Have well as researchers have shown that this occurrence

Have you ever had a dream that you share with friends or family, and you find out that they have had the same dream themselves? Recent studies and analysis conducted by psychologists, as well as researchers have shown that this occurrence isn’t just some crazy phenomena; rather it is a reasonable, frequent activity that the human brain experiences. This scientific process is called mutual or “common dreaming.” Common dreaming is the process of two or more people sharing the same or similar dreams. Rebecca Turner, the author of Is Mutual Dreaming Possible, categorizes these dreams into two distinct types; the first being a “meshing dream” and the other being a “meeting dream” (Turner, 2013). Turner claims that meshing dreams are the most common in that when the two people have the dream, they are then able recall certain elements of the dream as being similar, when in fact the two dreams were different by themselves. Turner emphasizes that meeting dreams are the most literal type of common dream because the two people actually dream about each other at the same time. Turner stresses that “true” common dreaming can only be possible when one learns how to lucid dream. However, it is in fact possible to share certain details of a dream with another person, either by “literally” being in the same dream together, or by sharing certain elements of the dream that are similar. The study of common dreaming is important because it provides research and information on the function of the brain. To better understand common dreaming, scientists must first understand dreaming itself. First and foremost, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Development, dreams occur during a certain stage of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. During REM sleep, the eyes start to move back and forth quickly, as well as the body entering almost a paralysis like stage in order to prevent the person from acting out the dream. The brain then sorts through information and memories, and the by product of this process becomes a dream (NIH, 2010). Scientists do not actually know what causes people to dream, or why people have certain dreams that are similar to other people; however, Ph. D. Michael J Breus, an author for Psychology Today, explores the idea that sections of our brain ranging from emotional, biological, and intellectual have some relevant responsibility for the way humans dream. Breus further explains that dreams are extremely susceptible to disruption during sleep, and this occurs because of other factors such as physical and psychological health. He adds that factors such as these may be the sole cause for nightmares (Breus, 2015). This is an interesting note to highlight because when people are asked if they have ever had a similar dream with someone else, the dream that is shared usually comes from a nightmarish, disturbing background. For example, being chased, the world ending, teeth falling out, etc. All of these occurrences seem to come from an “anxiety” like state. So if this is the case, then this research may be able to uncover information about anxiety and the way the brain reacts to it. Another interesting idea to explore is that common dreams may be able to shed light on certain psychological processes in the brain. Psychologist Ian Wallace has studied common dreams for over 35 years. During his career, Wallace has discovered at least one hundred patterns in common dreams. The most intriguing part of his research is that he has reached the conclusion that it does not matter what country the person is from nor their profession, the dream patterns remained consistent throughout (Wallace, 2016). He provides psychological explanations for common dream patterns such as being chased, being naked in public, arriving unprepared for an exam, falling and even flying. Perhaps the most fascinating explanation that Wallace composes is his interpretation of a flying dream. He provides scientific psychological explanations that shed light on common dreams like this one. He begins by stating, “When you create a dream of flying, it suggests that you feel as if you are being released from some weighty obligation in waking life. It may have been that the gravity of a particular situation was holding you back or that you had to make a decision that was weighing heavily on your mind. The removal of this burden frees you up to make your own choices and can feel very uplifting.” (Wallace, 2016). Wallace basically explains here that this dream occurs because of a task that was completed in waking life. The person is able to release the stress and burden of responsibility, and thus create a psychological sense of accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment enables the brain to create what is then known as a flying dream. In addition to Wallace’s explanation of a flying dream, he also explores in detail the common dream instance where the subject of a dream has found him/herself unclothed in public. Wallace concludes that this type of dream may occur because the person has an underlying fear of appearing vulnerable or weak to others. He suggests that this dream may occur more frequently when the person is going through significant changes in his or her life, an example of this may be a new job, a change of address, or a romantic relationship (Wallace, 2016). Wallace also delves deeper into the symbolic meaning of clothing, and how that plays a psychological role in the dream. He interprets clothing as sort of a guardian. The clothes are able to cover the body and provide a sense of comfort for that person. When a person has this sort of dream, Wallace infers that this person may be uncomfortable with certain aspects of his or her waking life. Another common dream that Wallace mentions is a dream about the subject losing their teeth. This is a dream that I am particularly interested in because my mom and I have actually had the same dream. This dream happened to me about two weeks ago (November 17th, 2017) and this was the first dream I had actually remembered in quite some time. During the dream, I found myself losing many of my permanent teeth, and then having a panic attack over the situation. My mom has also experienced something similar during one of her dreams not too long ago. She has even had this type of dream on multiple occasions. Wallace explains that this type of dream is somewhat similar to the “being naked in public” dream, because of the nature of the psychological background. This dream also has a lot to do with confidence. Wallace suggests that people will have this dream because they are recognizing their confidence in waking life. A person’s confidence begins with their impression on other people around them, and usually this starts with how people will interact with others via facial and body expressions/language. When a person smiles, they most likely will show teeth, and having a nice smile really makes a good impression on other people. When a person dreams of losing their teeth, that may suggest that he or she has a lack of confidence in some element of their daily life (Wallace, 2016). After reading about Wallace’s explanation, this dream interpretation of losing teeth makes sense for why I had this specific dream. Where I am in my life right now, I feel as if I have been lacking the confidence recently to have faith in my own abilities regarding school work. I have tried to put things off because I doubted myself and my own capability to get the work done in the best, and most efficient way possible. I have been stressed about completing assignments before finals, and I believe this dream occurred as a result of all the anxiety. Besides losing my teeth in dreams, I have also had multiple dreams about falling. Wallace goes into detail about the psychological process of this dream. He introduces this dream as a response to feelings of insufficiency occurring in daily life. He adds that these dreams seem to happen when a person feels like they cannot regulate a situation and it’s outcome (Wallace, 2016). Falling dreams can tell a lot about how a person feels about themselves, these dreams can also hold underlying answers as to why some people feel as if they are failures. Wallace further explains that falling dreams can be a result of creating unrealistic goals in waking life, and when the goals are felt as if they will not be met, the person may feel stressed and thus have a dream where they are losing control and eventually falling. This dream is a common one amongst my friends, especially those who have anxiety about finals week. Having this dream myself makes me realize that I have felt stressed about unrealistic goals set for myself before. Sometimes, it is hard to admit that I create goals for myself with impractical timelines, and I may just have to take a step back and plan ahead in a more efficient manner. Understanding the reason behind this common dream has helped me have a better sense of time management. I am now able to take a more realistic approach to assignments and daily tasks, and in turn feel less stressed overall. Overall, it may be said that common or mutual dreams occur when two people are able to match details of some aspect of their dreams. As Wallace, Turner, and Breus have all suggested, common dreams are possible, and they do hold underlying knowledge about the functions of the brain. As Wallace repeatedly stresses, dreams are a result of “universal patterns” that are fabricated while dreaming. These patterns are what people experience when they have a common dream. Scientists have yet to fully understand how dreams are created, and for what purpose; however there is conclusive evidence that suggests people experience certain dreams as a result stressors during their day-to-day lives that translate into the form of a symbolic dream. Despite the fact that some dreams are senseless, the fundamental idea of dream patterns isn’t just being able to pinpoint the pattern itself, rather it is about being able to discern the more complex dream patterns that humans create. What may seem like a minute detail in a dream, may not actually be; and there could be a much deeper symbolic meaning embedded into the overall dream (Wallace, 2016). If people are able to recognize personal dream patterns, it may shed light on to a lot of situations in that person’s life. That person then can evaluate certain parts of their life and make revisions to their day to day lives. All in all, when people are able to determine their dream patterns, they are then able to apply this to the overall view of their dreams and daily lives.