Holistic | Inspiring

9 Easy Steps To Controlling Your Own Dreams

I love my dreams. I find that they're so put together, that it's almost like watching a little movie every night. But sometimes they're not that fun, like the time that I dreamed my best friend died and no one understood why I was upset. I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic, and had to text her to make sure she was okay.

Some of my favorite dreams are the ones that feel real. These are called lucid dreams. They sound, look, and feel like real life, because you are aware of what's happening. In lucid dreams, your mind is still somewhat awake, and your conscious brain takes over.

Lucid dreams are normal, and not dangerous at all. In fact, there are ways to force yourself to lucid dreams and control what happens while you're sleeping.

1. Relax

If you get too worked up about lucid dreaming, it won't happen. You need to be in a calm state so that your conscious mind can focus on the task at hand. A little meditating before bed is a great idea to clear your mind of all stress.

2. Don't Force It

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For some people it is easy to lucid dreaming, and for other's it's a little trickier. Don't try and force anything to happen. As long as you follow the people steps it will all work out. Continue practicing the process of lucid dreaming for as long as it takes.

3. Dream Journal

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Dream journals allow you to exercise your mind, so to speak. Remembering dreams takes practice, and the more you remember, the more likely you are to lucid dream. This is because it's forcing your unconscious mind to be aware of what's happening, which in turn starts to wake it up and be aware.

Think of it like running. On the first try, you may only be able to run for five minutes, but the next time it might be six. Same goes for dreams. The first time you may only be able to remember who was in the dream, but the next time you might be able to remember a bit of what happened.

4. Learn About It

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Reading about what lucid dreams are can help make them happen. It's similar to studying for a test. You'll probably pass if you don't study, but you have a better chance of succeeding if you know what you're talking about.

5. Do Reality Checks

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When you are awake, do small reality checks, like trying to push your hand through your palm, to give yourself a sense of what is real. If you are awake, your thumb won't go through your palm (obviously) but when you are dreaming, it always will.

These checks will help you determine dream vs reality, and if you can identify when you're dreaming, you can start to control them.

6. Turn Off Your Screens

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An hour before you go to bed, turn off your screens. TVs, phones, computers, whatever has a screen that detaches you from reality.

These screens also produce artificial light, which prevents your body from developing sleep hormones. You have to be legitimately tired for a lucid dream to happen, and your sleep cycle is interrupted when you use too many screens before bed.

7. Set An Alarm

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If you wake up fully rested from a night of sleep, your chance of a morning lucid dream are slim to none. Setting an alarm to jolt you awake increases your chances of going back to bed and having a lucid dream. This is known as a "wake back to bed" or WBTB.

Set your alarm for two hours before you would normally wake up.

8. Keep Your Eyes Closed

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When your alarm does go off for your WBTB, keep your eyes shut. Let yourself stay in darkness and wake up your mind, but not necessarily your body. Wake up, turn the alarm off (hopefully it's easy to do with closed eyes) and go right back to sleep.

As you fall back to sleep, do some of your reality checks to differentiate between dreaming and real life.

9. Don't Get Excited

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When you realize you are lucid dreaming, you can't get too excited. It will over-stimulate your brain and you'll wake yourself up immediately. You should be aware that you are dreaming, and use that to calmly guide the situations you are in.

Have you ever experienced a lucid dream?