrorist attacks are surprise and shock and, in your waking life, you can often be surprised and shocked by the demands being placed on you.
This may cause you to feel that you are simply being held hostage to other people’s whims and beliefs, and that they can simply decide to end their relationship with you at any time they choose.
Rather than feeling helpless, dreaming of a terrorist attack indicates that you have the opportunity in waking life to courageously step into your true power, by staying as calm as possible, so that you can make healthy and transformative choices.
6. FINDING OUT YOU ARE PREGNANT
This usually reflects a protracted period of waiting in the completion of a project or plan in your waking life. This gestation period suggests you have been developing a plan, which is about to be born into practical reality, and the dream is showing you the need to be patient and to provide adequate resources for the successful birth of the project.
The message from this dream is that you are about to create something wonderful but you need to take it easy and just allow things to progress at a natural pace.
7. MISSING OR SHOWING UP LATE TO AN IMPORTANT EVENT
This indicates that you are starting to feel that you are about to lose the opportunity to experience some sort of fulfillment in your waking life.
The appointment or deadline in the dream is often a timetable that you have set in day-to-day life to achieve a specific ambition, such as starting a family or reaching a professional qualification. You realise that time is running out if you want to accomplish this goal.
The timely message from this dream is about committing to meaningful action rather than just involving yourself in busy and meaningless activity.
Ian Wallace is the author of ‘The Top 100 Dreams: The Dreams That We All Have And What They Really Mean’ and ‘The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert’