Types of dreams
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Types of dreams

Many people think of a fantasy as something sexualan imagined encounter with an acquaintance, famous person, or even a stranger. Still others think of a fantasy as akin to a fairy tale, the stuff of unicorns and witches and princesses in towers. But as a psychological term, fantasy means anything your mind conjures up while awake. The fantasy may be a response to a real situation: Your new boyfriend cancels plans with you and your fantasy is that he has met someone else and is going out with her instead. Or it may be a daydream or "waking dream": You are awake, and as your mind begins to wander, you lose yourself in an imagined scenario such as winning an award, saving the president's life, or attacking your former girlfriend and her date. The content of fantasy or daydream is unrestricted, and can be positive or negative. It is like a dream in that you follow your imagination where it takes you, rather than guiding the images as you would in normal waking thought. Research shows an inclination to daydreaming or fantasy for a period of 70 to 120 minutes during the waking day, but it differs from a dream in that you are in a waking state rather than a sleeping state while it occurs. Another kind of waking dream that is more consciously self-directed can be called a visioning dream. Phyllis Koch-Sheras and her husband, Peter Sheras, coined this term in The Dream Sharing Sourcebook to describe a dream "built on the foundation of your own actual experience," as opposed to a night dream or daydream, which may be random, or without any basis in reality. A visioning dream is similar to an affirmation or visualization consciously constructed to depict your future based on achieving certain personal goals. These kinds of dreams can be particularly powerful when created and shared with others. For example, a newly married couple may design a visioning dream for themselves that is more concrete and inspiring than "happily ever after" by stating and visualizing themselves as having an open, loving relationship, sharing feelings, and creating a comfortable home together. More information on working on visioning and other dreams together. Though we usually do not tend to analyze our waking dreams or fantasies, it is possible to apply the same principles of dream-work to this kind of dream and discover more about our conscious and unconscious selves. Whether it be your own daydream or a "guided fantasy", you have the opportunity to participate directly in your waking dream by engaging with the characters and themes as they develop. What may seem like a mundane or meaningless act in your fantasy has dream content of its own and can spark powerful insights if you pay attention to it. So, while you may be tempted to dismiss your daydreams as inconsequential, let yourself appreciate and work with them as with any other dream.

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