Lucid dreaming is when someone who is dreaming knows they’re dreaming. This phenomenon happens to pretty much every person at some time or another.
But, believe it or not, there are people out there who actually train themselves to lucid dream. And when you can lucid dream on command, you can even gain the ability to control, alter, and investigate your own dreams.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 37% of the population control their dreams more than once a month.
Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to control your dreams.
The Purpose of Dreams
Before we dive into how to control your dreams, let’s talk about what the point of dreams is in the first place.
What is a dream? To put it simply, a dream is a hallucination you see in your mind while you sleep.
Researchers, sleep scientists, and psychologists all have different theories for what the purpose of a dream is.
Famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed that dreams act as a sort of self-therapy. In your dreams, you can confront your fears, fantasies, and all sorts of other emotional issues.
When you lucid dream, you can go even deeper into dream interpretation to really get to the root of your emotional and unconscious issues.
How to Control Your Dreams
Just about everyone has the ability to lucid dream. But it’s not something you can do on the first night of your training.
There are several steps you need to take in order to prepare your mind.
Keep a Journal
Keep a small notebook by your bedside. This will be your dream diary.
Before going to sleep, write down everything you want to dream about. Be as specific as possible, and draw pictures, too, if you can. This is your “target dream.”
The point of this is to direct your mind to this target dream. Do this every night.
And don’t watch any movies or read books before going to sleep. These stories can slip into your mind and take over your dreams.
In the morning, the moment you wake up, you should start writing down what you dreamt. Write as quickly and as detailed as possible so you don’t forget.
As you do this every day, you’ll notice it becomes easier to remember more of your dreams.
Then, review your dream and compare it to your target dream.
As the days go on, are you getting closer to the target? What connections can you make between your dreams and your waking life?
These are important questions to ask yourself as you try to control your dreams.
Think About Your Target Dream
After you write down your target dream, read it over and over again. This will help get the specifics and overall ideas into your head.
As you lie down, continue to visualize your target dream. Think about all of the sounds and sensations it can bring. Imagine what the world would look like. You want your mind to be as primed as possible.
Walk through your dream from start to finish with your eyes closed. Try to continue doing this until you actually fall asleep.
Do Reality Checks
You should be doing reality checks throughout the day. These are ways of checking if you are awake or asleep.
Ask yourself, “Am I awake or dreaming?” Familiarize yourself with “tells” that can quickly let you know if you are awake or not.
In the dream world, things are much more fluid and shifty. Text is hard to concentrate on. Clock hands move in all directions. Objects start to float and wave.
Look at an object really carefully. Then look away. If you look back and it looks different, then you’re dreaming.
By doing these checks while you’re awake, you are more likely to do them when you’re asleep.
Control Your Dreams
Eventually, you will get to the point where you do a reality check and you’re actually dreaming. When this happens, try not to get too excited.
If you get too excited, you might actually wake yourself up. This can be frustrating and counterproductive.
Start small in the dream world. Acclimate yourself with how it works. Even doing mundane tasks, like walking around, climbing a tree, and riding a bike can be exciting experiences in a dream.
As you get used to being active in the dream world, try to branch out more. You can give yourself superpowers. Flying is a common activity for lucid dreamers.
Try other fun powers, like time-traveling, telekinesis, or fire-breathing. Move huge objects or shrink yourself down to the size of an ant.
You can explore the entire world or even create a new one. Your only limit is your own imagination.
The Power of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming can be a lot of fun. But remember that even if you successfully teach yourself how to control your dreams, you need to keep your training up.
It can become easy to stop writing down your dreams and doing reality checks, but then you may lose your ability to lucid dream.
And while you’re lucid dreaming, try to take full advantage of it. Not only can you live out your wildest fantasies, but you can also take the time to do some serious introspection. And you may be surprised by what you find.
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