Kathryn Lindsay
November 15, 2014 9:10 am

A bad dream can lead to an even worse day. As a kid, my nightmares consisted of creepy forests and monsters. Now, I’ll wake up in terror because I dreamt I got in an argument with someone I love, or that a person I’m close with did something horrible to me. And even though you wake up and realize that it didn’t actually happen, it’s hard to shake that feeling of sadness or betrayal for the rest of the day.

I like to call this “residual dream anger.” It’s the thing you feel when you see the person from your dream and your gut reaction is to cry or scream at them. No matter how many times you tell yourself it was just a dream, you can’t help but feel hurt by what they did to you in your subconscious.

Obviously, it’s unfair to hold this against them, and as much as you want to, you can’t fast forward through another night of sleep so the feeling will go away. You have to face the day–and here’s how.

Your alarm goes off and you’re pulled back into the real world. You’re probably not feeling too great, and the best thing to do is just get up, or you risk falling back asleep and re-entering your dream. I personally like to run it off. I throw on some sneakers and head to the gym, even just for a half hour. If your morning schedule doesn’t allow this, do some yoga in your room (I recommend this YouTube channel!) or even just some stretches before getting in the shower.

Speaking of showers, sometimes I feel like I’m trying to scrub the dream off of me. Not only is that uncomfortable, it just doesn’t work. Your problem is all mental, so you gotta cleanse it out with some good ole aromatherapy. Even just nice smelling soaps will do the job, but if you’re feeling fancy, whip out the essential oils and bath bombs and let those good vibes clear your head.

After all this, you have to start your day. The best way to get out of this headspace is to throw yourself into something completely different. Do something you’ve been procrastinating on, sit up in class and take some extra-detailed notes, delve into a new project at work. Before you know it, you’ll be so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you won’t have room in your brain for those unwanted feelings.

But, to be honest, the only surefire way to nip those feelings in the bud is to face you fears. Get coffee with the culprit, or have them over for dinner. Remind yourself how awesome this person is, and then that’s all you’ll think about. After two minutes, you’ll be back to laughing and joking—maybe you’ll even tell that person about your dream. Or not.

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