What Is A Dream Journal and How To Keep One
By Syju John
Dream Journal – Have you ever woken up early in the morning from a vivid dream feeling dazed and confused? Has the storyline made you question how your mind works? If you want to understand your dreams better, start a dream journal.
What Is a Dream Journal?
A dream journal (or dream diary) is a type of daily diary you use to record your dreams. Each time you wake up from a vivid dream or nightmare, you can jot down the details while you still remember them, like your ex flying around like Superman or your mailman chasing you down the street.
While dreams aren’t completely understood from a scientific perspective, the most popular and widely accepted theory is that dreams are a gateway into your subconscious mind, the one that’s constantly processing information and unresolved thoughts. In this respect, recording your dreams can give you insight into what’s going on in your mind.
Why Should You Keep a Dream Journal?
Through the process of recording your dreams, whether they’re good dreams, bad dreams, recurring themes or sexual dreams, you may begin to notice patterns. Those trends can help you understand how your mind is processing the day to day aspects of your waking life and bigger issues. You can even explore lucid dreaming, where you try to influence the content of what you dream about. This occurs when you are aware you are dreaming and have the ability to influence the dream.
Besides this, maintaining a dream journal gives you an insight into your subconscious mind. The fears that you don’t necessarily think about, the relationships and the activities of your life that has embedded itself into your mind.
How Can You Remember Your Dreams?
The reason why you often don’t remember your dreams is because neurotransmitters (like norepinephrine) and brain activity that creates memories is at low levels while you sleep. And your dream often concludes before you wake up. However, when you wake up straight out of a dream, you’re more likely to remember it, as your brain begins to fire up memory pathways. Luckily, there’s one method that makes it easier to remember your dreams: Set an intention to recall them when you wake up. Your brain is a powerful machine. When you tell it what to do, it’ll most likely comply.
Before you sleep, think about what you intend to do with a dream journal. Tell yourself to remember, and you’ll be surprised to see how obedient your brain is.
5 Steps To Keeping A Dream Journal
Step 1: Pick out your journal
Consider which recording device speaks to you: Is it the Notes app on your phone, a journaling application on your laptop, or are you more comfortable with the old-school paper and pen? Do you want to use a voice-to-text application? Think about what you’re most likely to use, and keep it by your bedside. If you have chosen a book, keep it open to an empty page. You don’t want to waste mind space opening it up to a blank page when you wake up.
Step 2: Set an intention to remember your dreams
When you set an intention, your brain is inclined to follow through. Before you go to sleep, tell your mind to remember your dreams—you’ll be surprised at how powerful this is. When you wake up, take a minute to close your eyes and remember what you saw, who was there, what happened, and more. Try to record as much as possible, even if it doesn’t make sense. Those trivial details that you tend to leave behind may contain a wealth of information.
Step 3: Draw your dreams
If you can’t describe your dreams in words, draw them out. Sometimes it’s easier to express yourself in pictures, especially if you’re in artistic person. Sketch the characters, scenery, and even the colors to help paint a picture. If you aren’t particularly artistic, you can just start writing and let it flow. Give each of your dreams a title and move forward from there.
Step 4: Don’t try to over-narrate
Dreams are more like brief interactions than drawn-out novels; there may not be a plot and clear storyline. Don’t force yourself into narration mode. Instead, write your dream as you remember it, even if it’s a series of disconnected moments or images. Getting into narration mode is quite common. ‘He might have gone back into the house because the next image is of him in the room’ is narration. ‘In the next scene, he was in the room’ is the right way to go about it. Don’t forget to include all the important details while you are in your dream recall state.
Step 5: Compare your dream to real life
Your dreams can be a reimagining of both mundane and stressful events that happened during the day, as well as your thoughts and feelings about those things. Start paying closer attention to everything around you—those images may pop up in your dreams. It makes it easier to begin interpreting your dreams. Associate your dreams to the events of your life. You may be able to start answering some of your inner struggles.
Think of this as a 30-day challenge. Apply the five steps, and start your dream journaling habit tonight. You can even begin with a recurring dream that you have. That’s always a great place to start. With each passing day, you feel more in tune with your subconscious mind and start understanding your dreams. They may not be as mysterious as you thought! If anything, it is a fun hobby to have.
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