Summary of “How to Recover From a Night of Bad Dreams”

My dream last night was so upsetting that I actually don’t want to describe it, for fear that will somehow make it come true, but I’ll just say that it involved a family member’s extremely gruesome health emergency.
Thankfully this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me too often, but when it does it’s jarring, and leaves me emotionally drained and anxious all day – even though I know what I dreamt isn’t “Real.” I tend to feel guilty about dwelling on something I only imagined, but according to Alice Robb, author of Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey, out later this month, it’s normal to experience real, bodily effects after traumatic dreams.
“Emotions and stress experienced in dreams can have very real emotional and physiological consequences,” she says.
In the long-term, Robb suggests learning to lucid dream, or even just practicing lucid dreaming techniques during the day.
In her book, she writes: “If people can learn to become conscious in their dreams, they can wake themselves up or even banish their dream-foes.” She describes a 2006 experiment done by psychologists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, in which the researchers asked some participants to practice lucid dream induction techniques on their own, gave private lucid dreaming lessons to others, and then left a third group untreated.
“[and] the improvement didn’t depend on achieving lucidity; several people who never managed to become lucid in their dreams still had a reduction in nightmares.
“Dream recall is sharpest right when you wake up, and I like knowing as many details as I can – rather than having that hazy feeling of ‘WTF happened last night to make me feel this way?'” Dream journals are often recommended as a means to greater self-intuition, but they can be more utilitarian, too.
If writing your dreams down isn’t your scene, or even if it is, sometimes it’s helpful to – yes – talk about your dreams with a willing listener or two.

The orginal article.