Karen Turner PHD | Nightmares
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By Boomeryearbook.com

At one time or another everyone has had a nightmare. While more common in children, adults also experience these petrifying dreams. When they do occur, they are a terrifying experience. You know the feeling—you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding and your mind racing. You are scared, but you may not know of what. Dreams tend to fade so fast from your memory and conscious mind that you may not even be aware of what just scared you half to death.

However children tend to have much more recall of what they were dreaming about and are extremely susceptible to nightmares. Their little minds are easily influenced as they grow and begin to develop their own set of fears. That is why children should be shielded from watching any scary movies or anything particularly violent on television. What adults may perceive as simply a harmless ghost story with a good old fashioned “fun fright”, children, especially younger children, tend to perceive TV stories as real and thus can confuse fiction and reality.

Moreover, not all nightmares are strictly irrational or fantasy based as some children and adults have valid underlying “reality based” nightmares. Anyone that has been traumatized in some way or is under extreme stress may experience nightmares. The loss of a loved one may cause nightmares particularly if the death was unexpected. Also, experiencing physical abuse or witnessing physical abuse and violence may cause nightmares, and war veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome are frequently plagued by recurring daytime flashbacks as well as nightmares that replay scenes from their horrific experiences.

Although nightmares can never fully be prevented, there are techniques for preventing them from occurring on a regular basis. The first step is to establish a regular sleep routine. Obviously, if you or your children tend to have nightmares after scary movies or books you should not watch or read these things right before bed. You can also minimize how often a child’s nightmare occurs by taking steps to reassure him or her that the family is close by. Using night lights and leaving the door open is a good way to accomplish this, along with following a regular bedtime routine. Perhaps a pleasant bedtime story along with a hug and kiss can be part of this routine. If it is a recurring nightmare, there are probably deeper underlying causes such as the ones mentioned above. Take time to figure out what might be disrupting the child’s life of if he or she has experienced any kind of trauma.

Remember nightmares are normal and will occasionally occur. So far researchers have not been able to prevent them and we at Boomer Yearbook want to offer the suggestion that maybe they shouldn’t be prevented; as a nightmare is really a call from your unconscious to a daytime situation that urgently needs to be addressed. So if you are troubled by a nightmare why not try to take control and “lucid dream”? Confront the troubling image? For instance if you are being chased in a nightmare, take control and say to your chaser, STOP! I will not allow you to frighten me. Or ask your chaser, Who are you? What do you want? You’ll be surprised at what you may discover about yourself and what your subconscious wants you to know.

Do you have a strategy to deal with nightmares? Why not share it with other dreaming friends at Boomeryearbook?

Dr. Karen Turner, a clinical psychologist, has created a social network for baby boomers interested in meeting and connecting with generational peers. Boomer Yearbook focuses on joining boomers from around the world and providing us with fun, integrative and interactive features that can optimize our social and emotional wellness. In these days of increasing stress, it is vital to keep our brains active and alert. As a psychologist, Dr. Karen’s goal is to provide free challenging brain games, informational newsletters on life, and professional coaching, boomer relevant forums, the latest news on cosmetic surgery and skin enhancements, and health & wellness features that may maximize our learning and functioning.

So if you’re a baby boomer searching for people with similar time specific memories or maybe just a person who’s fond of staring at optical illusions, playing psychological games and pondering upon the mysteries of the human brain, Boomer Yearbook is the social network for you.

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