The powers of dreams are phenomenal. Dreams can significantly impact how you feel, act and think. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and how they help us process and cope with different emotions and experiences. After spending many years researching the topic, it came as no surprise when I found out dreams have the ability to heal trauma while sleeping. Yes, that’s right, lucid dreaming has been found to positively affect those who are diagnosed with PTSD. Through my research, I wanted to dive deeper into the subject and discover the benefits of dreaming on physical and mental well-being. Before we delve into lucid dreaming for PTSD, I thought it would be helpful to go over what PTSD is and what it looks like today, as well as provide a brief overview of lucid dreaming.
Deep Dive: Understanding PTSD
You might be wondering what PTSD is; it is when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with symptoms including nightmares, flashbacks and extreme anxiety or pain. PTSD symptoms can also include intrusive thoughts or memories, avoiding certain individuals or situations, and exhibiting hyperarousal or hypervigilance. Examples of a traumatic event include a natural disaster, physical assault or conflict. While traditional PTSD treatments like medication and therapy may be beneficial for some individuals, there are alternative strategies that have been linked to having positive effects.
To provide insight into the treatment options that are readily available for those diagnosed with PTSD, let’s examine what modern-day medicine looks like for the condition. Modern PTSD therapy frequently includes a combination of medication and counseling. While pharmaceuticals like antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills can help with symptoms, treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can also help patients understand and manage traumatic situations. Not everyone reacts well to these standard medical practices and some individuals tend to benefit more from alternative methods. One alternative method that helps minimize symptoms and improve overall general health is lucid dreaming for PTSD.
Understanding Lucid Dreaming
To better understand what lucid dreaming for PTSD means, let’s walk through what lucid dreaming entails. Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is aware of their dreaming and occasionally has control over their dream and level of consciousness. Lucid dreaming is incredible because when an individual is lucid dreaming, they have the ability to not only explore their subconscious and confront anxieties and phobias, they can even learn useful skills! Even though developing lucid dreaming may take time, there are various techniques, such as reality testing, journaling and meditation, you can practice in order to achieve it. Once you achieve lucid dreaming, the possibilities are endless. Flying, discovering new surroundings and settings and engaging with characters in your dream are all common lucid dreaming experiences. Lucid dreaming has the ability to boost one’s self-confidence and general well-being, as well as give a sense of empowerment.
The importance of dreams are often overlooked as they are crucial for preserving physical and mental health. Lucid dreaming has the ability to give dreamers a powerful insight into self-discovery and personal development. With lucid dreaming, dreamers may direct the dream they are having, opening up a world of discovery and experimentation. Numerous advantages of lucid dreaming have been demonstrated, including enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities and decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms. Lucid dreaming also offers a chance for dreamers to face and get rid of phobias in a secure and comfortable setting.
During the early days of Greek medicine, people took notice of dreams’ healing potential. It was believed if an ill person slept in the temple of the god Asclepius, they could awaken and be healed or with knowledge of the required cure by a divine dream. Some still uphold this concept, incorporating dream work into their therapeutic techniques. Interpreting dreams and using the knowledge acquired to discover and resolve underlying emotional or psychological problems are both examples of dream work. Thus, dreams have been known to foster self-awareness, self-understanding and personal development.
Lucid Dreaming for PTSD
Investigating the significance of dreams can teach us essential matters about our inner selves – knowledge that we should use to improve our lives. I performed a pilot study to further investigate the benefits of dreaming and how they can reduce PTSD symptoms. The study involved 49 adults with chronic PTSD symptoms who spent six days participating in an online lucid dreaming workshop where they learned various strategies like mindfulness exercises, dream recall and lucid dream induction techniques. The study evaluated whether internally-generated intentions within a lucid dream could influence dreamers physiology and promote inner healing. Over the course of the six days, participants kept note of their dreams and a follow-up was done one month after the workshop. Saliva samples were taken to measure stress levels, with the idea that stress indicators would be reduced in the morning following a therapeutic lucid dream.
According to the study, those who participated in the lucid dreaming healing workshop experienced less PTSD symptoms, fewer nightmares and an overall improvement in their well-being. These improvements lasted even at the one-month follow-up. However, there was no discernible change in these metrics between people who experienced lucid dreams that were therapeutic, regular or non-lucid. It was found that 76% of participants reported having at least one lucid dream as a result of the program; more than half of these were therapeutic lucid dreams. Saliva tests revealed those who experienced therapeutic lucid dreams had reduced stress indicators in the morning. However, it’s important to note that the study’s sample size was small; thus, further research is required.
The study’s outcome was impressive, and the results did not disappoint! It was discovered that taking part in a lucid dreaming workshop positively affected PTSD patients by easing their symptoms, lowering dreamers’ nightmare rates and boosting their general well-being. The study highlights the complicated relationship between our bodies, thoughts, conscious states and personal healing in addition to being a viable treatment option for PTSD. While lucid dreaming cannot be entirely responsible for the dreamers’ positive results, it may have a significant impact, given that greater well-being and a good mood are linked to lucid dreaming. It is important to note that the study’s results demonstrated the effects of a lucid dreaming workshop that entails more than just lucid dreaming. The study also emphasizes how simply paying attention to dreams and receiving group support can go a long way.
In conclusion, increasing evidence suggests that lucid dreaming offers a novel treatment option to help individuals alleviate PTSD symptoms, including distressing nightmares. Based on the provocative results of our pilot study, we hypothesize that lucid dreaming, through an altered state of conscious awareness, allows an individual with PTSD to take control of their nightmares and transform their past traumas. This is blockbuster news for many suffering from PTSD because PTSD is often difficult to treat. Although more research is needed, lucid dreaming has a great deal of potential to improve a dreamer’s mental health and wellness – a subject worthy of continued research. Ultimately, we believe researchers will provide compelling scientific evidence that lucid dreaming is a powerful untapped resource to improve our health and everyday lives.