Write the Dream Down One of the characteristics of dreams is their elusive character. The specific details of the dream easily slip away after people awaken. Understanding the particular details helps to make sense of a dream which is one of the first steps in understanding the reasons or causes of the dream. A recurring nightmare or bad dream may leave a person with a sense of fear and anxiety but with an inability to pinpoint the exact nature of the fear. Keep a pen and a pad of paper on a bedside table. Jot down the general impression of the nightmare, the context and persons involved in as much specific detail as you can. Analyze the Content Interpreting and analyzing the contents of a dream helps to identify the issues that may be responsible for the dream. The content of a dream may be inspired by a contemporary event, occurrence or concern or it may be related to a childhood event or memory. Read over the description of dream that you wrote on the pad of paper and try to pinpoint topics and issues related to the dream. Freud's theory on dream interpretation suggests that the technique of free association is the best way to get at the dream. According to Freud, there are two levels of dream content, the manifest content and the latent content. Freud thought that the unconscious is expressing desires and wishes during the dream but consciousness works as a censoring mechanism that seeks to divert the true content of the dream. Free associating simply involves allowing your mind to make connections that come to your mind about the dream without prejudging if they are pertinent or not. Discovering the meanings at work in a dream is a way to stop the dream from recurring. Relaxation Techniques Although Freud thought that dreams have a specific meaning or content that is embedded in the unconscious, other dream researchers think that dreams and nightmares are simply related to brain activity and the actual dream itself doesn't have any significant psychological relevance. In other words, a recurring bad dream or nightmare may have a physiological rather than a psychological cause or determinant. Changing your eating habits, winding down and relaxing before you go to sleep, and thinking about pleasant things that you would like to dream about, may help prevent a recurring bad dream or nightmare. Make an appointment for a physical check up with your family doctor. Tell the doctor about the recurring nightmares. Share the Dream Sharing a dream with a family member or friend allows you to articulate the dream and express your fears and concerns. A friend or a family member that knows you well can serve as a good sounding board. Their external vantage point and critical ear may help them to pinpoint the connections between specific details of the dream and your personal life. Talking through the dream with another person can help you deal with the content of the dream and resolve the issues that may be causing it.