Can we all agree that our perception of our dreams is distorted when looking through a lense of fear? No one suggests that we whip up a good dose of fear before we try to see things clearly. In fact we know the opposite is true, the University of Minnesota, suggests that fear has the following impact on our brain: Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions.
So if that is true, here is my question. If fear impairs our judgement, how can we tell the difference between a real fear and an imagined one? In other words, how do we find out if there really is a boogie man in the closet?
When my 6-year-old used to come out of his room at night afraid of the boogie man, as a parent there was a simple solution. We would turn on the light. Immediately when the light came on it became clear that there was no real danger. Now if I had turned on the light and a stranger was standing in his closet, only then would we have a good case for fear. Luckily I have never encountered that to be the case because as with most of our fears, his fears were always imagined.
When facing the fears that stand between us and our dreams a quick way to "turn the light on" is to write them down. As we right them down, many of them will vanish instantly, while others may require some work to evaluate their real danger. As my brain activates to evaluate the reality of the threat, my fears transform from fears to hide from to problems to attack. I am pulled out of my paralysis and into action.
Try it! Take a minute think of your dream and then jot down what scares you. I think you'll find there is no such thing as boogie man.