Dreaming allows us to get a glimpse into our subconscious. Our minds use images from our daily lives to communicate to us symbolically; and situations and emotions in our dreams are directly linked to our mental, emotional and physical health.

How do we know what our dreams are telling us?

Here are five common dream themes identified by psychologists and dream experts and what they could be telling us:


According to Russell Grant, author of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary, dreaming of falling is symbol of fear in real life – possibly of failure at work or in a relationship. Falling expresses the need to let go and enjoy ourselves more.

Another interpretation of falling dreams relate to our anxieties about letting go and losing control, and potentially failing after a success. Falling uncontrollably from a great height could indicate that something in our lives is spiraling out of control and we are feeling overwhelmed. 

Slow falling, on the other hand, could represent a state of serenity and the actual act of letting go.

Being chased

Dreaming of being chased could be telling us we are in denial of, or avoiding an issue in our waking lives that needs to be addressed.

Tony Crisp, author of Dream Dictionary, suggests that dreaming of being chased indicates a desire to escape from our fears or desires. The key to understanding what such a dream might mean depends on who is chasing you.

  • An animal chasing us may be a sign that we are hiding from our passions and emotions.
  • A mysterious, unknown pursuer might represent a childhood experience or past trauma.
  • Being chased by someone of the opposite sex could be revealing a fear of love or a past relationship. 

If we are doing the chasing, we may be wanting to overcome a fear or obstacle in our present lives.

Being naked

According to dream expert Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life!, dreaming of being naked could be an indicator of emotional or psychological exposure or vulnerability. Psychologist Ian Wallace claims that this dream is common to people who have accepted a promotion, started a new job, or who are suddenly coming into public view.

You could be feeling insecure and afraid of others seeing your imperfections and shortcomings, possibly with a negative body image. In this case, the message in the dream is to stop trying to cover up and accept who you are.

Schools or taking a test

Dreaming about being in school and taking a test could indicate a need to know and understand ourselves. The “lesson” or “test” challenging us often represents something we need to learn from our past. Loewenberg believes there is a link between the school in dreams and job stress. She suggests that if we are worried about the school bell ringing in the dream, we may be feeling that time is running out in our careers and we may have to look for another job or find a way to make our current jobs more meaningful.

Dreams where we are experiencing challenges taking a test could signify that we are lacking support, information or resources to complete a project or move forward with a personal or professional goal. Dreaming of failing an exam, or being late or unprepared for one reveals an underlying fear of failure.


Dreaming of flying signifies the amount of control we feel we have in our lives, and how confident we are feeling about achieving those goals. High flying could indicate feelings of freedom and independence, whereas flying close to the ground near obstacles could indicate a desire to flee or escape the challenges in life.

Loewenberg believes that dreaming of flying is encouraging us to let go of issues. She claims the dream empowers us to be inspired and rise above and break free from the challenges in life.