Heard on CultureShift

Explaining Your Vivid Dreams During COVID-19

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Image credit: Bruce Christianson / Unsplash

Studies have shown that major historical events like the COVID-19 global pandemic and the 9/11 terror attacks change the way people dream, making their outpourings of emotion much more vivid and memorable.

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Have your dreams been more intense and memorable over the past two months?

The reality is that dreams don’t happen to us; we happen to our dreams.” — Ian Wallace, dream specialist

You’re not alone. A recent “dream survey” conducted by an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School shows that vivid dreams are on the rise as COVID-19 has spread around the globe. You can take the survey here.

It’s not the first time a major historical event has affected our dreams. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, a study showed that more people were reporting intense, vivid dreams.


Listen: WDET listeners have their dreams analyzed live on air with dream specialist Ian Wallace


Psychologist and dream specialist Ian Wallace.Courtesy of Ian Wallace
Courtesy of Ian Wallace

Psychologist and dream specialist Ian Wallace.

Ian Wallace is a psychologist and dream specialist based in Scotland who wrote the book “The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert.”

 

Wallace says dreams are a way to “understand who we are, who we’ve been and who we can become.”

 

For centuries, we thought they were messages from the spirits,” says Wallace. “The reality is that dreams don’t happen to us; we happen to our dreams. We create everything that we experience in them. A dream is a way of updating our sense of self.”

 

Wallace says a lack of certainty about the future has created more intense, realistic dreams for many.

 

The absolute fundamental function of dreaming is to process unresolved emotions,” says Wallace. “That’s one of the reasons why our dreams seem to be a lot more vivid and a lot more memorable during this COVID-19 situation.”

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Ryan Patrick Hooper, Host, CultureShift

Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host and producer of CultureShift. As a longtime arts and culture reporter.

hooper@wdet.org Follow @hoopingtonpost

This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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