Have you heard the recent news that electrical brain stimulation can trigger lucid dreams? Super cool- but until someone Kickstarts a cheap frontotemporal transcranial alternating current, check out these tips for recognizing you're in the dream state!
What exactly is a lucid dream? It’s one in which you become aware that you’re asleep—a sudden epiphany of, “Wait a second...I’m dreaming!” While lucid dreaming, you can have a crazy adventure, face your fears, find inspiration, do some soul-searching, and even come up with creative ways to solve your problems. Best of all, anyone can do it: all that’s required to make the jump is for you to recognize the dream state, and this realization can be induced with the help of some simple techniques:
1. Repeat your affirmation. As you fall asleep each night, focus your intent on the phrase, “I will remember my dreams.” Repeat this as you drift off to sleep. If you find your mind wandering, gently nudge it back. Picture yourself waking up in the morning and recalling your dreams in vivid detail, writing down the details in a notebook or journal.
2. Wake slowly.
Upon waking up, don’t move or open your eyes. Allow yourself time to remember your dream, and if you’re still hitting a blockade, try switching sleeping positions—you can often recall the experience more easily by lying in the position in which you had the dream.
3. Write them down.
If you want to become lucid in your dreams, you need to record your nighttime adventures in a journal as soon as you wake up. Funny enough, writing down your dreams is also the most effective way to recall them. You’re essentially saying, “Hey subconscious! Dreams are important. I’m writing them down because I want to remember them!” Write in the present tense (“The polar bear is staring me straight in the eye”); that’ll put your mind back into the dream and allow you to recall more detail.
4. Perform frequent “reality checks.”
Throughout the day, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” If you ask yourself often, it’ll eventually trickle into your dreams. Try it out for the next few days, 5 to 10 times a day. This may spark your first lucid dream.
5. Stay cool.
Lucidity can be a very stimulating experience, and beginners may get so excited that they wake themselves up. As soon as you get lucid, keep calm: take a deep breath of dream air and take it slow. Then you can begin exploring.
Excerpted from A FIELD GUIDE TO LUCID DREAMING. Copyright © 2013 by Oneironautics, LLC. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York. All Rights Reserved
Illustration by Masha Shachaf
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2014 issue of BUST Magazine. Get it on newsstands until May 27th or subscribe!