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Have you ever dreamed that you could fly, travel the world in a heartbeat, walk down the red carpet, or play baseball with your favorite team, before waking up and feeling sad your dream was over? What if you knew that you could have such dreams again, at will?

A lucid dream is one in which you are conscious that you are dreaming, and you can control yourself, the dream, other characters, and sometimes even when you wake up. People are born with various degrees of control over their dreams. No matter whether you've ever had a lucid dream before, you may be able to, as long as you can commit to some hard work. Here are the first steps to learning how to lucid dream.

1. Commit to remembering your dreams.
If you don't normally remember what you dream, make a commitment to remember. You will start to be more aware of your dreams both in the moment and afterwards. Before you go to sleep, mentally repeat to yourself, “I remember my dreams when I wake up,” until you fall asleep. Do this for at least a week before proceeding to the next step. You should start to remember dreams – or at least fragments of dreams, emotions, or sensations – when you wake up.

2. Write down your dreams when you wake up.
Begin to write your dreams down, even if they are fragmentary. This is a very important step, so make the effort to keep a journal and pencil by your bedside. The moment you wake up, write down everything you remember. Try to stay in roughly the same position you slept in until you're done writing. If you still aren't remembering much, be patient and continue to repeat the mantra you have learned every day before bed, and write down whatever you do remember in the morning.

3. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, and don't drink alcohol or use drugs.
You will have an easier time of remembering your dreams if you get enough sleep every night – and this ranges from five to nine hours, depending on the individual. Eating healthily will also help you remember dreams, as will avoiding alcohol, caffeine, or any mood- or mind-altering drugs. If you work shifts, you might find it easier to practice this during your days off, or you might find the opposite. Sometimes when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to work, it's easiest to remember your dreams; just get in the habit of going to bed a couple of minutes sooner so that you'll have the time when you wake up to write down your dreams.

4. Notice patterns in your dreams by looking through your dream journal.
Once you have a few weeks of dreams recorded in your dream journal, you will be able to find common themes. Perhaps you tend to dream about cannons a lot, or you are surrounded by clocks, or you often find yourself naked in public in your dreams. Look for specific, unusual dream signs. Try to Dream signs that revolve around events from your everyday life aren't as effective as odd dream signs.

5. Start to focus on everything around you while you're awake.
If you often find yourself blindly accepting bizarre things that happen in your dreams, ask yourself whether you're being too blind in your everyday life. If you always have your head in the clouds, you might find it hard to notice what's unusual around you. Be curious about your surroundings in your waking life. The more you're present in every moment, the more you'll find yourself able to recognize when something is “off” in your dreams. This means you should start to pay attention to touch, taste, hearing, sight, smell, and who is nearby. You might even find more joy in your everyday life.

6. Start to do “reality checks” every so often.
Pick something that happens frequently in everyday life, such as checking the clock or getting in the car. Every time the event you pick occurs, ask yourself if you are awake or asleep. Don't just blindly do this; take a moment to consciously evaluate whether your surroundings make any sense. How do you know that you're awake at any given time? Incorporate your dream signs into this practice, too. Look around for cannons, notice whether you're clothed, or look to see if there are too many clocks around, for instance. Keep this up for a few weeks until it becomes a habit, but not an unconscious one. Continue to carefully evaluate whether you're asleep each time.

7. Tell yourself that you will become lucid, and be prepared for it.
Just like you repeated your mantra of remembering your dreams, here's a new mantra for you: “I will be lucid in my dreams tonight, and I will remember it when I wake up.” Repeat this to yourself before you sleep. Your first intentional lucid dream might be a sheer accident as you do a reality check in a dream and then realize you're dreaming, or it might be a conscious effort you make as you fall asleep. Try not to be so excited that you wake up; instead, stay calm and orient yourself in your dream by focusing on what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell in your surroundings. If your dream starts to fade, stay in control by spinning around rapidly in a circle like a top while imagining the situation or dream you'd like to have.

Be patient if you haven't yet had a lucid dream after a few weeks. For some people, their first lucid dream happens the very night they begin reading about lucid dreaming, and for others, it takes months of hard work. However long you have to work at it, your first lucid dream will be incredibly satisfying, and every subsequent lucid dream will become easier!

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