Taking ballsy jumps off platforms, hanging precariously from cliffs, using unparalleled magical powers, and beating (or being) the bad guys are just a few of the reasons people indulge in video games. They offer a chance to escape from reality and give players some adventure and control they may not have in their own lives. Of course gamers play for fun and socialization, but the power trip is nice, too.
Oh? Think you haven’t indulged in one yourself? You’ve never done anything with your Sims that you wouldn’t have done to a real family? It’s easy enough to feed, bathe, and socialize them, and yet we’ve all let our families succumb to one disaster or another. But why? The quick answer is because we can without consequence, and it’s just a game so no harm done.
But if the point of the game is to raise a simulated family then why let them fall into unhealthy behaviors like buying someone’s love with a million rings, letting one character have multiple families, or allowing characters to stay awake until they pass out? Again, because we can – it’s that control, and it’s totally healthy to want to have a little in a world where it can seem like so many things are out of our own. Video games are a fantastic outlet to explore new experiences by proxy and be able to be in charge of something without any responsibility.
If only we could transfer some of those exciting video game scenarios into our own lives and experience that power and adventure without any real consequences. Alas, that’s a feat we can only dream of, and therein lies the answer!
Recent studies, including one of the more groundbreaking ones performed by psychologist and lucid dreamer Jayne Gackenbach have shown that people who frequently play video games are much more likely to experience vivid, lucid dreaming than people who don’t. What gives, though?
Gackenbach argues that playing video games increases a person’s reaction time, attention span, and problem solving – all of which are helpful skills in the real world. The connection between gaming and dreaming is that they both allow you to become immersed in a fantasy world where most of the events revolve around you. And because players are already used to controlling everything in their fantasy worlds through gaming, it can be very easy, and almost natural for them to do the same in a dream.
Basically, every time you pick up a controller and start playing a video game, you’re training your brain to dream lucidly, because your mind becomes more and more used to spending time in a made up reality that it controls. And because your dream is similar to your game, your mind already knows the rules and how to play, allowing you to easily begin to make purposeful decisions.
Of course this doesn’t mean that just because you do play games you’ll instantly have a lucid dream tonight or any other night out of nowhere; but it does mean that your chances of doing it are higher than normal, and that your brain has already started forming neural pathways to do it, which will make it easier when you try. And if you’re looking for a particular style of game to get you going, think Skyrim, Minecraft, or any other open world first person game that lets you immerse yourself into its universe and explore as if you’re actually there.
To start practicing tonight, check out these tips on how to lucid dream and keep on gaming!