Nightmare Buster Exercise
Learn a way to stop recurring nightmares.
This exercise is for if you have a particular nightmare which persists or becomes particularly disruptive to your mornings.
It is not suitable if your dream is a direct replay or a reenactment of the unwanted sexual event(s) because that is better dealt with in the same way as a flashback.
- Pick one of your unpleasant dreams or nightmares to work on. If you have several dreams choose the least challenging to start with. You can always repeat the process with other more intense dreams later. Only work on one dream at a time.
- Write the narrative of the just the start of the dream down in as much detail as you can. Include the colours, sounds and sensations you felt. Was anyone else there? What were you doing? You can draw a picture if that helps you.
- Remember that it is your choice to do this and that you can stop writing or thinking about the dream and do something else any time you want.
- As you come to the end of your description change the ending so that it suits you. Put as much detail into your imagined ending as you did for the start, including what you would see, hear and touch. If you drew the start be sure you also draw your ending.
- Every night just before going to bed re-read your account and spend time really visualising your ending.
- Then perform a relaxation technique as you fall asleep. If you don’t know any yet you could try the very simple 5-3 Breathing Method which involves concentrating on breathing deeply and slowly and counting to 3 as you breath in and 5 as you breath out.
- Do this every evening for at least a week.
- When you are satisfied that you have altered the unpleasant dream to suit you better, you can choose to work on another nightmare that is slightly more intense than the last.
You can also learn a variety of relaxation techniques to keep it interesting, and you will find that this process will not only address your nightmares but will improve your general ability to calm yourself down when needed throughout the day.