Most beginning lucid dreamers have trouble figuring out how to stay lucid. This isn’t a failure on their part or anything. It’s totally normal. How to stay lucid has been a big question for lucid dreamers across history. Especially at the beginning, learning how to stay lucid is tough.
Why is figuring out how to stay lucid so hard? The main reason is that when you enter into a dream and realize you’re lucid, your emotions can get in the way and essentially wake you up or shut off the lucid, thinking part of your brain. Also, when you first start becoming lucid, you’re likely to begin lucidity at a point where you’re close to real consciousness, anyway. You may already be waking up, so it can be hard to stay asleep and stay in your dreams.
Some people have trouble learning how to stay lucid, though, even when they aren’t waking up. For instance, they might realize they’re lucid, stay lucid for a few seconds, and then get distracted and forget they’re dreaming, losing their lucidity. This is a less common problem, but it’s still a possibility.
I’ll deal with these problems separately, since the ways you learn how to stay lucid in each situation are slightly different.
How to Stay Lucid When You’re Waking Up
If you’re constantly waking up right after you become lucid and are wondering how to stay lucid when you’re waking up, the first thing to do is relax and cut yourself some slack. Basically, you’re probably already close to waking up by the time you achieve lucidity. As you become lucid more often, you’ll naturally start achieving lucidity earlier in your sleep cycle, allowing you to stay asleep for longer.
Also, though, you can practice anchoring yourself in your dream, which can keep you asleep and lucid for longer. One of my favorite ways to anchor myself when I was learning how to stay lucid was to rub my hands together. The physical sensation of rubbing your hands together combined with the detail you can see when you’re closely examining your hands can make the whole dream seem more real.
Another way to learn how to stay lucid is to simply focus hard on the dream. Sometimes this can draw you back down into the dream, preventing you from waking up. Check out the details of your surroundings, and notice as many details as you can. Start interacting with your dream environment in a calm, collected way as soon as possible. Standing in one spot wondering what to do next is almost guaranteed to help you lose lucidity!
One final idea for those who are struggling with how to stay lucid when waking up is to simply go back to sleep. When you awaken, don’t move or open your eyes. Instead, try the WILD technique, and you may fall back into your lucid dream again.
How to Stay Lucid When You’re Simply Losing Lucidity
I’ve talked with some lucid dreamers who will become lucid only to forget they’re dreaming a minute later and to not remember the rest of the dream. The best way to overcome this is to do frequent reality checks after you’ve established lucidity. I also like waking up the part of my brain that thinks logically by doing math problems in my head, though math isn’t my strong suit.
Continuing to perpetuate lucidity is the most basic technique on how to stay lucid when you keep losing lucidity. Don’t get distracted and forget that you’re in a dream. Instead, constantly check and re-check reality so you continue to understand you’re dreaming throughout the rest of your dream.
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