When people first hear about lucid dreaming they often ask something along the lines of: “Why would I want to have a lucid dream? What are they good for?” Well, consider this - if you know that you are dreaming, then you are only restricted by your imagination, because the laws of physics and society do not exist in dreams. Therefore, the answer to a question such as the second one above is relatively simple - they are good for anything and everything. Below are some reasons why somebody might want to lucid dream:
For many people, dreams are not things of unlimited delight and fantasy but are things of immeasurable terror. Lucid dreaming can be used as an effective therapy for nightmares. If you are aware that you are dreaming, it is logical to also realize that nothing occurring in your dream can cause you actual harm. The only way to escape your fear is to face up to it and realize that no harm can come to you as it's just a dream.
A lot of people are attracted to lucid dreaming as it provides them with the potential to go on a wild adventure or fulfill a fantasy. It is this freedom, and the lack of consequences, which makes lucid dreaming so exhilarating.
Lucid dreaming is a very vivid form of mental imagery. The trick is to understand that it is a mental construct. Therefore, it will come as no surprise to hear that a lot of people use lucid dreaming to rehearse for an event in the real world. Such events may include public speaking, artistic and athletic performances, difficult confrontations, and so on. So how does it work? Brain activity during a dream is exactly the same as during a real event. Therefore, the activation of neuronal patterns that are required for a particular skill in real life can be established in a dream as preparation to complete the skill in the real world.
If you are interested in lucid dreaming, then you must first take your ability to remember dreams into account (recall).
Everyone dreams, but sometimes they cannot remember what they dreamed about. Therefore, some people believe that they do not dream. However, this is simply untrue. You just have to practice remembering your dreams and eventually you will be able to recall at least two or three a night.
If you hardly remember what you dream about, do not worry, as it is possible to work on your recall ability.
Unsurprisingly, a crucial part of lucid dreaming is to know how to confirm that you are dreaming. This is where dream signs and reality checks come in.
Dream signs – These are obvious signs that you are dreaming. For example, flying cows, a new location or encountering aliens are all dream signs.
Reality checks – A quick action that allows you to confirm whether you are dreaming. Below is a list of some common reality checks:
Awareness is very important when it comes to lucid dreaming. Therefore, some consider it a type of meditation since you are ultimately developing your internal and external consciousness.
There are quite a few different techniques available that help to induce lucid dreams. Some of these can be seen below:
As the name of this induction suggests, the dreamer becomes aware when they are already in the dream. Usually, the dream has already started and lucidity kicks in randomly at some stage. DILDs are spontaneous and you cannot predict when your next one will occur. The most common way to induce a DILD (while dreaming) is by practicing waking awareness (by questioning whether you are awake or not), developing an awareness of what is around you and analyzing your actions.
The dreamer goes straight into the dream world from a waking state without losing consciousness. To put it another way, the aim of this is to keep the mind awake while letting the body fall asleep. There are a handful of different ways to induce a WILD and two of the most common are outlined below:
As you are falling asleep keep repeating to yourself a mantra such as, “I will realize I am dreaming”. Keep repeating until you are certain that the mantra is set in your mind or you fall asleep.
Wake up after 4-6 hours of sleep, get yourself out of bed for a short period of time (a few minutes to an hour) before returning to bed.
When you have a lucid dream, you want to spend as long as possible in it. Attaching yourself to the dream is known as stabilization. This can be accomplished by:
Touching things – This will make your brain have to imagine what the objects feel like; this will take your mind away from your physical body and draw it towards your dream body.
Rub your hands together – Works the same way as touching things.
Shout that you’re dreaming - Works the same as above. It is best to compare this with the above.
Spin – Spin in a circle and take a good look around. This will keep your mind engaged in the dream.
BONUS - watch this video guide on how to lucid dream below: