Night Anxiety

How to transcend nightmares
For kids and grown-ups

Mar 24th 2023, by Iveta Finn

Dealing with scary nightmares

 

Transcending a scary nightmare can be a very powerful experience for a grown-up as well as a child. Scary dreams do not come out of nowhere. They are an expression of our subconscious mind processing something we are facing in our life. The content of the nightmare might be completely irrelevant, but the feelings or some concepts are being integrated in your system during the time of dreaming.

If your child has a nightmare, after they calm down (or the next day), ask them: “Where did you see this?” or “How did it come to your head?”. Your child will share some incidents, worries or report about seeing this scene for instance on TV. It’s important to act on this – eliminate similar experiences to protect your child, and help them process what happened.

If you have a nightmare, you can contemplate, whether it’s connected to something in your life you are going through. But you do not need to know. If you needed to know, your mind would have supplied you with that information. It will be enough to transcend the fear. And below are the exact steps:

 

6 steps to transcend a nightmare

  1. soothe
  2. acknowledge how scary that was
  3. take charge
  4. new outcome
  5. transcend
  6. sleep

 

Practical example

Your daughter wakes up with a scream. She’s had a nightmare, and now she is upset, coming to you. 

  1. Soothe: offer your daughter physical comfort – hug, kiss, stroking. Ask: “Are you ok?”.  Do not ask her to tell you the details at first, if she doesn’t share spontaneously. Sometimes, just your proximity is enough for your child to feel safe and go back to sleep. However, when we are dealing with a scary nightmare, your child may say something like: “I am scared to close my eyes! It will come back!”. We all know the feeling, don’t we?
  2. That is a good time to ask what happened in the dream. “I was chased by a blood snake, I was running, but it caught up and bit me!” explains your daughter. “Wow. That is scary, indeed!” you acknowledge her fear and hold her, to provide further feeling of safety. You can say “you are safe now”. At this stage, it is good to ask, whether she wants help.
  3. “Would you like to know, what you can do to make it go away? I do that too.”
    “Yes” (taking charge)
  4. “You know, this is YOUR dream. You are the boss here and you can decide, how it all turns out. So when you close your eyes, and the snake bites you again, imagine, that it’s a special magical bite, that gives you superpowers! Anything can happen in a dream, right? So maybe the bite gives you the power to fly or to change into a mermaid… you choose.” (new outcome)
  5. It might be, that now, that you made the nightmare playful, the child has transcended the fear instantly, and it won’t come back. Or it will, and she will do it in the dream.
  6. Peaceful sleep returns.

This process works for grown-ups as well as kids from around the age of 5. One morning, after transcending her first nightmare, my daughter came running to me: “Mommy!!! The magic really works! It never came back.”

the blog

 

By taking control of your anxiety, you can reclaim your peace of mind and live an active and fulfilling life.