All dreams are not created equal. While a bad dream will give a scare or make a temple cat anxious, a nachtmerrie (in Dutch) will cause one to immediately wake up from a nap usually at the climax of fear. “The word “nightmare” is derived from the Old English “mare”, a mythological demon or goblin who torments others with frightening dreams. Subsequently, the prefix “night-” was added to stress the dream aspect.”1
A common experience found among most of the population at one time or another, it is more chronic for children who can start having nightmares at age 2 and peak around 6 years old.
Jackson (the temple dog ) who recently turned three, has a lot in common with children and seems to be in the midst of an intense cycle of dreaming. Nightly he can be seen pedaling his feet in his sleep accompanied by short frantic yips. Is he running after Mr. Jackrabbit or has he gotten lost in a series of Blue Dog paintings and found himself in Washington DC?
Xena claims to have a recurring nightmare about fat orange cats showing up in various paintings. Odds are that it’s not random – there’s probably symbolism in her dream related to something that she is struggling with in her life. Image reversal therapy is suggested to rewrite bad dreams replacing them with something more pleasant. Visualize the new narrative and be confident that the new dream will trump the old.
How to prevent nightmares from occurring?
Common folk wisdom has suggested to avoid nighttime snacks (i.e. Friskies Ocean fish in cheese sauce) and cut down on wine and the bedtime toddy. Keep good smells wafting through your bedroom like flowers and essential oil in an atomizer. Put on a nature sound CD and fall asleep to the calming sounds of humming bees, chirping crickets or peeping baby birds ready to fall out of nest.