Lucid dreaming is the experience of becoming conscious in a dream state: realizing that you’re in a dream. This is a powerful practice that has been linked to boosting creativity, improving athletic and musical performance, treating PTSD and enhancing neurologic rehabilitation.
Beyond the research, lucid dreaming is fascinating and exciting to experience. We’re capable of so much more than we realize when it comes to dreaming! This is a natural state that we likely experienced as children. We can easily reconnect and expand our dream life if we focus our attention on it.
1. Start tracking your dreams.
What you focus on, grows. Take note of your dreams the moment you wake up. Try to stay in the same physical position that you woke up in. We hold memory in the body, so our recall is strongest before we get up.
You can write, take notes on your phone or voice record the dream. Even if you don’t remember anything, you can still write or say, “I do not remember my dream,” to help build the practice. Then, take note of what you were thinking or feeling when you woke up.
This is a powerful habit that can rapidly improve recall and enrich your dream life.
2. Set a strong intention and a trigger.
Start setting a strong intention every night just before sleep: “I will remember my dreams tonight. I will wake up in my dream.”
Then, set the intention to see a specific item, and picture it in your mind: a red rose, a vanilla ice cream cone, a golden retriever, or whatever inspires you.
Say, “I will see a vanilla ice cream cone in my dream tonight.” Repeat this practice every night to help it thoroughly sink in.
You are much more likely to dream about this item once you’ve been focusing on it regularly. Once you see the item in your dream, you can naturally realize you’re dreaming and become lucid.
3. Commit to an induction practice.
An induction practice will train your brain to question your reality regularly, so that in your dream state you are more likely to question it and become lucid. Several times a day, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” Yes, this feels ridiculous, and yes, it actually works.
You can create this habit by setting alarms on your phone, or by building it into another habit like washing your hands. Try leaving a reminder post-it note by the sink.
Eventually, this question will come to mind easily when you’re dreaming, and you can shift into lucidity. Have fun with it and it will become natural.
The biggest challenge here is commitment. Simple tasks like this are so easy to skip, but if you stay with them for a few weeks, the effects can last a lifetime.
Once you’re regularly immersed in a rich and vivid dream life, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to enjoy something so easy to access.
Lucid dreaming is a profound experience that most humans will never bother to explore. We’re only beginning to understand the incredible benefits of lucid dreaming, and the sense of fulfillment and inspiration is beyond our experience of waking life. The possibilities are limitless.