Dreaming LifeDreaming Life

Dreams about disasters - earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, plane crashes or nuclear bombs - can be intense and emotionally draining.

Disaster dreams often express fears about things in your life that you believe are beyond your control. You may dream about a catastrophe when you are experiencing a big change in your life. Your dream will reflect your fears of what the future might bring. Ultimately, however, this change could be beneficial to you, so you should not take a disaster dream as a sign that things will go wrong.

A dream about a disaster that involves a large number of people being injured or killed can reflect your experience with a group of people in waking life. For example, if you dream about a bus crash that takes place far from home, you may be feeling distant from some of the people in your community. The dream could be a sign that is time to seek new friends.

Do Disaster Dreams Foretell the Future?

When someone dreams about a catastrophe, they often worry that their dream foretells a real disaster that is about to happen. When you awaken from such a dream, you may immediately worry about your own safety or the safety of your loved ones. Be assured that it is unlikely that your dream will become reality.

If you live in an area that is already prone to catastrophe - for example, if you live in an earthquake or a flood zone, or if you live in a city that terrorists have targeted before - your dreams may reflect your fears about such a disaster happening in your waking life. These dreams may serve a positive purpose by reminding you to prepare yourself for such a disaster when you are awake.

Media coverage of disasters, and the climate of fear that they create, may also cause you to have nightmares about such events.

disaster dream meanings

What About People Who Have Predicted Disasters in their Dreams?

After a disaster occurs in waking life, some people will claim that they predicted the disaster in their dreams before it happened. However, these claims often reflect confirmation bias - a type of thinking in which you pay attention to the facts that confirm your beliefs but ignore the facts that contradict them.

For example, someone may dream about a plane crash that takes place in Europe in the summer and in which no one is injured. Months later, they hear about a plane crash in South America in winter in which many people were killed. All they will remember is that they dreamt of a plane crash.

They may also have forgotten when they had the dream, and believe that they had the dream just before the event happened in real life.

In addition, these people may not have a good understanding of how often these events occur. What is the likelihood that in the next few months, there will be a news report about a plane crash having happened somewhere in the world?

Disaster Dreams and Traumatic Experiences in Waking Life

It is common for people who have had traumatic experiences to relive these experiences in their dreams.

In the 1980s and 1990s, researchers Ernest Hartmann and C. Brooks Brenneis found that most people who have experienced a trauma tend to go through a stage, which lasts for a few days or weeks, in which they repeatedly have nightmares in which the trauma occurs almost exactly as it did in waking life. As time goes on, their dreams become modified so that they combine the traumatic experience with other dream elements. After a few weeks or months, their dreams return to normal.

However, this does not happen for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. They continue to relive the traumatic event in their dreams for years.

If you have lived through a disaster, it would be natural for the disaster to happen again in your dreams. However, if you continue to relive this event in your dreams for months after it happened in waking life, or if your dreams cause you enough anxiety to have a negative effect on your waking life, you should seek the help of a professional.