Many people who keep a dream journal believe that their dreams hold hidden messages, symbolic meaning, and believe dreams are key when it comes to learning important truths about themselves. Dreams are a reflection of your subconscious mind, and your dreams can reveal your truest desires and help guide you to make important decisions.
Some people even have prophetic dreams, where they dream the future and believe their dreams are sometimes glimpses into the future.
The primary reason why keeping a dream journal is so important is because it’s very rare that we remember our dreams. It’s incredibly uncommon to remember a dream without a dream journal. Without logging the details of our dreams in a dream journal, we’d lose them. Most people only remember their dreams for those few precious minutes right after they wake up from a dream. It’s within those few precious minutes that you need to write down your dream while you still remember it.
The art of keeping a dream journal involves keeping a journal by your bed, and recording what you can remember of your dreams, as well as any thoughts, feelings or emotions that accompany it.
It’s best to record what you remember of your dream as soon as you wake up. If you wake up in the middle of the night, it might be worth writing down your dream before you go back to sleep, as analyzing your dreams can help you learn a lot about yourself.
Licensed Psychotherapist Christina Steinorth-Powell advises keeping a journal on your bedside table and confirms the importance of writing down your dream immediately after waking up when “the memory of the dream will be freshest in your mind”.
Shagoon Maurya, an Australia-based Psychotherapist, explains: “Keeping a dream journal has many benefits. Your dream journal can fuel creativity, inspire you to make certain choices, process your emotions and confront your problems.”
Tips for Keeping a Dream Journal
The first step is to write down what you remember of your dream while you still remember it and it’s fresh in your mind. Who was in the dream? Where were you? What were you doing?
Now, ask yourself how you were feeling in the dream, and write down the emotions associated with the dream in your dream journal as well. In the dream, were you scared? Anxious? Happy? How do you feel now? Are there any emotions lingering after an extremely vivid dream? Record this too, along with your ‘sleep data’ (how long you slept, how deep your sleep was, how rested you feel, etc.)
Some people are more visual and find it easier to draw pictures of what they dreamt in their dream journal, instead of writing it down.
The point is to have a running log of your dreams that you can refer back to and use to look for any patterns or recurrences.
Recurring dreams can hold a lot of meaning. This is your subconscious trying to tell you something if you keep having the same dream.
The Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal
What are the benefits of keeping a dream journal? There are dozens of benefits, and you’d be surprised how much you can learn about yourself through your dreams. There hidden meaning of dreams can guide you in life, in many ways. Below are some of the many benefits of keeping a dream journal:
1. Reading your dream journal can fuel creativity. The unique nature of dreams can be a source of inspiration for many creative projects such as songwriting, painting or creative writing. Read through your dream journal to get your creative juices flowing. Some of the best fiction was based on dreams.
2. Your dream journal can inspire you to take action. If you notice that you’ve been having recurring dreams, ask yourself if there’s anything you’ve been avoiding or running away from. Your subconscious might be trying to nudge you in a certain direction or towards confronting a situation you’ve been avoiding. It’s possible your dreams are trying to tell you something.
3. Recording a dream journal helps you recognize patterns emerging. Once you notice a pattern, you can begin to look into what those patterns might signify. For example, do the majority of your dreams take place in the past, present or future? Is your sleep disturbed when you have an unusually vivid dream? Asking yourself these questions can help you gain clarity into what your dreams are saying.
4. Reduce stress. As Shagoon Maurya puts it, “[Dreams let you] rehearse and deal with stressful situations. Sometimes we get nightmares. These nightmares elicit stressful mental states. However, analyzing these can give us insights [into] the dark parts of our psyche. By getting these dreams out on paper, we also force ourselves to look at it objectively and then confront the problem (if any).”
5. Aid in lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is a dream in which the sleeper knows they are dreaming and has some degree of control over the dream. Some people have even reported being able to completely control the direction of a dream. Lucid dreamers say that keeping a dream journal is a great way to teach their sleeping selves to recognize the signs of dreaming.
6. A dream journal helps you remember amazing ideas. Have you ever had an ‘Aha!’ moment upon waking? It’s frustrating to have an answer to a nagging problem reveal itself in a dream, only to have it slip away like a Polaroid developing in reverse. Journaling about your dreams will help you hold on and come back to the brilliant ideas in your subconscious. The more you journal, the better your recollection will be.
7. Get to know yourself better. With consistency and practice, over time your dream journal will be a story about your life written by your subconscious. This valuable insight will help you in understanding your triggers, anxieties, fears and hopes. When you know yourself well, life is a lot easier to navigate.
Reading your dream journal can help you get a sense of the truths that lie within your subconscious. You’ll learn what your truest intentions are and what your deepest desires are. This can help you make important life decisions. It’s worth keeping a journal by your bedside and giving it a try.
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