You Can Use Your Dreams To Understand and Cope With Your Environment

Going to Spain and Portugal two years ago was relaxing. The environment was peaceful.

That’s not to say those two countries are peaceful all the time. Going back in their history, the Spanish Civil War was anything but. Neither was the Reconquista! That’s not to say they don’t have their own problems; every place does. It’s part of life.

It’s just that, for me, it was a break from hearing about all the division, the differences of opinions that were going on among Americans at the time and the hard time I was having at work on a daily basis.

Both Spain and Portugal have their own affairs, and I’m neither Spanish nor Portuguese. I’m an American. I have no stake in it.

When I went, I, along with everyone else in emergency services, was regularly dealing with the effects of the coronavirus. For me, in my corner of health care, these were the top four effects.

  • The fear of the patients I encountered.
  • Trying to transfer critically ill patients to facilities that were already full of other critically ill patients.
  • Trying to take care of critically ill patients in a facility that often didn’t offer all the services they needed.
  • Spending hours in isolation gowns, masks, completely gloved up.

In Spain and Portugal as a tourist, it was a much-needed break.

And it was markedly more peaceful in every way.

What is an environment?

The environment is both a place and the emotions of the others in that place. You interact with those emotions and become one with the place and the others, even if you’re not really “one.” You feel like you are.

You don’t have to travel across the Atlantic or any other big body of water to get that perspective.

All you have to do is dream.

For best results, however, you need to dwell in the Dreamland for a bit.

By doing so, it makes it more real.

Why dreaming is a break from a debilitating environment

Environments can be challenging in a lot of different ways.

During the COVID epidemic, my environment was physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. It was that way throughout health care. Many people have consequently left bedside nursing, either by quitting nursing altogether or by simply leaving the bedside. I can’t say I blame them. There are many easier ways to make a living.

a dump
A bad environment can be compared to a dump.

Whatever the reason that you find your personal environment challenging, getting a break from it helps you withstand its challenges all the better.

To understand how dreaming can be a break from an environment that can tear you down, it’s helpful to consider how analgesics work.

Your body has natural pain-relieving compounds. The central nervous system has receptors for these compounds. The compound can sit in the pathway and block the transmission of the pain message.

An electron-microscope photo of a neuron receptor.

When you take a painkiller (morphine, hydromorphone, or something like that) the medicine has compounds that mimick those natural compounds. They sit in those pathways, for a time, diminishing the pain.

Sometimes it’s enough to make the pain go away for a long time, provided that what’s causing the pain lessens.

It’s the same way when you’re dealing with a debilitating environment.

A break in Dreamland lets you get your mind off your pain, think about something else, or adapt positively to the stress.

Dreaming can be that vacation when vacationing is impossible.

Other breaks from a debilitating environment

A lot of alcohol and drug use comes down to an attempt to get a break from stress.

You don’t have to use those substances to get that break.

Dreaming, Dream Focus, exercise, pursuing a hobby, gives you an out.

Then, when you can do it, a vacation (doesn’t have to be Spain or Portugal) can help as well.

Also on the blog:

The Ability To Compartamentalize Is A Skill You Need

Take Your Life’s Temperature With Your Dream Journal

Here Are 5 Alternate “Bracelets” To Help You Remember Your Dreams

John 15 Tells You Why You Need To Say Your Bedtime Prayers


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 


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