This Tutorial Covers:
What Nightmares are
Using Lucidity to Combat Nightmares
Sorting out the Real Life reason for the Nightmare
Using an "envelope" to get rid of a nightmare
I am not a doctor or a psychologist. If you still have problems with nightmares after all this, you may want to see your doctor about it.
What Nightmares Are
Everybody in their life has had, or will have, at least one nightmare. They are absolutely normal things to have - don't think that because you've had a nightmare you might have something wrong with you. (There are cases, however, where nightmares are a cause of something happening in real life). Note that nightmares are not very different from dreams - they are
dreams, except scary ones.
defines a nightmare as:
(full definition @ Wikipedia)
"a dream of particular intensity and with content that the sleeper finds disturbing. They are usually associated with rapid-eye movement (REM) periods of sleep, and may be accompanied by physical movements."
Nightmares are, while you are experiencing them, absolutely terrifying things.
There are different types of nightmare- while they are no set categories, you can have really disgusting nightmares about zombies or a serial killer, or one where you're trying to run away from something and can't run, or even a nightmare about a giant beef-burger trying to eat you (while this may not seem scary in real life, you could find that extremely scary in the middle of a nightmare!)
Nightmares usually seem very
real to the person experiencing them -it's like you've been put into the middle of a horror movie, except it's real. An example would be some sort of zombie nightmare- when you watch it on TV, it's not very scary. However, when you're in a dream it seems as real as waking life, you even believe it is real, and it can make you absolutely terrified.
When you wake up, however, the nightmare doesn't seem very scary any more. But this is not good - if you just ignore it, it could happen again and again until you dread going to sleep!
This is where Lucid Dreaming comes into play - you can use lucidity to "combat" the nightmare and overcome it. However, sometimes simply being lucid is not enough. Even when you are lucid and know
it is a dream, people usually forget that nothing can hurt you - right now this might seem very silly to you: "How can you forget something as fundamental as THAT?
" but in dreams it can be hard to gather your thoughts and the fact it looks real may lure you into believing it can actually hurt you.
(It's my belief that normal dreams don't have a reason. I could be wrong there, however. But I do think that some nightmares do
have a reason to them).
Some people find they have nightmares that keep on occurring every night, every week or over some other period of time. While not always the case, reoccurring nightmares usually occur because of some real life reason. For example, I used to know a woman who was moving house; and during the moving house procedure she had a nightmare about an old house. It kept on happening every night until she had finished moving house. She guessed it was her brain telling her how stressed it felt over all the moving house business.
Recurring nightmares can happen for all sorts of other reasons: family problems, relatives dying, stress at home, a recent disaster that's occurred. The list is endless.
In these nightmares, it will usually keep on happening until the problem is fixed. However, they sometimes go away on their own, probably because the problem was fixed without the person knowing it (sometimes it can be hard to discover what the real problem is).
For the rest of this tutorial, I will be assuming that you can already have some experience in getting yourself lucid. If not, you should go read the DreamViews front page
and other tutorials
. I do appreciate that getting lucid while you have some horrible monster thing gnawing at your leg can be a hard thing to, and so I will be covering that as well.
Using Lucidity To Combat Nightmares
Lucidity is a fantastic tool against nightmares- however, it can sometimes be had to get lucid/keep lucidity when scary things are happening all around you. The answer to this is simple- during waking life keep telling yourself that there's no chance whatsoever that anything can hurt you. Don't just tell yourself this - you need to believe it. You know it's true, anyway: if that nightmare you're having is so scary, how come you aren't dead or something? How come you aren't hurt?
With a bit of practice, you'll be able to carry this knowledge into the nightmare. Once you're lucid, you can simply tell the monsters/nightmare to sod off and mind their own business - and if they/it doesn't, you can use your lucidity to kill the scary stuff with a giant mountain or something. Don't be scared of them in that dream - you know it's not real.
Sometimes you can get lucid and still be scared of the monsters or nightmare, or still believe that you can be hurt. This is because dreams are so real sometimes, and it is naturally hard to collect your thoughts in a dream. Just remember that fact and repeat it every night and learn it like it's the bible - you'll soon have the nightmare sorted out in no time.
Once you've "defeated" a nightmare, it will never appear again. If it does, you can just do the same again - if you've defeated it once it will be even easier next time.
Sorting out the Real Life Reason for the Nightmare
Not all nightmares have a real life reason, or you can't figure out the reason - try using the above method first.
Sometimes when you use the "beat up the nightmare" method, it doesn't work. Or if you have a recurring nightmare, chances are the nightmare is appearing for a reason in real life. This could be: stress, family problems, deaths, disasters, and a magnitude of other reasons.
To fix these sorts of nightmares, you can try and find the reason and sort that out - the nightmare will then go away.
Think of the nightmare and analyze it. What does each bit symbolize? What does it remind you of? For an example, I've taken a nightmare that my granddad once had.
There's a house with gold and silver bars outside - lots of them, but you can't get to them. You go inside the house and open one door and it's got a live skeleton in it, it walks closer and tries to grab you
The house represented his (you guessed it) house. The gold and silver bars were his money, and the reason he couldn't touch it was because his wife was using it all. The skeleton was his wife, she was horrible to him and scared him. In the end, my grandfather got a divorce. The dream went away.
With that example, you should be able to get some idea what your nightmare is about, and relate parts of it to real life. Once you've done this, the last bit is simple - sort out the problem you have.
Do not take a nightmare to be absolutely correct. If you think your nightmare means you've got a relationship problem, for example, don't jump for a divorce. Think about it logically and don't go do it because you think your nightmare means that. It doesn't mean you need a divorce- maybe you just need to talk things out. Maybe it doesn't even mean you have relationship problems!
Using an "envelope" to get rid of a Nightmare
This probably won't work for you, but it worked for me once and so I'm just putting it here.
When I was little, I had a lot of nightmares. I told my grandma about them, and she said "all those nightmares are in an envelope, right? And now they're gone". And that was it. I thought it was true - those nightmares were gone. And sure enough, they stopped.
So, if you're at a loss for what to do, try it. Put those nightmares mentally in an envelope and get rid of them- mentally burn them or whatever. Or if you want, write down the account of the nightmares for real life, stick them in an envelope and burn them.
The important thing about this method (and pretty much everything to do with lucid dreaming in general), is to believe it will work - and if you do believe it without doubts, it will. Probably sounds extremely stupid to you, but it worked for me.
Wikipedia's Full Definition of a Nightmare
Wikipedia's Full Definition of Night Terror
Google search for "nightmares"