This article is for those who wonder if lucid dreaming is for them or if it is a waste of time to try to learn. The fact is, successful lucid dreamers have certain habits and personality traits in common.
Lucid Dreaming Basics
Lucid dreaming is the art of becoming conscious in our dreams. Most people naturally experience a lucid dream at least once in their lives. In the last decade, a virtual industry has been created to investigate this unusual state of consciousness which is also known as conscious dreaming. The conclusion of experts: lucid dreaming is definitely a learnable skill.
By following tactics and tips of these experts, thousands have learned how to become, as psychologist Stephen LaBerge has said, “awake in their dreams.” However, countless others never get the hang of it. That’s because, while lucid dreaming is a learnable skill, it is not usually a skill that can be picked up in a day or two.
Is lucid dreaming for you? Check out these 5 traits of successful lucid dreamers to see if you are “pre-qualified” to be a great lucid dreamer.
5 Traits of Successful Lucid Dreamers
Those who are usually successful lucid dreamers may have:
Good Dream recall
Before you can become aware you are dreaming, first you have to have good dream recall. Luckily, almost anyone can develop their dream recall over time. However, if you are a sound sleeper, this may be a difficult practice to learn. As it turns out, most lucid dreamers are also light sleepers.
So, to develop dream recall, the first thing is to keep a journal by your bed and start writing down those dreams. When you wake up, rather than hopping out of bed or immediately going over today’s tasks, give yourself some time to feel the emotions that still linger, even if you can’t remember a single dream image. Often, focusing on those emotional residues are the best gateway into remembering dreams.
A Creative and Artistic Streak
Many lucid dreamers are creative people who tend to see outside the box. There is also a correlation with spontaneous lucid dreamers and having “thin boundaries,” which is a psychological term for having high levels of social alertness, and sometimes, social anxiety. In other words, these are folks who have an opportunity to develop their emotional intelligence far beyond what is expected of them. These people tend to avoid horror movies and are more likely to let themselves be emotionally vulnerable in life. Some natural lucid dreamers are also prone to nightmares. If you are creative, artistic, and have been told before, “you are too sensitive,” you have all the markings of a successful lucid dreamer.
Good Balance and an Active Body Practice
There is also an interesting correlation between lucid dreamers and having a better-than-average sense of balance. Weird, I know, but the connection has to do with the vestibular sysyem in the inner ear. Having good balance means you are aware of your body in relationship to the larger environment. This awareness plays an important role in lucid dreams, too.
Relatedly, good lucid dreamers often develop their good balance with an active body practice. Some classic examples are gymnastics, yoga, bicycling, tai chi, and any of the martial arts. Developing the body’s awareness makes for healthy living, and also great lucid dreams.
A Mind Development Practice
Developing lucidity in the dream world is impossible if you can’t be lucid in waking life. That’s probably why many successful lucid dreamers are also meditators. Concentrative meditation such as Zen Buddhism develops the mind’s ability to stay focused for long periods of time.
But if you are not into meditation, there are plenty of other ways to focus the mind. Researcher Jayne Gackenbach has shown that avid gamers have more lucid dreams than average. (Tweet me if you want me to write more about this connection).
Reading before bed –and especially in the middle of the night– can stimulate the parts of the brain that instigate self-awareness. And of course, any activity like playing chess or solving word problems develops the mind in ways that make lucid dreaming more likely.
A Strong Desire to Learn
This can be a self-fulfilled prophesy. But the truth is that most successful lucid dreamers have a strong, internal desire to become aware during their dreams. They don’t give up easily. They set intentions and keep trying. They learn the art of dream incubation.
So, maybe it’s a good time to ask yourself why you want to learn how to lucid dream in the first place. If you understand your motivation, you are more likely to not give up when you hit an obstacle.
A great way to develop intentionality is to journal about your desire to lucid dream before going to bed. Remind yourself what you will do when you realize “Wait a second… this is totally a dream!” I find that keeping track of my motivations is an important part of having a successful lucid dream incubation.
In Five Easy Steps?
Lucid dreaming is not as easy as often claimed, but it is learnable and it is definitely worth the effort. With strong cognitive habits during the day and an even stronger intention, you may just learn in 7 days or less. But more likely, it will take a few months for the mind to reflexively open up during the dream state. Not to worry, we have our whole life to dream.
Did I miss anything? Let me know by leaving a comment.