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What Does It Mean to Dream of Drowning?

Dreams of drowning can be frightening, causing us to wake from such dreams panicked and stressed. The fear of being submerged against your will can leave you breathless, rather than having the envisioned good night’s sleep you were hoping for after a long day.

Dreams of drowning meaning

Why Do We Dream of Drowning?

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1- Daily Stressors

Experts say that the stressors of daily life are what causes such dreams. These dreams imply a sense of being overwhelmed, not having time for ourselves, and a loss of control.

In dreams about drowning, water is typically a representation of the problems in someone’s waking life. Any issues that you might be facing are being projected into your dreams in the drowning scenario, implying that you’re ‘drowning’ in your life. Someone who dreams of drowning may be experiencing the emotional burden of their responsibilities, losing themselves in the process.

2- A Call for Preparation

When you dream about drowning, it calls onto your higher self to be prepared for a test that will test your emotional strength and endurance. There are things in your waking life that have undergone a fast change of pace and when you lack preparation, you will certainly drown in the pressure of the hurdles coming your way.

3- A Sense of Rebirth

On a lighter note, when a person awakens from a dream of drowning, but is comforted and filled with warmth rather than feeling distressed, the dream may indicate a sense of rebirth and regeneration. Your rebirth may take the form of a change in mindset or pacing in the activities you do in your waking life.

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4- Relationship Violence

A study conducted in 2007 found that drowning was a common dream theme among women dealing with relationship violence. This indicates that dreams about drowning are associated with stress, fear, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed.

5- Threat Rehearsal

Sometimes, dreams allow us to role play what we would do if we were in certain situations that we find worrisome. Known in the psychological field as Rehearsal Theory, this claim posits that your dreams are providing an opportunity for threat rehearsal. For example, if you have a fear of drowning or you can’t swim, your dreams may be allowing you to role play what you would do if you found yourself in such a situation.

6- Underlying Medical Conditions

Dreams about drowning may not always be about your emotions. Experts advise that if you find that you often dream about drowning and wake up gasping for air, you may have sleep apnea. In this case, it’s a good idea to get checked by a professional.

Breaking Down the Details of the Dream

Drowning dream feelings

The details of a dream are what gives us the clues to its meaning. When analyzing your dream about drowning, consider who was drowning, where it was taking place, and how you felt.

1- You Are the One Drowning

If you dream about yourself drowning, you may be struggling with negative emotions in your waking life. These emotions are often those that are linked with depression, dread, and anxiety which make you feel like you are responsible for your own misery.

2- You Avoided Drowning

If in the dream you were able to avoid drowning or managed to save yourself, it may signify that you are capable of avoiding situations that are harmful to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Being saved from drowning for example, signifies that good fortune will come to you. There is no guarantee that you won’t be able to avoid hardship, but you will come out of it triumphantly and safely.

3- You Are Drowning Someone

Dreams often do not make sense, which is why any action or intent presented in the dream must not be taken literally. Just because you killed someone in a dream doesn’t mean that you’re going to do that in real life.

There are instances where people dream of drowning someone, but it doesn’t mean that they would intentionally cause physical harm to them. Instead, it symbolizes the desire to repress deeply involved feelings for the person in question.

In your waking life, someone must have hurt you and the thought of them brings you pain and unease.

4- Dream of Dying by Drowning

It is also unsettling when you die of drowning in your dream. This may pose as a warning that you struggle with coping with your emotions and inhibitions. The dream encourages you to work hard and view life with a positive mindset as life is not always full of downs.

5- A Loved One is Drowning

When you dream of your loved ones drowning, it signifies your fear of losing them due to health-related complications or to diseases. You may be worried about someone dear to you in your waking life, thus projecting it onto your fear of seeing them drown or succumb to illness.

6- A Child is Drowning

When you dream of a child drowning or you have saved a child from drowning, it is a symbolic message that you wish to stop your inner child from facing the harsh reality of the world. It may be interpreted at times as something of great value being stolen from you and you wish to prevent the situation from ever occurring.

7- Where Were You Drowning?

Dreaming of drowning may take place in various locations that hold a deeper relation to your feelings in your subconsciousness. As water represents the overwhelming amount of emotion and the surrounding issues you may have, drowning in bodies of water also evokes this sense.

If dreaming of drowning in the ocean, it represents that you may be starting something in your life in new territory.  You may be feeling a lack of control and fear in how to succeed in this new environment. This dream can also symbolize the grief of losing someone you have relied on. Their absence in your life is taking a toll on you emotionally and psychologically that the lack of support renders you helpless in coping with day-to-day struggles.

Dreams that take place of drowning in rivers represent the incapability to perform the responsibilities we have in life and as they continue to pile on, we find it difficult to move forward.

Dreams that are related to drowning in pools are about taking charge of a particular situation or your life in order for things to change for the better. However, it can also mean that your life is as it should be and that you’re in familiar territory, within your comfort zone.

The interpretation of the dream may differ if you are alone or surrounded by numerous people. If you dreamt that you were drowning alone, you must take charge of your responsibilities in order to grow and have a positive change in your waking life. However, if you are surrounded by numerous people or a crowd who shows no interest that you are drowning, the dream warns you to have a change in lifestyle as you may be surrounded by toxic people.

8- Drowning in Food

Food represents the urge to satiate your desires and needs. It is a telltale sign of craving for something that has unsatisfied you.

When you dream of drowning in your favorite dessert like chocolate, it represents your excessive indulgence in material and physical pleasures.

Dreaming of drowning in beverages like milk represent the lack of benefits you experience despite the many opportunities that come your way. It’s wise to limit where you spend your time and efforts so that your hard work would not be in vain.

How Did You Feel in the Dream?

Often dreams about drowning can induce panic and fear, which indicates that something in your life isn’t quite right. You may be feeling rushed or panicked trying to meet deadlines or prepare for important events.

Alternatively, you could have felt calm while drowning. Many dreamers find that they can breathe underwater. This indicates a sense of overcoming challenges successfully and feeling in control over the situation. Your life might be weighing you down, but you’re able to cope and emerge confidently.

Addressing the Emotions in the Dream

If events in your life are pushing you to feel hopeless, this dread submerges you into a negative headspace that is reflected in your dreams. There is a need “to survive” or “to save” yourself or something that you hold dear, so that you won’t have to suffer the ordeal of loss and grieving.

Suppressed emotions may take the form of the things we fear the most, but we are called to communicate and express these feelings in order to feel better. Our inhibitions may be caused by a person or certain losses we have experienced.

It’s important to take a step back and breathe. We tend to be hard on ourselves and we become discouraged when things do not turn out as expected.

This dream tells you to breathe and take it easy. Life in itself is complicated, and we cannot prevent certain situations from happening. We should acknowledge the humanity within us, that we make mistakes, grieve, and suffer and having these experiences allow us to grow and be better.

Drowning is when you are submerged out of your own volition, but when you allow life to slowly settle you in water and allow you to rise and float, it is deemed a rebirth rather than the end of your own goals and desires. Remember to breathe, relax, and be gentle with yourself after a hard day and who knows? You might find yourself drifting peacefully.

What Do You Do About Dream of Drowning?

If dreams of drowning are recurring nightmares that won’t go away, it may be a sign to seek professional help. The dream may likely be related to deeper issues in your emotions and could be affecting day-to-day activities and your behavior.

The first step to healing is acknowledging that there may be something that needs to be addressed. While not all dreams can be understood, the emotions behind them may be clarified and addressed to help us grow into better people.

Wrapping Up

Dreams that involve drowning are often an indication of feeling overwhelmed in our day to day lives. These dreams are telling us to address these stressors.

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Apsara Palit
Apsara Palit

After completing her post-grad in Values, Ethics and Indian Culture, Apsara is sharing her knowledge of symbolism, mythology, history and culture through her blogs. Apsara lives in India and believes in getting a first-hand understanding of culture through travelling.