Can We Control Our Dreams?

In the morning my alarm wakes me up and interrupts me from a really good dream. I try to go back to sleep and dream about the same dream again but it never really works. Or some nights I get nightmares and they disrupt my sleep. I asked myself what If I would be able to control my dreams? I would never have to have another nightmare again, and would be able to dream about whatever I wanted.

According to research, with using realistic and mental techniques, we can influence our dreams and use them to get information from the source of our unconscious mind. Deirdre Barrett, who is an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, is persuaded that we all have the ability to control our dreams. She says it Is feasible to effect dreams with a technique called ‘dream incubation’. According to Wikipedia, dream incubation is “a practiced technique of learning to “plant a seed” in the mind, in order for a specific dream topic to occur either for recreation or to attempt to solve a problem.

To try to help get this technique down, dream about a particular thing, and focus on it once you are in bed. Since dreams are visual, holding an image that is related to the subject will help. You can also put an item or photo that portrays the preferred dream on your bedside table. Another important factor of using one’s dreams innovatively is to refrain from leaping out of bed the instant you wake up. Doing so means you’ll lose half your dream content as the day’s commotions pull you into wakefulness. If you don’t remember a dream instantly, lie quiet and see if a thought or image comes to mind. Sometimes a whole dream will come showering back.

The idea of the second approach is to make use of the information accessible by our unconscious as we sleep. We may assume that thinking is our greatest problem-solving strategy, but the power of our conscious mind is quite weak. Obsessively thinking about a problem is strongly connected with stress, depression and anxiety. So letting the unconscious mind work on it may be healthier and more beneficial.

Barrett put this to the test in a week-long study involving college students; she asked them to use dream incubation as a problem-solving tool. About half of the students dreamed about the problem and one-quarter of them solved it. “If we’re stuck on a problem, it’s our waking, linear reasoning that’s stuck,” Barrett says.

Dreams are an extremely valuable resource, which most of us solely ignore. Learn to listen to them, even the nasty ones- they’re always trying to tell you something.




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12 thoughts on “Can We Control Our Dreams?

  1. Jeffrey Sherman

    Controlling your dreams is actusally not as difficult as one would imagine, and learning how to lucid dream is an achievable goal for most people. I happen to be able to control my dreams fairly well after training my mind. I started off by maintaining a dream log, which is essentially where you write down what you dreamt each night in hopes the next night you will recognize you are in a dream. The fun begins after the realization that you are dreaming, and then you can manipulate your own dream to a fairly large degree. If you are interesting in learning more, this website is a great introduction to the art of lucid dreaming.

  2. Brian Cunningham

    Dreaming is such a strange topic. I’ve definitely felt the same thing where I can’t quite get the dream I was having back if I wake up from it, but at the same time, in contrast with some of the findings here, I’ve never been able to dream about something by choice simply by thinking about it. In fact, I’ve tried pretty hard in the past to focus on something before I fell asleep, but my dreams would always end up being about something or someone in the back of my mind. Maybe someday we’ll fully understand the mechanic behind our dreams!

  3. Lauren Elizabeth Jardine

    Cool post! Another idea in controlling what you dream about is straight up controlling the dreams! Lucid dreaming is a technique where you have free will in your dreams and are able to do what you want. People try different ways of making this occur, but the biggest struggle is realizing that you’re lucid dreaming and then managing to stay asleep while actively manipulating what is going on. People try things like staring at their hands before going to bed to try and stimulating lucid dreaming, personally I find it happens to me naturally but it can be hard to stay asleep. Check out what Lucidity has to say about it!

  4. Taylor M Stewart

    This is a very well explained post, and I always wondered about this topic. I find myself dreaming about people and things from my actual life, and always wondered the significance of this. There are many theories about dreams, but I believe that they actually do have a deeper meaning or significance. I also feel as though the fact that we remember some dreams more than others is relevant.

  5. mzm6020

    This is such a great topic because this is so relevant to everyone. Dreams are such an amazing concept that it is hard to wrap our heads around it. Every day, I wake up and wonder about my dream. Why did i dream that? Can i dream it again? Can i continue the story tomorrow? Can i control that dream next time? There have been studies on lucid dreams where the person can listen to a certain sound while sleeping, and be able to control their dreams. I have never participated in anything like that, but here’s a link to information on lucid dreams and the ability to control them.

  6. Matthew Hogan

    I have always wanted to be able to control my dreams but have not been able to do it. I decided to look up how to try and control them. First you should write in a journal to see what you are dreaming of a lot. Then when you are actually dreaming you may notice one of these things which can help you to realize that you are dreaming. If you are able to do this then you may be able to start influencing what happens in the dream. I think this is pretty cool ad hope I can learn to do it one day. Here is a link on how to control your dreams:

  7. Francis John Bassani

    There is a correlation to having good dreams the night before and waking up and feeling happy and not the slightest sad or having bad anxiety. I had a pleasant dream the other night where i had the ability to fly. It was a fun experience and I was so happy the next day because of a good dream and a good nights rest. Dreams have the ability to affect your social life as well. If you have a good personality, it is highly likely you dreams will correlate to happiness.

  8. Sean Patrick Hickey

    Ive heard a lot about this and something called lucid dreaming. Apparently it is hard to do but you can train yourself to realize that you are in a dream and then once you realize that you can do whatever you want. It sounds pretty cool but I’ve never been able to do it. thats a website all about it, you should read some of the stuff on there, it is pretty interesting.

  9. Amily Zhuang

    I have definitely felt like I could control my own dreams.
    Just a few nights ago, I woke up from a dream and it was such a good dream I forced myself back to sleep and start dreaming again. It felt like I could control what happens in my dream.

    Also, a lot of my friends tell me about their lucid dreams and try to teach me how to do it.

    Perhaps more information about lucid dreaming would enhance this blog. I love this topic so much! Its so interesting to me that dreams can also make you feel deja vu!

    Here is a video of someone explaining how to lucid dreaming and what it really is!

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