Isobel hadn’t slept in her room for a while. She was too afraid of waking up terrified and alone. She’d had repetitive nightmares of being chased.

So we played a game.

First of all, in her mind, she made the large scary person who had been chasing her much smaller than herself. Then she changed how he looked in other ways. She gave him green hair and a big red nose. She put a hat on his head with a daisy on a wire that bounced in front of his nose and made him go cross-eyed. She gave him huge purple clown shoes and a bright yellow and blue jacket. His trousers were orange. She gave him a pink scratchy scarf and had him wear rainbow striped gloves.

At some point while she was creating this colourful image in her mind she began to giggle, but the game wasn’t over yet.

Next, she imagined she was being chased by him. She stopped suddenly and turned around. Standing in front of her was the brightly dressed little person. She pointed a magic wand at him and he became even smaller – far too small to be able to chase her.

She told him loudly to never chase her again. He replied in a whisper and promised he would go away.

Isobel lifted him into the basket of a balloon and watched as the balloon, basket and tiny person floated away, getting smaller and smaller until they disappeared.

Afterwards, she was thrilled that she had been able to change her nightmare. In the future she will be able to play away other nightmares in her mind; simply by making the “issues” funny, small, sing, dance, float away or sink to the bottom of the ocean.

I understand that Isobel is sleeping in her own room again.

During sleep, our bodies relax and heal and our minds process events and emotions from the day. Our dreams can release issues or bring them to our attention. Occasionally we remember our dreams or nightmares. More often than not, we forget them entirely. Sometimes we are left with a lingering feeling, such as fear, that we can’t understand or get rid of.

When we remember our dreams we may discover that a dream of a wedding followed watching a romantic movie; finding ourselves naked in a crowded elevator followed or preceded a gruelling interview; or we were chased by a scary person when, in reality, we were afraid of something or someone we are unable to avoid in our daily life. Of course, we can put other interpretations to our dreams and nightmares, and eventually we may need to dig deeper, but often it is good to take a simple fun route first.

As adults, just before sleep, we can play similar games in our minds with our nightmares, fears or worries. The chances are that we will sleep much better if we do.

Wishing you sweet dreams and sound sleep.

With love,
Gillian.

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