Almost everyone has had a nightmare in their lives. There are actually conditions under which you are more likely to experience a nightmare such as when you are sick, stressed or anxious, when you have been traumatized by an event, when you’re having some relationship problems, or after the intake of drugs or alcohol.
There are several nightmare scenarios that seem to be occurring with most people. These include: being chased by someone, falling, death of loved ones and being trapped. Lucid dreaming may not be able to get you rid of these nightmares forever, but it will help you regain your control over your own dream and turn the nightmare into an exciting experience.
Lucid dreaming is all about awareness: knowing that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. Because nightmares are so emotionally charged, they are actually an easy way of getting into a lucid state – usually the events in them are so terrible, that even your sleeping self understands that they are likely to be unreal and may make you question “Am I asleep?” Once you realize it’s all a dream, you have the ultimate control: you can choose to just wake up and escape the nightmare, or you could take advantage of your lucid state and decide to explore the fear to its roots and then go back to all the funnier opportunities you have when lucid dreaming. For people who are wondering if conscious dreaming is dangerous, these kinds of dreams can help cure nightmares, so they are completely safe.
If you are having a recurring nightmare and you are scared you might experience it again, start giving yourself reality checks. This means questioning whether you are dreaming when you know you’re awake and becoming very conscious of your body and what surrounds you. For example, look at your hands and examine them closely. Rub your fingers together and become aware of how that feels. You can do this with any part of your body – just look at it closely and examine every little hair and wrinkle. You can also do a reality check of your surroundings. One of the most common ones is switching on the lights – usually in dreams it doesn’t matter how many time to switch the button – the light just won’t change. When you get used to these reality checks when you’re awake, you can more easily do them when you’re asleep. They are like indicators that something is unreal simply because it couldn’t be real.
Here’s an example of how you can use lucid dreaming to fight your nightmares. Imagine you are running. You don’t need to know what you are running from – you just know that something bad is coming after you, and you run for your life. Usually this will continue until you wake up in cold sweat; however, now imagine that you realize it’s all just a dream, and it’s your dream. You stop running, you turn around only to discover that the epic monster is just… well, nothing to be worried about. You can have a conversation with it, fight it, or simply laugh at its face – and then continue with your lucid dream adventures.
The best thing about this self-therapy is that it can be applied to any nightmare – once you become aware that your nightmare is not real, you are the master of it.