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What Do Dreams About Drowning Mean?

by | Jan 9, 2024

  • Dreams about drowning can be jarring, but the meaning always depends on your current emotional state.
  • Some of the common symbolism of drowning dreams include stress, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed in life.
  • Drowning dreams are considered to be nightmares, and their meanings can be quite negative.

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This kind of dream can jolt you right out of bed, as it can be terrifying to visualize yourself drowning in a body of water.

You wake up gasping for breath as if being submerged in water and unable to breathe was real.
Thus, you’re here reading this to try to make sense of a vision that’s left you in a panic, fear, or confusion.
What does a dream about drowning mean? Why did you dream about it even when living far from a water body? And more importantly, what should you do to stop having these dreams?

In this article, we’ll talk about the general symbolism of drowning dreams to help you better understand why you may be having them and what you can do to stop from having these nightmares.

General Symbolism

In the field of dream interpretation, water represents emotions. Therefore, when you dream about drowning, you are going through something emotional, and your subconscious mind manifests itself in your dreams.

Drowning symbolically means you are overwhelmed with emotions. You may be going through difficulties in your relationship, career, health, or life. You feel like you’re “drowning” in negative emotions, problems, and stress.

Before we proceed with interpreting specific dreams about drowning, here is the general symbolism, plus a brief discussion on the Biblical meaning of drowning dreams.

5 General Symbolism of Dreams About Drowning

1. You Are Overwhelmed With Work or Obligations

J.M. DeBord, the author of the book, “The Dream Interpretations Dictionary: Symbols, Signs, and Meanings,” states that dreams are metaphors. Your mind goes through a process of collating and sorting your memories, appearing in your dreams as metaphors.

The term “drowning” is used to say you’re drowning in work, obligations, bills, etc. And so you might be dreaming about drowning because you have too much on your plate.

You are overwhelmed with all your obligations and feel like you’re already drowning in work and struggle.

2. You Are Struggling With Your Relationships

You may be overwhelmed with your relationships if you’re not drowning out with work or obligations. Maybe your family is going through problems, and the toxicity has become too much for you to handle.

Or you’re going through a rocky patch in your relationship, and the arguments, fights, and disagreements have negatively affected your relationship.

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3. You Are Overwhelmed with Negative Emotions

We mentioned that water represents emotions in dreams. This could mean you are going through a rollercoaster of emotions. You may feel like everything around you is going wrong, so you’re feeling all these negative emotions, such as sadness and anxiety.

4. You Feel Like You Can’t Recover

If you’re drowning in waking life, you lose control, and you’ll be on the brink of death in minutes. Dreaming about yourself drowning could represent your hopeless thoughts over a situation in your life.

Maybe you have a problem at work, you’re drowning in debt, or your relationship has gone sour. You believe that there’s no possibility of recovery, so you feel like things are not going to get better.

5. You Anticipate Danger

Drowning dreams are horrifying, and this could mean that you’re anticipating danger in real life. Maybe you know you don’t have the funds to pay your debt, so you fear your due date is approaching.

Or maybe you feel like your partner is slowly distancing himself from you, so you have an impending fear that he may leave you.

The overall symbolism of a dream about drowning is negative, but this doesn’t mean you’re helpless. Dreams can be taken as a reminder or a warning sign that you need to pay attention to what’s happening in and around you.

Biblical Symbolism of a Drowning Dream

Water has a considerable significance in the Bible, with stories such as the Flood and Christ walking on water, as well as water being a symbol of baptism or renewal.

There are four prominent symbolism of water in the Bible, which are:

1. Life
2. Chaos
3. Cleansing
4. Transition

Dreaming of water is considered a symbol of life, which quenches your thirst when you are spiritually empty. Dreaming of drowning could be a sign that you need to work on yourself spiritually.
It also means chaos since the ocean can sometimes be unpredictable. While water can bring life, it can also take it away, such as in the story of Noah and the Great Flood.

A drowning dream can also symbolize cleansing since water is used for baptism. It suggests removing the grime and toxicity in your life and cleansing it for a fresh start.

And lastly, dreaming of drowning can also mean you may need a transition in your life, and you’re overwhelmed by the changes. In the Bible, the journey from the Jordan River to the Promised Land was filled with wandering and the arrival of the old and the new.

If you died by drowning in your dream, this could be horrifying, but death can also mean rebirth or a new beginning.

Interpreting Your Dream About Drowning Through Your Emotions

When trying to make sense of your drowning dreams, you must consider the details: where, how, who? You will have a better understanding of the meaning behind your dream when you take into consideration the details of your dream.

One factor is understanding your emotions in the dream. Here are three examples of emotions you might have when you have this dream:

1. Panic

If you feel panic in your dream, this represents your fears and anxieties in waking life. You might need to ask yourself what’s causing you this anxiety: is it your relationships or your work?

2. Fear

If you feel fearful that you may die or don’t save yourself from drowning, it means you feel helpless and hopeless in your life right now. Maybe you’re unemployed and don’t think you can get a job soon. Perhaps your health is declining, and you don’t believe you’ll get healthy again.

3. Peace

You might be surprised, but some people dream about drowning, and instead of feeling scared when they wake up, they experience a sense of peace.

You may have accepted and acknowledged the whirlwind of emotions you’ve been going through and concluded that it is what it is. Or you may want to end something in your life and find calmness in the thought of being reborn or transformed.
It’s important to note that while there are general, Biblical, and standard interpretations of dreams, true meaning is always subjective. Not everyone has the same problems or issues in life, which means we may have different interpretations of drowning dreams.

In the following section, we’ll cover some of the most common dreams about drowning and their possible interpretations.

Understanding these specific dreams can give you a better insight into your dream’s symbolism and how you can apply them to your life.

Common Drowning Draem Meaning

Here are some of the most common dreams about drowning and their possible interpretations:

1. Drowning in a Pool

To dream of drowning in a pool can mean your problems are of your own making. A pool is a man-made structure that can symbolize the issues you impose on yourself. The water is also as clear as glass in a swimming pool and could signify the clarity of your problems and the solutions that can solve them.

2. Drowning in the Ocean

Dreaming of drowning in the ocean signifies the massiveness of your problems. The vast and unpredictable sea symbolizes a problem you perceive as too large to handle.

3. Drowning in Blood

Blood means there’s a wound, and when there’s a wound, there’s pain. You may be dreaming about drowning in blood because you are in pain. This could be physical or emotional pain. Maybe you just had surgery, or you have a big cut, and the thoughts consume you the whole day, so you’re drowning in blood in your dream.

4. Drowning in Yellow Fluid

Yellow fluid can be phlegm; if you dream about drowning in it, this could be a warning sign of poor health. When you have phlegm in the body, you have an infection. It can be a metaphor for disease, bacteria, an illness, or something wrong with your body.

You might need to get yourself checked, or maybe you’re already sick, and you feel like this illness is consuming you.

5. A Child Drowning

A child drowning can be a scary dream for parents, but it doesn’t mean your child will be in danger in waking life. It could represent your anxieties about your child getting hurt, getting lost, or being taken away from you.

It could also signify a part of yourself that you’re losing. Maybe you’re getting old and seeing your youth slowly fading away. It could represent your resistance to getting old, or you miss being young.

6. Saving a Person from Drowning

If you dream of saving someone from drowning, it could signify that someone you know needs your assistance. If a friend confides in you about their problem, you may have an urge to help, so you dream about saving that person from drowning in your dream.

7. Someone Saving You From Drowning

If someone is saving you from drowning in your dream, you should reach out to people and ask for help. Or maybe you already have people who are reaching out to help you. You may feel a sense of relief when you have this dream.

8. Drowning in a Car

To dream of drowning in a car signifies that you are on a journey in life, but something happened that destroyed everything. You may never get to where you should go. This could be a career you wanted to build, a relationship you wanted to progress, or a project that didn’t come to fruition.

Related: Dream about a car accident

9. Drowning in Dirty Water

Dirty water can signify the ambiguity of your emotions or situation. Your real-life emotions are unclear; they’re murky and muddy, and you can’t see them. You may be going through a rough patch in your relationship, and you don’t know if you should break up or keep fighting.

10. Drowning But You Can Breathe Underwater

Dreaming of drowning and finding yourself able to breathe underwater is a good sign. It means you are going through problems and think they are serious, but then you find yourself okay with it.

11. You are Drowning Alone

If you are drowning alone in your dream, it could mean your problem is internal. Maybe you’re sad because you’re unhappy with yourself or got your dream job, but you’re still unsatisfied. Dreaming of drowning alone signifies the problem you have is inside of you and not from external sources.

12. You Are Drowning, and Someone is Pushing You Down

As opposed to drowning alone, dreaming of someone pushing you down in a body of water means your problems are external. Someone in your life may be toxic, your work may be stressful, or you may have abusive family members.

It could also mean you’ve been trying to solve your problems, but as soon as you believe you have a solution, someone or something keeps pushing you down, so you stay stuck in your situation.

13. Drowning in a Tsunami or Hurricane

To dream of drowning in a tsunami or hurricane signifies that you perceive your problem to be out of your control. You may feel like it’s a problem that happened out of the blue, and you have no choice.

This could be a genetic illness, you got laid off due to a recession, or you have relationship problems that have always been there, and now it’s tearing you apart.

14. You Have a Life Vest or Lifeboat

If you dream of drowning and have a life vest or a lifeboat nearby, this symbolizes your confidence in getting out of a situation. Yes, you have problems right now, but you know you have the courage, strength, and capabilities to solve them.

15. Drowning with Waves

If you’re drowning and there are big waves in the water, you are going through something you perceive to be long-term. Waves come and go, and they can be small or big. You may be anticipating a wave of issues that will come along or that you don’t see the horizon soon.

These are some of the most common dreams about drowning and their possible interpretations. As mentioned earlier, proper interpretation is subjective based on your experiences in waking life.

However, you can use these symbols to find meaning in these dreams.

A Word of Advice

Dreams can be frightful when they involve death, the anticipation of death, and being in a situation that’s out of your control. Otherwise known as nightmares, dreams about drowning can be unnerving.

When you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you are gasping for air, it can be a terrifying experience.

To help you ease these frightening emotions, you need to make sense of the visions you saw in your dreams. Don’t worry, though, as dreams primarily reflect your emotional state, memories, and information you process during the day.

Understanding your emotional state of mind is vital to grasping the message behind your dreams.

If you’re drowning in water in your dreams, you need to take a moment to analyze what is going on in your life right now.

Drowning is a metaphor for being overwhelmed. Are you overwhelmed at work? Are your problems piling up one after the other?

Answering these questions will help you understand why you had this nightmare and what you can do to prevent these dreams from occurring again.


Here are a few frequently asked questions about drowning dreams to help you better understand and make sense of these dreams:

1. What does it mean when you have a dream about drowning?

Dreaming about drowning is a reflection of your emotional state of mind. In other words, you are currently “drowning” or overwhelmed with work, obligations, or personal issues.

2. Are drowning dreams considered a bad omen?

It’s not considered to be a bad omen. However, since it reflects your emotional state, it symbolizes something negative. You can interpret the dream as a sign to pay more attention to your mental well-being.

3. What does it mean when I repeatedly dream about drowning?

If you have repeated dreams about drowning, it signifies that you haven’t attended to your pressing problems. You might continue to have these nightmares if you don’t address them.

4. Should I be worried when I dream of drowning?

No, it’s not a cause of alarm but a warning sign that you must find solutions to your emotional state. It symbolizes your negative energy or mental health right now, and it’s a call from your subconscious to take action.

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