Dreams have long been the subject of intense scrutiny, and the subject of lucid dreams even more so. Lucid dreams can be defined as any experience within the dream in which you become aware you are dreaming. If we are asleep and become aware we are dreaming, what good does it do? Well, psychologists have conducted studies that have shown multiple benefits to lucid dreaming.
Ward Off Nightmares – Thanks to lucid dreaming, nightmares don’t have to be traumatic, dreaded experiences. Those who know they are dreaming can see threats for what they are—nonexistent. In the face of perceived danger, the knowledge that one is dreaming automatically relieves anxiety because the individual knows events aren’t really taking place and no harm can occur.
Enhance Creativity – Because the brain is very active and unconstrained during lucid dreaming cycles, it is more creative than at other times. This creativity carries over into the dreamer’s waking life, allowing for greater problem-solving ability and artistic expression.
Embrace Adventure – Dreams offer a level of adventure that often isn’t possible in real life. Due to the realization that one is in a dream, anything can occur. The traditional limits of time or laws of nature no longer need apply. Whatever can be imagined can be fulfilled, and the experience can be very freeing.
Learn or Practice Skills – Thinking about or visualizing a task enhances the ability to perform that task. Mental imagination uses the same muscles that would be used if the action were actually performed. A study on the effect of imagery revealed that imagined exercise produced significant elevations in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption.
Alleviate Depression – A study by the Department of Human Development at Cornell University revealed that the frequency of lucid dreaming is directly tied to depression. There is a positive link between lucid dreaming and how much control people feel they have over their lives. Because lucid dreaming gives one a sense of control while asleep, that same feeling of control can be felt while awake.
Lucid dreaming, like any skill, can be nurtured and developed. There are many techniques available for those who would like to learn or perfect the art of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is a natural state when the conscious brain awakens during sleep, turning dreams into an alternate reality where all senses come to life, enabling one to do things limited only by their imagination.
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