If you are wondering how to control your dreams, you may want to explore lucid dreaming. A lucid dream, or conscious dream, occurs when a person realizes that he or she is dreaming. In some cases, a person can control the dream when this happens. At other times, the dreamer is able to step back and observe the dream, knowing that it is not happening in reality. There is also a wake-initiated lucid dream where a person enters REM sleep and dreaming with without losing awareness from being awake.
Why Control Your Dreams?
Inventor Thomas Edison used to take a nap during the day to control his dreams. While sleeping, he would become lucid and tackle problems with his inventions. In this way, you could also tackle problems in your sleep that are evading you during the day. Being able to "wake up" in a dream and have conscious awareness is also really fascinating. You can do enjoyable things like choose to fly or look for inspiration for a project.
The dreams that people may want to control most tend to be nightmares. Having a nightmare can be a terrifying experience, affecting you long after you wake up with disturbing thoughts or images. If this is the case for you, being able to induce lucid dreaming in a nightmare means you are able to stop and realize it's only a dream.
When this happens you can then change your actions in the dream without fear and move to a place that is more comfortable in the dream state. People, especially children, can also wake themselves up from a nightmare through lucid dreaming.
How to Control Your Dreams
There are a few techniques for how to control your dreams and experience lucid dreaming more often.
Keep a Dream Journal
The most important step for controlling dreams is to have good dream recall. You have to first remember your dreams on a regular basis. It helps to keep a dream journal next to your bed and jot down any dreams the moment you wake up.
Ask: Am I Dreaming or Awake?
Another way to encourage lucid dreaming is to ask yourself throughout the day: Am I dreaming? Then, as this question becomes habitual, you might potentially find yourself asking it during an actual dream state. Building an awareness of consciousness may also bring an awareness of dream states over time.
Look for Bright, Vivid Images
One of the keys to recognizing a lucid dream and being able to control the dream, is to watch for signs of dreaming. One of these is to look for bright, beautiful, and vivid images. In the dream state, when you become lucid you will be amazed at the colors and beauty of the images that you see. You can also look for anything out of the ordinary, such as a clock with numbers changing randomly or strange characters.
Study the Palm of Your Hand
When a person recognizes a lucid dream, she may slip right back into an unconscious dream state rather than continuing to be aware of the dream. The first moment of awareness is important if you want to remain conscious of the dream, and possibly control its events. Some suggest that as soon as you become lucid, you should study the palm of your hand to stay "awake" in the dream.
Other Techniques for Dream Control
Anything that you can do to continue to interact with the dream environment may prolong awareness. Other techniques to extend the lucid dream include rubbing your hands together and spinning which is thought to engage the part of the brain involved in REM sleep. With practice, you can have long periods of time being aware in a dream state and enjoying lucid dreaming.