Dream On: Why Do Recurring Dreams Happen?

Dreams, especially for those who remember them, play a large role in our lives. They can be so vivid and feel so real that waking up to this reality can feel odd, almost as if our dream worlds are just as real as our waking world. Dreams have the potential to affect our waking moods and cause introspection and deep thought, especially when certain dreams seem to appear again and again.

What do they mean?

Some people may not be plagued by this question, of course. For many, dreams seem to be nothing more than a surreal reimagining of the events and thoughts of the recent past. Chances are that if you’re reading this, however, you question the meaning behind these dreams – especially the ones that just won’t seem to go away.

Recurring dreams can feel like a blessing or a curse, depending on their content. Sure, if you dream every night about living a luxurious life on your own private island, you’re probably not bothered by it – in fact, this would be a wonderful way to spend your sleeping hours. But due to the nature and origins of recurring dreams – which will be explained shortly – they are often representative of unresolved issues and feelings and typically manifest in more negative ways when we drift off into dreamland.

What Are Recurring Dreams, Exactly?

Recurring dreams are those separate dreams that contain a similar theme over a consistent period of time. The specific details may shift, the colors and characters might change, but the overall subject matter remains the same. They may seem nonsensical or you might understand what’s going on – everyone’s reaction to these dreams are bound to be different.

But one factor remains the same: Recurring dreams seem to linger in our waking thoughts more intensely than other dreams.

Why Do Recurring Dreams Happen?

Some psychologists believe that dreams act as a bridge between our conscious and subconscious selves. This connection can be extremely instrumental in providing resolutions for lingering psychological or emotional issues, whether they’re related to dysfunctional relationships, loss or abandonment or issues with self-esteem and beyond.

Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed that recurrent dreams represent our unfulfilled desires, while his Swiss counterpart, Carl Jung, said of recurring dreams:

“When a dream recurs so frequently, I usually refrain from searching for specific motives. Moreover, I quite generally take the view that… it can’t be traced back to a singular frightening experience; I try to understand it in the context of its present meaning. For what lives and takes effect today is also recreated today, again and again.”

While it may be tempting to pinpoint the exact origin or even that inspires this dream, but that might prove emotionally exhausting or unnecessary. Your intuition can be one of the most useful assets when attempting to glean the meaning behind these recurring dreams or why they happen, because dreams are so inherently and intensely personal. It is nearly impossible for anyone to assert the ultimate meaning of recurring dreams, and there is likely some truth behind the claims of each psychoanalyst or psychologist that attempts to do so.

Part of the process of discovering the meanings and reasons behind your recurring dreams is attuning yourself to your intuition and listening to what the whispers of your spirit are trying to tell you.

Common Recurring Dreams & Their Potential Meanings


Dreaming of falling is a very common dream for many people. These dreams typically represent certain fears or anxieties, or a general sense of feeling out-of-control. Recurring dreams of falling can also indicate subconscious feelings of failure in some area of life.

Being Naked in Public

Have you ever dreamt that you’re in school or at work, surrounded by people, and fully nude? This dream seems to be one of the most ubiquitous dreams out there, and while it may seem like a funny concept while you’re awake, it can feel terrifying and embarrassing during your dream state. This common dream correlates with feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. It can also represent a push toward openness, perhaps with yourself or with others.

Being Chased

This recurring dream can feel more like a nightmare or even a night terror. While this dream is tied to anxiety, it is a specific kind of anxiety – the kind you experience when you have a deadline looming and you haven’t started your project. Being chased in your dreams represents an issue or issues that need your attention in real life, but which you are neglecting.


Dreams of dying or being close to death are horrifying when they’re happening, however, their underlying meaning is lighter and more benevolent than it may seem. In dreams, death typically represents change – either current or upcoming. Perhaps you sense subconsciously that things are about to transition for the better, but your conscious mind seems to ignore the upcoming positive changes. This dream might be urging you to look forward to the things ahead.

Digging Deep Into Your Dreams

There are many useful tools that can help you understand, recall and even control your dreams, such as dream journals and encyclopedias – check out our dream dictionary right here! A dream journal can be made out of any notebook or journal you like – simply write as much as you can remember of your dream as soon as you wake up. (The more you move around and become alert, the more the dream tends to fade away). As time goes on, this habit will become second nature and even help you remember your dreams more clearly.

A dream encyclopedia describes the meanings behind common and some uncommon dreamy themes. As you remember more of your dreams and learn about their meanings, and by tapping into your intuition, you’ll begin to understand what your sleeping spirit is trying to tell you.

No matter how you initially begin the project of digging deep into your recurring dream’s meanings, just remember not to ignore them. They are trying to tell you something, and simply rejecting their message will not make them go away.

Center yourself and learn to listen to the messages of your recurring dreams; the advice within might be exactly what you need to hear.

Related Article: Dream Interpretation: Enhance Recall & Decipher Key Themes

About The Author

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle is a nomadic Sagittarius with a passion for writing and trying to help others grow. She’s studied astrology for about 10 years, and has been writing about metaphysical, spiritual, and esoteric subjects for 3 years. Rhiannon lives in the mountains of Colorado, and loves drinking coffee and spending time with her coloring books.
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