Nightmares can be very scary experiences but a nightmare is just a particular type of dream experience where your emotions are heightened and a situation feels out of control. Although the nightmare may seem uncontrollable, you are creating it, and so you can also take steps to resolve it. The reason that you create a nightmare isn’t to scare or upset yourself but to make yourself aware that something is out of balance in your waking life. If you try to ignore this imbalance, your unconscious awareness will begin to increase the emotional content of the dream and make it apparently scarier and scarier until you start to consciously pay attention.
The most disturbing aspect of a nightmare can be the feeling that you have no control over it. You may often feel terrified as your unconscious self illuminates some of your frustrated intentions and unresolved tensions from waking life. Although this can be a nightmarish experience, you are trying to tell yourself something of vital importance and as soon as you start paying attention to this issue, the nightmare will fade. It can seem easier to avoid scary dreams but the gift of the nightmare is that it will help you to identify specific solutions to the frustrations and anxieties you may be experiencing in everyday life.
There is often a period in a nightmare where it becomes so incredibly scary that you force yourself to wake up. This is the crucial moment and your instinctive reaction is usually to remove yourself from the nightmare by wakening fully. This is the key point in dealing with the nightmare because you are so emotionally engaged with it. Instead of waking up, find the single most frightening aspect of the nightmare and confront it by asking it what it is trying to tell you. This may seem even more terrifying for a few microseconds but usually you will hear a clear and honest reply.
The answer you hear is the key to releasing the nightmare, so you can use this information to take action and resolve the tension in your waking life. Nightmares are among the most emotionally charged of dreams, and putting your answer into action may feel quite an emotional challenge. Your ability to create such powerful and emotive dream imagery, however, shows that you have the strength and power to take decisive action in your waking life. The more familiar that you become with your nightmares, the more you can influence your instincts and emotions, rather than feeling that they are controlling you.