Feeling a vague discomfort about the safety of lucid dreaming? Is it dangerous: a slippery slope into madness? Will it make you lose touch with reality? You’re not alone in these thoughts, although I say with confidence that there’s nothing to fear. Not even fear itself.
This essay is part one of three addressing the central arguments used against the practice of lucid dreaming. Today, I’ll address lucid dreaming and mental illness, a connection that is being made more frequently than ever as lucid dreaming becomes a household word.
There’s no evidence that lucid dreaming can bring on mental illness. In fact, lucid dreaming has recently been linked to resilience, the ability to maintain stability during and after traumatic events. Lucid dreaming is used clinically to help cope with nightmares, and is considered by many psychologists to promote psychological growth and encourage problem solving.
So why does the myth continue to rear its head? We can thank bad journalism, for one, such as Time magazine’s regrettably unbalanced and fear-mongering piece on murder suspect Jared Loughner last fall.
But the myth goes deeper, and seems to be based on common fears of lucid dreamers, as well as some logical fallacies and headline-grabbing metaphors used by dream psychologists.
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