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Dream About Drowning Symbolism and Meaning

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Having a dream about drowning can be an unsettling experience. Understanding what it means to be drowning in a dream can help you better understand what is happening in your life and what you can do about it.

Most drowning dreams can easily be classified as nightmares. There is nothing pleasant about dreaming that you can’t breathe or being rushed by water.

While it might be scary to dream you or someone you care about is drowning, there is a lot of wisdom to be had. As we’ve written countless times in many articles, dreams concerning water almost always symbolize our emotions.

It’s easy for us to ignore our emotions and a dream about drowning is a call of action to face your feelings and deal with them. Let’s explore some of the common dream interpretations for what it means to be drowning in a dream.

What it Means to Dream About Drowning

what it means to dream about drowning

Feeling Overwhelmed

If you have a dream where you are being engulfed by water, there’s a good chance something in your life is overwhelming you. You might be overwhelmed by your job, your family members, your responsibilities in life, your finances or even feelings surrounding a stressful time in your life.

Some people who dream they are drowning, might be experiencing a lot of pressure within their waking lives. This dream can mean that you might want to explore other options and alternatives to make a change in your life.

Change and Transformation

You may be going through a period of uncertainty in your life or things may be changing and you’re not sure you how feel about these changes.

Often times dreams about drowning are closely related to dreams about death. Both dream symbols can mean that you need to make a change in your life or something has changed in your life and you don’t know how to cope with it.

Conflict and Struggle

If you are struggling to swim, it’s quite likely you are also struggling with something in your life. You may be struggling to make ends meet, to reach your goals, to find a partner or even struggle with accepting yourself the way you are.

Dreaming about struggling to swim can sometimes suggest that something or someone has made your life harder than it should be. You might feel like everything is out of control.

You may also have dreams about drowning when you are having problems with somebody you care a lot about. Maybe you had a fight or maybe one of you said something that really hurt. Maybe you just can’t agree about something.

woman floating in water

Feelings of Despair and Hopelessness

This is another common theme we see in dreams of drowning – you may literally be drowning in a sea of sadness in your own life.

If you are feeling hopeless about a situation, remember that you are not alone. Talk to your friends, talk to your family or a therapist or just tell a stranger how you feel.

No matter what is happening in your life, there is always help out there. Drowning in a dream can be a scary experience but don’t let it keep you from taking the steps that will bring you happiness and peace.

If you have felt unusually down or sad for more than 2 weeks, It may be time to talk to someone about how you are feeling and what’s going on in your life. Depression is real and there are a number of things that can be done to help you get back to your life.

Often times drowning in a dream suggests that we need to ask for help from others. It’s a reminder that no one can do everything on their own, and it’s okay to ask others for assistance.

Common Drowning Dreams and Their Meanings

Drowning in the ocean means you are learning to let go of control. You are leaving the past behind and moving forward. It’s time for you to take chances and try new things. Learn more on what it means to dream about the ocean.

Drowning in a pool means you have been going through some major changes lately or you have been thinking about life as if it were a pool that is draining. It’s time for you to get out of the pool and get dry land under your feet again.

Drowning in a bathtub means you are feeling overly protective. You might have been taking care of somebody who now needs to stop relying on you so much and learn to stand on his or her own two feet.

Drowning in a river means you are seeing the life lessons of a lifetime. You need to accept the fact that every choice you have made has led you to this point. It’s time to lean back and enjoy the journey rather than worry about how it ends.

Drowning in a lake means it is time for you to let go of your old ways. If you don’t, your unhappiness will not allow anything else to grow or develop. This dream may be telling you that it’s time for a change in your life.

Watching someone drown means you are learning to let someone else make their own decisions. You are letting them go and letting them make their own mistakes in life. You need to stop worrying about other people and their problems. You can give them knowledge, support and love but you can’t control how they use it.

Saving someone from drowning means you are doing what’s in your power to help someone. You can’t always give them everything they need but you can always be there to take a risk. You might not be able to give away everything but you can give them the truth about yourself.

Drowning in a building or home means you are trying to ignore problems in your life and are hiding from reality. Maybe you’re worrying too much about things that don’t have the power to destroy you and your happiness.

Not knowing how to swim in a dream can mean you feel underprepared for a new situation in your life. You might be signing a contract without reading the fine print or you might be unprepared for the changes about to happen. Learn the dream symbolism of swimming here.

Drowning in a desert means that you are being pushed over your limits. You have to dig deep and look for water somewhere else or else you won’t survive for much longer.

Drowning in mud means you are feeling stuck right now. It’s time to push yourself forward and get back on dry land again.

Dreaming of someone disappearing underwater can mean that you feel like you are losing a part of your relationship with the person or that you aren’t as close as you once were. It can also symbolize a part of yourself that seems to be disappearing.

Tips for Interpreting What Your Dream Means

We’ve written a lot about the symbolism of drowning. But what if you have a dream about drowning that doesn’t match any of the above?

The great thing about dreams is that they don’t all fit into neat little categories. You may be able to relate to one or more of the above interpretations but not all of them. That doesn’t mean you are wrong or weird for having this dream… it just means your dream isn’t like everybody else’s.

When you’re swimming in a dream, it can often be very similar to a dream about drowning. It’s important to pay attention and see how you feel about the dream. If this is your first time having a dream like this, you may want to write down your thoughts the next day and record how you feel about the experience.

Are you comfortable with these thoughts? Do they make you happy or sad? Are there any emotions that stand out the most?

Take some time to think about what it means for you. It may help you understand more about your dream.

Remember, you are the best interpreter of your dreams. Learn how to interpret your dreams here.


Have you had a dream about drowning? Share your dreams and what you think they mean in the comments section below.

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