The importance of dreaming.
Photographed in Iceland, editing inspired by dreams.
What would you do if everything was possible/who would you be if you could be anyone?
We all asked ourselves those questions a few times in our lives by now, right? And we most likely heard people say 'you shouldn’t think about that ‘cause it makes you unhappy, makes you feel like your own life is not good enough' just as often. I claim the opposite. I dare to say: go for it!
Dreaming is such an amazing thing as is opens your mind, gives you a certain kind of freedom, keeps your fantasy alive and most importantly: it makes you happier - at least that's what I experienced. Reality can be harsh sometimes so why not go someplace else every now and then, jump into another life for a while and make it one hell of a trip? Even if the adventure itself isn’t real your feelings very well are and isn’t that what life is all about? Feelings? I mean, what about that subconsciousness everyone is talking about? Which you can apparently influence so greatly and positively by having only positive thoughts. I read a lot of guides about getting rid of negative thinking because I had a phase when I got sucked into the spiral of negativity pretty badly. So I read and read and read and they basically all said the same: write down positive stuff and read it out to yourself every single day, if you notice you have a bad thought turn it into a positive one – so I did and it felt nothing but wrong and totally stupid. I quit. The reading. The notes. There had to be another way for me so I started looking for the reason I ended up on the one way road of unhappiness, in the first place. I dug deep and concentrated on what had been different back when I was happier person. At some point it hit me: I stopped being happy when I stopped dreaming my life away.
When I was younger it was such a big part of my life - to dream about everything and nothing. Every evening I turned on my fav' music and got lost in my thoughts. Why did I stop? I guess adulthood happened. Suddenly I had to make big decisions, faced great challenges, started a job and even if I was self employed, which meant a lot of freedom and even what I was doing was kind of creative - said job still came with a lot of additions and responsibilities which in the end killed my dreaming habits. Another reason was the smartphone, oh yes, this little thing was distracting me a lot. And I let it. Of course, all of this was a long process and didn’t happen from one day to another – but that's exactly why it took me so long to realize what exactly it was I lost over the years. The missing piece. When I finally did a theory popped into my mind: why not dream yourself into a perfect life to create positive feelings - instead of repeating the same sentences over and over again while feeling stupid and not even better afterwards? I started including some ‘dream time’ into my every day routine. Whenever I felt like it I took some time off and went somewhere else / was being someone else – and it actually helped me, it changed a lot.
Whenever I am afraid of something in real life, I dream myself into the exact situation that frightens me but in my dream I am a person that already knows the answers to the problem or is not scared of it, at all. If I have a bad encounter in reality then I dream it into a positive one. If I envy someone for their lives, I imagine how it would be walking in their shoes. Since I re-started daydreaming I also go back to that forest I used to take long walks through in my dreams when I was younger. It lies hidden in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains and there is a small lake with a waterfall right in the middle. It was my safe place whenever I wanted to be somewhere else, felt insecure or scared, unhappy or indecisive. When I went back for the first time after all those years everything still was the same – how it looked and the way it made me feel; like a different person, living a different life. Fearless, free, being one with nature, dancing under the moon and stars. It makes me smile only writing about it.
Most important with that 'dreaming thing' is not just creating those pictures in your head but to actually feel them, as well. Open your heart and let the feelings in. If they make you smile, smile, if they make you cry out of happiness, cry, if they make you laugh out loud, laugh.
I admit it sounds a bit like just turning bad thoughts into positive ones (which I was criticizing before) but it is so much more than that. It is not about saying to yourself ‘this is good’ even though you actually think it is bad. It is about creating an alternative experience, something you feel comfortable with without lying to yourself or pretending. Sure, it is not real but as I said before the feelings you will develop very much are. The only thing you have to be careful with is not losing yourself in another, made up life. But other than that dreaming is one of the most incredible things we as humans are capable of doing. It makes us braver, it makes us more fierce, it teaches us about ourselves, about our happy places, those we feel save at and the things we want most in life.
So why limit your life to reality when there is so much more, even though it is only in your head? Give it a try. Listen to what your heart is telling you, go find inspiration within you, put your electronic devices away (unless it is to listen to music ;)), close your eyes or don’t, start imagining, be someone else, be somewhere else, breathe, live. And maybe that dream you have isn't so far away from reality, after all and who knows - might give you that last little push you needed to give it a try. Even if it isn't possible to make all of your wildest (day)dreams come to life, analyze them, what are they telling you? What makes you happy? How do you overcome your anxiety in them? Use them to change your very own and very real life for the better. Life is unpredictable and you never know where it might lead you. Be brave, trust yourself and dare to dream away.
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