Do you have vivid dreams? Or more than one dream a night? Do you sometimes wake up confused because your dream felt so real? Or do you get frustrated because you remember fragments and feelings from your dream but not enough to piece it together?
If any of these situations apply to you, consider keeping a dream journal. One-third of your life is spent sleeping, so why not document what’s going on in your mind during all those non-waking hours? Dream journals help you preserve the memory of your dreams before they fade away as you wake up fully and go about your day. Documenting your dreams is also a form of therapeutic writing because the process allows you to explore and analyze your subconscious.
How Dream Journaling Works
You can either start a separate journal devoted to documenting your dreams or you can add to your regular personal journal. (Tip: look at journals that allow you to create different sections of writing or let you move pages around. This flexibility will allow you to sort journal entries by themes.) Keep the journal you plan to use on your bedside table with a pen (and a book light or flashlight if you have a partner you don’t want to disturb).
As soon as you wake up, try to jot down as much as you can remember about your dream(s). If you’re one of those people who can’t seem to write first thing in the morning, make a voice recording of everything you can remember with a digital recorder or smartphone app. Even if you speak in fragments or if your speaking is garbled, one recorded detail could trigger your memory and allow you to document the dream more fully in a journal later. Writing or recording first thing in the morning is going to require some self-discipline, but the effort is worth it.
Why You Should Stick With It
Keeping a dream journal allows you to explore, relive, and analyze your inner world. If you keep journaling regularly, you should be able to recognize patterns in your dreams or identify your recurring dreams. If you see an established pattern, that’s your subconscious sending you some type of message.
Examine the clues, and develop your own interpretations. Do you have dreams about running away from an unknown danger when you are feeling anxious and stressed in your waking life? Do you notice you dream often about people with whom you have unresolved issues? Free-write about your different ideas. This is where dream journaling can turn into therapeutic writing: it provides the opportunity to discover fears, insecurities, hopes, and beliefs that haven’t yet reached your conscious mind. Even if your dream seems nonsensical on the surface, dig beneath the surface for other possible meanings.
Recording your dreams can also become a source of creative inspiration. You never know when you may stumble on a fresh idea for your writing, art, music, or other creative pursuit. Listen to what your dream journal has to say!
Learn all about how Dream Journaling in Write4Life's Ultimate Dream Journaling Course. Nathan will be awarding 2 scholarships (courtesy of CreateWrtiteNow) for his course that starts October 6. Check it out!