Recurring nightmares can be a huge problem for many people. They can come up because of traumatic events in a person’s life, or they can come out of seemingly nowhere. Recurring nightmares can be physically and mentally exhausting. At best, they can leave you feeling unrested because you’re likely to wake up during nightmares. At worse, they can leave you with insomnia because you dread going to sleep and falling into these awful forms of dreams.
There are lots of different treatments for recurring nightmares. If you’re having recurring nightmares after a specific event in your life, chances are likely you haven’t fully dealt with that event on a psychological level. It’s a good idea to meet with a psychologist or another counselor about the event that you think may have caused the recurring nightmares. Keep in mind that the nightmares don’t always necessarily follow the same storyline as the traumatic event, but if they start happening within a few months of something terribly traumatic, chances are likely that the dream is somehow related to the problem.
Even as you’re dealing with recurring nightmares through counseling, though, you can also deal with them through lucid dreaming. Many psychologists are actually starting to use techniques similar to lucid dreaming to deal with recurring nightmares. For instance, they may have clients visualize as they’re falling asleep that the same recurring nightmares have different endings. Eventually with enough visualization and setting of intention, the client can learn how to change the course of their dream without actually becoming lucid.
Of course, if you can become lucid, fighting recurring nightmares is even easier. At first, it may be a little scary because you’ll realize you’re dreaming and may get a little freaked out by the realization. You may also wake up when you become lucid, which can actually compound the problem of lack of sleep or interrupted sleep when you’re having lucid dreams.
Once you learn to become lucid regularly, though, you’ll be more likely to experience a better level of control over your nightmares. This level of control will allow you to combat recurring nightmares in different ways. You may fight back against an attacker or turn something scary into something funny or amusing. You could totally change your dreamscape so you end up on a warm, gorgeous, relaxing beach. Another option might be to explore your recurring nightmares to figure out what they mean. This can be a little scary, but it can be one of the most helpful options for many people who are struggling with recurring nightmares.
Setting Your Intention
One of the best ways to deal with recurring nightmares through lucid dreaming is to set your intention that you’ll realize you’re dreaming when your nightmare next occurs and that you’ll deal with the problem in a specific way. MILD, or Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreaming, is one of the best ways to set your intentions to make this happen.
To use MILD to combat the effects of recurring nightmares, you should come up with a short phrase to repeat to yourself as you’re falling asleep. For instance, “Next time I have this nightmare, I will realize I’m dreaming, and I will fly away to a Tahitian beach.” Be specific with your mnemonic, and repeat it as you’re falling asleep. By focusing on this one thing, you set the intention of your subconscious to wake up during your nightmare and to combat it in a specific way.
Learning to take control of your recurring nightmares is empowering on many levels. Even if you continue to have these nightmares at first, you’ll know that you can change your recurring nightmares into good dreams. This can take away much of the fear of sleep that comes with recurring nightmares.
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