Dealing with your fears by way of lucid dreaming might make it easier to overcome a phobia, examine suggests

A current examine gives proof that lucid dreaming could also be an efficient instrument for overcoming irrational phobias. Slightly below half of members who confronted a concern by way of lucid dreaming reported a discount in concern after awakening. The findings are set to be printed within the journal Psychology of Consciousness: Principle, Analysis, and Apply.

Throughout a lucid dream, an individual turns into conscious that they’re dreaming and should even be capable of affect the course of their dream. Lucid dreaming has been scientifically studied within the lab and tends to happen throughout REM sleep, the stage of the sleep cycle related to fast eye actions and vivid dreaming.

Psychology research have recommended that one of these dreaming can be utilized for therapeutic functions, for instance, to cut back the prevalence of nightmares and enhance sleep high quality. The researchers behind the brand new examine needed to research whether or not lucid dreaming could be useful for treating fears and phobias which can be unrelated to goals. Inside a lucid dream, an individual can discover a daunting scenario from the bodily world whereas remaining in a secure atmosphere.

“We examine every part associated to section states like sleep paralysis, lucid goals, false awakenings, and so on,” mentioned examine writer Michael Raduga, the founding father of the Section Analysis Middle. “One of many important objectives is to analysis its software alternatives. Many lucid dreaming practitioners report overcoming fears and even phobias on account of their apply, and we determined to know extra about it.

For his or her examine, Raduga and his co-authors recruited an internet pattern of 76 individuals who have been accustomed to lucid dreaming. These topics have been requested to induce a lucid dream after which to confront an object of their concern throughout the dream. The members reported their stage of concern earlier than the dream and through the dream. After waking up, they indicated whether or not their stage of concern elevated, decreased, or stayed the identical in comparison with earlier than their lucid dream.

The researchers have been in a position to analyze experiences from 55 members. These outcomes indicated that almost all members’ preliminary concern ranges have been excessive, with 71% reporting robust concern earlier than the lucid dreaming. Upon waking up, 51% of members reported that their concern stayed the identical, and 49% reported that their concern decreased. Notably, not one of the members mentioned that their concern had elevated after the dreaming.

Earlier than conducting their examine, the researchers had hypothesized that the depth of the concern skilled previous to the dream would have an effect on concern discount. They clarify that “the goal emotion have to be felt clearly for a psychotherapeutic impact to happen.” The outcomes supported this speculation, revealing that larger concern earlier than the lucid dream was related to a better probability of decreased concern upon awakening. Of members who reported robust concern earlier than the dream, 62% reported decreased concern after waking up. Of those that reported low/common concern earlier than the dream, solely 25% reported decreased concern after awakening.

“If an individual has phobias, which make them undergo, it’s doable to do away with the issue whereas being asleep,” Raduga informed PsyPost. “The simplest approach is to learn to induce lucid goals after which intentionally encounter the supply of the concern in there.”

Members’ change in concern was not related to their stage of concern through the dream, their gender, their expertise with lucid dreaming, their methodology of inducing the lucid dream, or the best way they got here out of the dream (e.g., awakening due to a sound, intentionally waking up).

Since lucid dreaming happens with fast eye motion, the apply calls to thoughts a remedy method referred to as eye motion desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) remedy. This remedy focuses on treating detrimental ideas and emotions which can be tied to unprocessed reminiscences whereas repeatedly shifting the eyes in a selected approach. The examine authors say that future analysis ought to discover this potential affiliation between EMDR and lucid dreaming.

“Extra research are wanted on this course, as a result of we made only a glimpse within the course of overcoming phobias,” Raduga mentioned. “We didn’t encounter any detrimental points through the examine, however it doesn’t imply they didn’t exist. We should discover all of them. Additionally to induce lucid goals, some information is required. So it’s not simple to realize the same outcome typically.”

Total, the findings counsel that lucid dreaming has potential therapeutic results in regards to the therapy of phobias, particularly if the phobia is intense. For the reason that stage of concern skilled through the dream was not discovered to have an effect on members’ concern discount after awakening, this implies that the exact act of confronting one’s concern is what’s vital. The authors suggest that future experiments on this subject may ask members to speak with their concern upon encountering it within the dream.

“Sooner or later, we’re anticipating many related research from different analysis teams,” Raduga mentioned. “It’ll assist all of as to know extra about lucid dreaming software areas. Most likely, many different psychological issues could possibly be solved within the dream world.”

The examine, “Overcoming phobias by lucid dreaming”, was authored by Zhanna Zhunusova, Michael Raduga, and Andrey Shashkov.

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