How to Control Your Dreams and Explore Your Mind

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People from all walks of life have been interested in the strange world of dreams for hundreds of years. Dreams have been an important part of many different cultures, from the Greeks and Romans to the American Indians and Tibetan Buddhists. In the past, people thought that dreams were divine signs from the gods or the dead that told them about the future. The American Indians went on fasts and meditated in special places to get good dreams that could help them. Shamans, who were also called medicine men, medicine women, or witch doctors, used dreams to connect with the spirit world and learn from the dead. In a similar way, Tibetan Buddhists thought that dreams were a way to connect with the soul. People have always thought of dreams as a way to connect to the spiritual, and they have tried to figure out what they mean in different ways.

Modern dream analysis

Dream interpretation has been around since ancient times, but Sigmund Freud brought it into the modern world. As a psychiatrist and neurologist, Freud thought that dreams showed our deepest wants and fears. He thought that these feelings often came from repressed childhood memories that were hidden in the unconscious mind. Carl Jung, a famous person who lived around the same time as Freud, had a different idea about what dreams are for. He said that dreams give access to memories that have built up over time. He called this the “collective unconscious.”

Even though psychology has come a long way in recent years, people still have different ideas about what dreams are for. Some people think that dreams are just random bursts of nerve cell activity in the brainstem. Others, on the other hand, compare the brain to a computer, saying that dreams are a way for the brain to store away mostly useless information to make room for more important information. But many studies of people who didn’t get enough rapid eye movement (REM) sleep show that dreams are very important for mental health.

Dream management

Most people spend about a quarter of their time sleeping thinking, even if they can’t remember what they dreamed about. Brain activity monitoring shows that this time of dreaming generally takes place during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. Some people forget their dreams as soon as they wake up, but others can remember them in great detail and can even realize they are dreaming while they are still asleep. This is called “lucid dreaming.” In some cases, people who lucid dream may even be able to steer their dreams in a certain way. People who support lucid dreaming say that being able to do it can improve imagination, problem-solving skills, confidence, and even make you enjoy life more. Researchers have also found that lucid thinking can help people deal with nightmares. There are now apps and facemasks that can help you have certain kinds of dreams by giving you visual or auditory cues. Here are some tips on how to dream lucidly, based on the research of Stephen LaBerge and his colleagues at The Lucidity Institute:

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)


If you want to increase your chances of lucid dreaming, you can try a method right after you wake up from a dream.

  • When you wake up, try to remember as much as you can about your dream. This will make it easier for you to get back into the dream world.
  • As you start to fall asleep again, tell yourself over and over that you’ll know you’re dreaming when you get there. This will help you decide that you want to have a clear dream.
  • Imagine yourself back in the dream world, in the dream you just had if you can remember it. Try to picture yourself waking up from your dream. Look for clues or signs in the dream that show it’s not real. Repeat these steps until you can get back to sleep.

Get up one hour earlier

One of the best ways to make lucid dreams happen is to wake up an hour earlier than normal and do something stimulating, like reading or light exercise. After being awake for an hour, do Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) exercises for about 10 minutes. These involve repeating lines like “I will know when I am dreaming” and imagining yourself becoming aware in a dream. Last, take a one-hour nap with the goal of having a clear dream in mind. This method is known to be very good at making clear dreams happen. You can improve your chances of having more frequent and exciting lucid dreams if you practice and keep at it.

If you wake

There are a few things you can attempt if you wake up from a dream, whether you were lucid or not, and you want to fall back asleep and resume your dream state. Lay still and concentrate initially on the dream you just had. You might eventually be able to return to your dream state with some exercise. Try counting yourself back to slumber if this doesn’t work. Start counting to yourself as you lay in bed: “One, I’m dreaming; two, I’m dreaming,” and so on.

If you achieve

Having a lucid dream can be exciting, but it can sometimes feel like it stops too soon. There’s an easy way to make your lucid dream last longer, though. Using a feeling trigger can help you stay in your dream world for a longer time. Experts say that you can keep your mind and body in the dream by doing things like spinning or rubbing your hands together. So, the next time you find yourself waking up too soon from a lucid dream, try adding a sensation trigger to stay in the dream longer and learn more about all of its options.

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