At first glance, dreams might be just fictional scenarios our minds make up when we’re sleeping. But what if there’s more to them than just stories we tell others or write about after?

Although there’s no scientific evidence to prove that dreams hold special meaning, for many years they have been studied to promote better self-awareness and to help us understand what’s bothering us in our everyday lives. According to dream specialists, “Dreams are a universal language, creating often elaborate images out of emotional concepts." Have you been recognizing certain themes you frequently dream about?

Here are 7 common dream meanings.

Being lost or Trapped

This is a common dream many people have. Being lost or trapped usually means you’re unsure about what step to take next from a particular circumstance in real life. People who dream about getting lost in the woods or any maze-like structure in general often overwhelmed and can’t seem to find a way out. Often feel overwhelmed and can’t seem to find a way out. This reflects the mental, physical, financial, or emotional burdens they’re experiencing in real life.

Missed Opportunities

Do you ever dream about missing public transportation, Such as a bus, train, plane or taxi? Often people who dream about tend to miss them only by a fraction of a second. This can also pertain to scenarios where you dream about being late for a job interview, performance, or special event.

In real life, these dreams may reflect the regrets you have for not going after what you wanted. Whether that means missing out on seeing your favorite band perform live, or applying for your dream job on time.

Car Troubles

People who dream about these scenarios usually find themselves in a near a car vehicle. They can either be the driver or the passenger when they experience brake failure, flat tire, or getting hit by another car. This typically means that you feel like you don’t have control over a certain situation, or you might be headed for trouble in the future.

Failing a Test

Contrary to what it sounds like, people who dream about this scenario are usually no longer in school. Common dream scenarios involve having trouble finding the test room, being unprepared for lack of studying, or missing equipment to complete it. They indicate that you are feeling tested in real life, which makes you anxious about what your future holds.

Being Chased

This is a common dream people with anxiety often have. They usually dream about being chased by an animal, person, or something you cannot readily identify. In real life, it means that they are trying to run away from a certain situation, or it could be an emotion they are not ready to confront yet, whether it’s grief or a breakup.

Teeth Decay

Have you ever dreamed about reaching into your mouth, only to feel your teeth fall out, or that there is a missing gap?.

This indicated that you may feel insecure in real life, unattractive, or not good enough, whether it pertains to school, your work life, or romantic relationship. You may also have a fear of being embarrassed or judged by others.

Falling or Sinking

People who dream of this scenario often find themselves falling from a high building, or sinking into an ocean. They usually feel helpless and overwhelmed. It’s a common misconception to believe that having those dreams mean a foreshadow of your own death.

But in reality, they indicate your fear of falling, or that you’re not content with where you are in life. You may need to carve a new path or make some new choices to help you find meaning again.