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NEW ARTICLE! BUDDHISM BASICS ANYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM
NEW ARTICLE! BUDDHISM BASICS ANYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM

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Get Mindful

HACKING YOUR DREAMS Just Might Get You the Life You Always Wanted

Hacking Your Dreams Just Might Get You the Life You Always Wanted
@jensallure
It’s no surprise to any of us that everyone dreams. Whether you’re dreaming of strange and wonderful things or waking up every day with no memory of your dreams, the fact of the matter is that once we close our eyes, our subconscious takes over and we enter into another world, passively enjoying the ride. Which normally is fine (because frankly, we’re sometimes tired of having to steer the ship that is our mind). But what if there were a way to tap into your dreams a little more actively — and in turn, manifest the life of your actual dreams? Sounds a little Inception-ish? It just might be. And we don’t care. We’re here to manifest the lives we’ve always wanted —- and dream hacking might be the answer.

What IS dream hacking?

Dream hacking is the process of manipulating your dreams from the outside-in by using behavior and stimuli. Very sci-fi, we know. And though dream research is an emerging science, there are some studies that point to the possibility that dream hacking affects your dreams — and accesses untapped creativity. This works in part because sleep doesn’t mean shutting the lights in your brain completely off for 8 hours. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The brain doesn’t rest while we sleep — it’s wildly active, as the subconscious takes over at night. Essentially, dreaming is thinking — just in a different state. Kinda shocking, right?

So if manifesting requires thinking and focusing on our goals, and dreaming is thinking … Then we’re essentially missing out on precious hours when we could be manifesting. So how? How can we use our dreaming to help speed up our manifestations? It all starts with focusing the mind. But before we go there, we first need to understand the subconscious mind.

WTH is the subconscious mind?

For a term that’s thrown around so easily, we confess that we actually didn’t fully comprehend the power of our subconscious mind. Turns out, it’s both powerful and…well, complicated. Our subconscious wiring houses all the information that’s not in our conscious mind. That means it’s full of layers and layers of your previous experiences, beliefs, memories, skills — anything you have seen and done. It also guides your actions, and is constantly filtering information from your senses to look for dangers or opportunities. On top of all of this, these layers are also filled with trauma, which we need to filter through in order to manifest — all of which can make for a difficult process, as the subconscious communicates this to your mind.

So it’s safe to say the subconscious is pretty important to who we are as people (which is probably why Freud dedicated his life’s work to it). And it basically works to keep us “safe.” Which is great — until we remember that it also lays the groundwork for the actions that build our lives. So if you want to build toward something new and outside of your comfort zone (hello, dream job of becoming a backup dancer!), you’ll need to influence the subconscious — which, in turn, will influence your dreams.

To do that, you’ll need to go all Spice Girls on your subconscious (I’ll tell ya what I want, what I really really want), and actually tell it what you want so you can begin to dream — and manifest (remember, dreaming is actually thinking, just in a different state). The more time spent dreaming about what you want, the closer you are to manifesting it. Here’s how you can get started.

Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. 

Have you ever watched a scary movie before bed and then had a nightmare later? That’s proof of your subconscious taking in information. Think of it this way: Watching the latest trash reality show or scrolling through Instagram might be feeding your boredom, but it’s also feeding your subconscious information. And this information could very well program your mind —  and, in turn, affect your behaviors over time. For example, if you’re scrolling through Instagram and comparing yourself to someone else and feeling less than (been there, done that!), those feelings have the potential to get stored in your mind, potentially giving your subconscious a lower perception of your self-worth. And that could mean you won’t take the actions you need to work towards the life you want. Yikes.

Focus your thoughts 

Let’s be clear: Your thoughts create your reality. Oprah said itThe Secret said it, Deepak Chopra said it, that one woo-woo girl at the coffee shop said it. And science agrees. There have been multiple studies showing the power of the mind and the positive effects of placebos. This means that people have mitigated — or altogether bypassed — the painful side effects of illnesses when given a placebo drug just by thinkingthat the drug was working. Which just shows that what you think about and how you think about it — whether you’re awake or asleep — definitely matter.

So how does this relate to your dreams? It all starts with calming your mind. A great way to do this is to focus on your breathing through meditation or breathing exercises. Or, simply place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach and feel your body as you breathe. No matter how you go about it, the point is to clear your mind and begin to relax.

Visualize your goals

If you’re familiar with manifestation, you know it’s key to know what you want — and to be specific. If you’re a visual person, start by creating a vision board. Whether you make it with Pinterest or a good old fashioned poster board, a vision board allows you to really see the life you want. And also … it’s just really fun to make?

Pull out your vision board before bed, and focus on each section of your board while holding onto the feeling each piece brings up. Another way to accomplish this is to write down a day in the life that you want — using present tense. Imagine how you would feel, the specific events in your life, and exactly how your day would look — the more specific, the better. Visualizing your ideal life before you fall asleep communicates to your subconscious mind what you want and how you want it — and sets the stage for your mind to dream of it.

Play the right sounds

If you’ve ever heard your dog whining or partner snoring in your dreams, you know that outside sounds can influence your dream world. What a joy. But that’s because there’s a window of time between waking and sleep called hypnagogia. In this twilight zone, you’re in a semi-lucid sleep state, where you move towards the early stages of dreaming while still holding onto reality.

And things start to get, um, trippy — especially if you’ve fallen asleep to something auditory in nature. Your mind will start to distort your perception of reality while your consciousness starts to fade. Eventually, you’ll experience dream-like visuals and sounds — even though you’re not yet dreaming. Basically, you’re in Alice’s Wonderland.

Luckily, when it comes to hacking your dreams, you can use this state to your advantage. Try playing music or sounds that relate to what you’re trying to manifest. Maybe it’s the sound of gulls that will surround your beach house, or a song that makes you feel happy — the same happiness you’ll feel when you reach that goal. Whatever it is, turn it on as you fall asleep to influence your dreams — and, by proxy, your manifestation.

If you’re thinking to yourself that this sounds “out there,” we get it. But we also know that when it comes to manifesting what you want, you’d rather get there sooner than later. So what’s a little dream hacking as part of the process? Try it consistently, and you just may find yourself looking around at the life you always wanted.