How to Get Started Lucid Dreaming for Self Improvement
We’ve talked before about the benefits that lucid dreaming can have on your life, from unleashing your creativity to conquering fears. Controlling your own dreams can be such an interesting, useful, and frankly, cool way to explore your consciousness, that it’s natural that some people may become frustrated when they find that they can’t achieve it right away. Searching the subject online often brings up discussions among those who have already experienced lucid dreaming, when all you want to know is how to get started. What many people don’t know is that you can become a lucid dreamer the same way you learn any skill or hobby: practice! Lucid dreaming is all about forming habits in your waking life that will allow you to regain control in your dreams.
Step One: Read Up
A lot has been written on the practice of lucid dreaming, and before you begin, it will be helpful to check out some books on the subject. They’ll introduce you to the various techniques that you can use to induce a lucid dream, such as the MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming) and WBTB (wake back to bed) methods. By reading as much as you can about lucid dreams, you’ll be able to see the different ways that you may want to use them, and what kind of experiences that others have had.
Step Two: Keep a Dream Journal
Any time that you have a dream, write down as much as you can remember of it as soon as you wake up. You may want to keep a notebook or a pad of paper right by your bed expressly for this purpose – or even a tape recorder, if you would prefer to recall your dream out loud. The more you do this, and do it regularly, the more your memory of your dreams will improve. This will also help you keep track of any common elements or themes that appear in your dreams. You can use these to help you recognize the fact that you are dreaming, and turn it into a lucid dream.
Step Three: Do “Reality Checks”
During the day while you are awake, do little things to confirm that you are indeed awake and not in a dream. Common reality checks include looking at the clock to make sure that it is correct and stays constant, flipping a light switch (in a dream, this often does not work), pinching your nose closed and trying to breathe, or looking into a mirror (mirrors in dreams often appear blurry or distorted). Some people even mark a symbol on their hand with pen or marker (many use “A” for awake) to remind them to do reality checks. The point is to make a habit out of it, to the point where you begin performing reality checks while you are dreaming – allowing you to recognize that you are asleep and take control! There are also tools that you can use to help induce a lucid dream through detecting REM cycles, and cueing you as you sleep at the times you are most likely to achieve lucidity.
Check out Tools for Wellness for more on lucid dreaming and self improvement tools.