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Unlocking the Power of Your Dreams: A 5-Step Guide to Lucid Dreaming

Written by Sharon | October 13, 2023



Do you want to know how to get out of a nightmare, or change a dream entirely? Escape the clutches of one of those looping dreams, when in reality, you really should be getting ready for work. Lucid dreaming can be used for situations such as these. I'll share with you five steps you can take to improve or begin your lucid dreaming journey...



Dream imagery of a terrace on a body of water with mountains in the distance


Lucid dreaming is a beneficial, mental asset which can improve your mind to body awareness and personal development of your waking mind and subconscious mind to heal or discover your unlimited potential. It's also pretty fun and exciting. After all, wouldn't you want to know how it feels to have superpowers?


I've been highly aware of my dreams as young as 2 years old. I used to have a reoccurring nightmare for the majority of my young life. Over the course of 25 years, I no longer experience that frightening experience. I know how to wake myself up without dying and sometimes, I may have superpowers which help me cope with the hopelessness depression brings to my day-to-day life.

Due to decades of dream recall, I consider myself an expert in the art of dreaming and different states of consciousness. Now, I have unlimited artistic ideas and story plots conjured up on a whim, and have increased mindfulness skills in waking life.


This guide will provide five steps to improve or begin your lucid dreaming journey. Here are the five steps in a nutshell...


  1. Intention for dream recall

  2. Healthy sleeping & waking methodologies

  3. Patience & practice

  4. Grounding & becoming familiar with your dream body

  5. Discarding fear & doubt


Do you want to be an explorer of beautiful, undiscovered worlds? Bring light into the darkness of your nightmares? Keep reading to find out how.


What is Lucid Dreaming?


Lucid dreaming is to become aware you are dreaming while you are in a dream during sleep. It is popular in the field of Oneirology - the scientific study of dreams. The term "lucid dream" was originated by a Dutch psychiatrist, Frederik van Eeden, in his academic article titled, A Study of Dreams in 1913.


The act of becoming aware one is dreaming while dreaming is not a new concept to our modern age. In fact, dream interpretation has dated back to ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, and Rome as a means to acquire intelligence and divine guidance.


Dreams are understood to be driven by thoughts and emotions in waking life. Our brains intake much more information now than they ever have in our existence here on earth. We are constantly absorbing information. This is opening up the dream world to more confusion as well as more possibilities and opportunities.


What are the Benefits of Lucid Dreaming?


To become more aware of your dream state whilst in the middle of a dream has its upsides. It is not uncommon to gain certain skills in your waking life as well. Some of these benefits include:


  • More awareness & observational skills

  • Less decision paralysis

  • Better control of the mind and emotions

  • Increased creativity

  • Dissolves nightmares & fears

Lucid dreaming is a lot more than just having control of your dream world. It is a self help and developmental tool that has the capacity to improve day to day activities and events. This is due to the factor of awareness you bring into your dream state and waking life.


Sleeping is a good quarter of our life spent if not more, we have the capacity to mindfully heal ourselves during that time through our lucid dream practice.


5 Steps to Lucid Dreaming


You may be a beginner in the art of lucid dreaming, or simply want to further your skills. Either way, these five steps can help you reach new heights in your awareness...



Lucid Dreaming Psychedelic


1. Intention to recall dreams


This stage of lucid dreaming is actually practiced while you are awake - I know, boring! But you have to start by being mindful in your new practice. Similar to setting new goals, we have to be intentional about our next steps and how to proceed.


Simply set an intention before you go to sleep. I highly recommend to physically write it down. You could use your phone notes, but a pen and paper really get through to your subconscious mind so I recommend the latter, especially if you are a newbie.


Different than others' advice, you don't have to have a dream journal to start recalling your dreams. Actually, I found that keeping a dream journal for every single dream I have is monotonous and too many details to write every day. Alternatively, I only write the dreams I deem most important, or dreams that occur more than once.


It is important to remember to set an intention before you go to sleep. Not trying to nag - but it only takes 30 seconds to write down, "I will remember my dream tonight," or "Tonight, I will have a dream." When just starting out, it is beneficial to set an intention for having dreams to begin with. After all, not everybody "has" dreams or specifically remembers a dream event, some people just see darkness. If that's you, I urge you to consider starting by setting a direct intention to dream.


2. Sleeping & Waking Habits


It is so easy to get caught up in staying comfortable in our ways. We have so many mind-numbing devices, it's so easy to just exist day to day, over and over again, and in a rush - which eventually all melts together into a year gone by and I'm still left with the question, did I start that book? Did I mention I'm having an existential crisis? Anyways, I'm guilty of this just as much as anyone else, so I cannot stress how hard it is to be in the moment these days. It feels impossible but I assure you, you are possible. I mean hell, I started this blog finally so if I can do it you most definitely can.



Good sleep cat sleeping


With this second step, practice a getting good sleep. This can be considered going to bed around the same time every night, and getting around 7-9 hours of sleep, but do what works best for your individualistic needs. If you go to bed at 12am, go to bed at 12am - just do it every night - so no staying up until 3am one night and 2am the next. Set yourself up for success.


Don't try to start going to sleep at 9pm if you are a night owl, it won't work (trust me, I'm-said night owl). Just focus on the schedule you are on, don't try to make any drastic changes because it's the gradual changes that really stick.


With that in mind, also practice waking up slowly, gradually bringing yourself to wakefulness. Alarms really don't help with this, but really try to slowly wake up. This can look like coming to your senses gradually by noticing sight, touch, and smell. Become slowly aware of your mind to body ratio, simply notice your limbs gaining momentum and your breathing. Sometimes, I find practicing with a nap is better for this.


3. Observe your surroundings


These first three steps are done during waking hours, but I swear this isn't a mindfulness post, these steps will genuinely help with having lucid dreams, but has the potential to benefit your waking life as well. Both realities are ultimately tied together so you really have to practice during your awake and asleep hours. Sometimes, take a rest day, similar to working out physically, you are working out your mind. In result, you gain new skills which propel you where you want to be.


Begin by simply observing things in your waking life and in your dreams. At this stage, you should be having more dreams but not fully lucid yet. Notice animals, people, objects and make a mental note of it. For example, if you see a cat, think, "I see a cat," maybe even try describing the cat in your thoughts by appearance or sound.


In this stage, ask yourself during waking hours, "Am I dreaming right now?" Of course the answer is probably no, but that will get your mind used to asking that question which it will begin to happen naturally while you are in a dream. This is called reality-testing.


Another method of reality-testing is to look at specific objects you use in waking life but in your dream. For me, I use my cellphone when I'm awake and try to use it in my dreams. I make phone calls and text people which works perfectly fine when awake, but when I try to do calls or texts in a dream, my phone is blurry and hard to use which further indicates I'm in a dream.



Lucid Dreaming


Lastly, imagine yourself jumping really high in waking life, or imagine if you actually had superpowers... What kind would you have? How would you use them? If you want to fly, try not to think about the landing part but just the flying part. How would buildings look like? How would you feel?


4. Becoming grounded & familiar with your dream body


Now, this step to lucid dreaming is practiced in your dream realm, and can be used to get you out of a nightmare. By this point, you should be having dreams regularly and be aware you are in one.


During this stage, you may accidentally wake yourself up when trying to feel in your dream body. This is the case because in order to wake ourselves up we need to actively think about and try to feel our actual body. The difference between your dream body and physical body are the differences in feelings and sensations in the environment around you.


During your dream, try to look at your body by looking down at your hands or feet. You can also use a mirror in your dream to see yourself, often, this will reveal our biggest insecurities and is often how your mind depicts your self. On this note, I never like looking at myself in a mirror while I'm in a dream because my left eye is extremely small and slanted so it kind of disturbs me - lol. However, it is very intriguing because I can see my progress in how far I've come with negative vs. positive self-talk, and how my mind actually sees my self.


You can also sense your dream body by interacting with the scenery or using your hands to pick up an object. If you are in a nightmare and seeing something you really don't want to be seeing, close your eyes and try to feel for your body, actively think about how it feels to be awake in your body. This will gradually bring you back to your physical body, successfully getting yourself out of a terrifying experience. Now grab some lavender to calm yourself or turn over and try to go back to sleep. If the situation occurs again, rinse and repeat (that's when I grab the lavender essential oil).


If you are trying to change a dream, you will need to have some authority over your thoughts, emotions, and desires. Look at the dream as if it were a movie playing out, now separate yourself from the plot (becoming aware you are dreaming helps) and practice changing an object or moving your body elsewhere (i.e. the top of a building or on the ground). You could try to change the story entirely too, or adjust it to your preferences.


5. Let go of doubt & fear


Essentially what you are doing is manifesting what you want or desire in the here and now. Whatever you think, feel, or believe can become a reality right before your eyes and instantaneously. This has its upsides but also has its downsides when fear or doubt rises to your conscious awareness. You may feel fearful from a scenario in waking life already, or start thinking about something that freaks you out and before you know it, you're living it. Our brains latch to negativity and does have a tendency to obsess (anxiety & overthinking).



Nightmares and Night terrors


This can be a very scary thought because in the dream world anything can happen. However, with the previous steps you can restore authority of your mind and demand to come back to your body if needed. The key here is to do as little thinking as possible and surrender. For example, if you are jumping super high and think, "How do I get down?" It will become more difficult to get yourself down because you start overthinking it. Instead, try being neutral about circumstances you are in. Try to release some control and let it run its course. Also, it doesn't hurt to practice landing.


Conclusion


I encourage you to practice and be patient with the process. Everyone has a different time range on how long this process takes. Some it could be days or weeks, others it could be months to a year, but I ensure you won't regret it. It has helped me in my day to day life to be more conscientious and regulate emotions & anxiety. I hope you're excited to start your journey of self exploration. Your experiences will be worth it and unique to you. Have fun!


Please feel free to share your dream experiences with our forum or leave a comment on this post! I'm always wanting to hear about what dreams you have collected over the years!














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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Lucid is an artist located in the DFW area in Texas. She started writing at a young age and thinking out of the box. Her artworks vary from digital content to sonic art and painting.

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