Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreams give you the ability to control your own dreams and steer them toward the direction you want. In the lucid state, you are more willing to confront threats and as a result, become more self confident. When you achieve lucidity, you can use it as a tool to improve your sports game, to rehearse for a speech, to fulfill your fantasies, or to solve a problem in your waking life. In fact, some athletes utilize their lucid dreams to practice their tennis serve, golf stroke or bat swing. Even in your day to day life, you can use lucid dreams to ask the boss for a raise, prepare for a first date, overcome phobias, get over writer’s block, etc. Lucid dreams can help you visualize and rehearse an event in your mind before it actually occurs. It helps to overcome fears and anxieties. The application of lucid dreams is limited only to your imagination.
Because brain activity during the dream state is the same as during a real life event, what you “learn” or “practice” in your lucid dream state is similar to the training and preparation you do in the waking world. Your neuronal patterns are already being conditioned.
At least half of all adults have had one lucid dream in their lifetime. Many have reported having lucid dreams without even trying. Often flying is associated with lucid dreams. With practice, lucid dreaming can be learned and achieved at your will.
Steps to Improving Lucid Dreaming
1. First and foremost, you need to be able to recall your dreams and make a habit of journaling your dreams. In doing so, you familiarize yourself with your dream style, mood, and quality. Eventually, you learn to recognize that you are dreaming.
2. Throughout the day, while you are awake, ask yourself, “Is this a dream?” anytime something odd happens or even when nothing out of the ordinary happens. The trick is not to answer the question with an immediate “Of course I am not dreaming!”. Come up with a consistent way to check if you are awake or asleep. For example, checking the time on a clock and then quickly check it again. If you are dreaming, the time will always dramatically change at
the second glance. Or, if you are reading something, look away and then read it again. Again, if you dreaming, whatever you are reading will be completely different when you look at it the second time. As you keep asking yourself this question during the day, the question will become second nature. Eventually, you will automatically ask the question in your dreams. When you do your check to see if you are awake or asleep, you are well on your way to lucidity.
3. Utilize a counting method to enter lucidity. As you are laying down to go to sleep, start counting. One, I am dreaming. Two, I am dreaming. Three, I am dreaming. At some point, you will say, fifty-one, I am dreaming, and by then you are really dreaming.
4. Identify your dream signals. These are objects, images or actions in your dream that serve as cues or markers to let you know that you are dreaming. Anything can be a dream signal and is unique to each individual dreamer. It may help to read through your dream journal and select an image that constantly appears in your dreams. By selecting a recurring image, then it has a better chance of appearing in your future dreams. When you are ready for bed, tell yourself that “when I see an apple, then I know I am dreaming.” or whatever dream signal you have chosen.
5. Use your dream signs to let you know that you are dreaming. When an anomaly or something impossible occurs in your dream, do not ignore it or try to rationalize it. Let this odd occurrence be an indicator that you are dreaming. Some common dream signs include flying, walking through walls or the appearance of someone who is dead in real life.
6. Finally, encourage your lucid dreams, but do not force them, as your efforts may have an opposite effect. You may use the above techniques in conjunction with one another. Tell yourself that you will have a lucid dream tonight. It is important to relax and be patient.
As you improve your lucid dreaming, you can even learn to “write” your own dream scripts. Your sense of smell and touch will become heightened. Before going to bed, tell yourself what you want to dream and what area you want to explore.