Trying to sleep when you’re under pressure can go one of two different ways. You either collapse into a subconscious husk due to sheer exhaustion or lie there, restless, tossing and turning waiting for dawn to break so you can get back to work.
We have a solution for the latter but you’d think that once you drop off the stress would disappear, even if it’s only for six hours. Unfortunately that belief would deny anxiety the credit it deserves for being an all-suffusing beast.
Stress and anxiety can manifest themselves in the form of dreams, and quite vividly too. The Independent consulted psychologist, Dr. Michael Lennox about the most common stress dreams and what they mean.
1. Getting fired
Probably the most common type of dream for those plagued with the pressure of underachieving. While the dreams might not reflect how capable you actually are, Lennox says that they work as preparation in the event it actually happens, you’ll be prepared to deal with it.
Some dreams aren’t all about conflict and skeleton-warriors (mine mostly are), some work dreams consist of just being present in your office space. Lennox insists that it’s because your work stress is so great that “you’re processing it in your sleep”
3. Nude in the workplace
They say to imagine your interviewers naked if you’re nervous but this is taking the Mick. Some dreams involve being naked in the workplace and are the perfect representation of ‘impostor syndrome’. This involves not feeling adequate for the position you’re having because if people see your true self, they’ll realise you’re a fraud.
4. Making a murderer
We’ve all fantasised about killing our bosses so don’t worry about it, Lennox says that’s it’s simply a manifestation of feeling disempowered at work. You’re driven by the same mechanics that keep Batman clearing the streets of Gotham, an ideal of justice.
5. Riding a lift
In dreams, riding a lift “symbolizes the transition between different modes of thinking, Lennox says. So it could potentially indicate that you feel unimaginative or uninspired if you’ve been tasked with generating ideas for a project.”
6. Searching for a new job
If you’re currently unemployed, there’s a simple solution to these kind of dreams. However, if you’re settled in your career, these dreams can be indicative of a desire to expand your experiences or make use of your full abilities at the job you’re currently doing.