Recent study reveals 5 strategies used by lucid dreamers to master their dreams.
Lucid dreaming, when one becomes aware of the fact they are dreaming while still asleep, are a sought after experience because the dreamer can choose what they would like to experience and attempt to steer the dream to their desire. Lucid dreamers often are able to do things that are impossible in the waking world, like flying.
However, the actual level of control available in lucid dreams varies widely, sometimes it is difficult even to control one’s body or to maintain lucidity, whereas other times individuals can actually make people or places appear in their dreams on command. Anecdotally, many techniques have been reported to increase one’s ability to control aspects of a lucid dream, but only recently a research study was conducted to systematically survey these ‘lucid dream control strategies’.
A recent study collected surveys from a sample of 107 adults who report at least 1 lucid dream per year. Importantly, the survey asked about strategies to increase ‘high-level’ control, which means being able to control the dream in a way that would be impossible in waking, e.g. flying, going through walls, controlling the dream scene, making objects or characters appear or disappear, etc.
This type of high-level control is more difficult to master than normal dream control, which can include making choices of how to act in a dream and controlling one’s own thoughts or bodily behaviors, for example, picking up an object, opening a door, speaking with a character, etc.
The survey contained a variety of questions, but most critical was the following open-ended question: “In the past 12 months, have you used one or more strategies that allowed you to exert a high-level control in a lucid dream or lucid nightmare? If yes, describe in detail.”
The researchers then completed a content analysis of the responses provided in this open-ended survey, which revealed five different categories of lucid dream control strategies reported by participants. These five strategies included:
– Verbal strategies. Verbalization could be directed toward other characters, the dream, or even the subconscious mind. For instance, a lucid dreamer might tell another dream character ‘you are my guide, right?’ or, the dreamer could call out for a specific character to appear, such as a friend or family member. Other lucid dreamers reported stating expectations or yelling commands, like ‘around the corner I will find…’ or ‘Pause…Freeze!’.
-Dream object or environment strategies. Dreamers reported using portals or opening doors or going through walls to change dream settings. Another dreamer reached into their pocket to pull something out, or a dreamer could use a magic wand to make objects appear. This strategy could be inspired by movies or TV shows the dreamer has seen, where similar magical objects or portals appear.