Dream journals are a wonderful way to engage with your dreams and remember them days, weeks, and even years after a dream has occurred. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of keeping a dream journal and give some practical tips for getting started with your dream journal!
4 Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal
Dream journals help you remember your dreams. The simple act of pausing to think about your dream and write it down can be enough to stimulate greater recall and help you to remember more details. However, journaling your dream won’t just help you to remember your dreams in the moment – by writing them down, you’ll be able to look back and remember your dreams for as long as you have access to your journal.
Dream journals give you the opportunity to notice dream elements. Dream journals also provide an opportunity to notice the feelings, characters, events, and details of your dream. When you first wake up, you may have a vivid memory of the actions or visuals that occurred in your dream – but did you remember the smells? The minor characters? How the dream felt on an emotional level? You are likely to notice more of these kinds of details when you pay attention to your dreams. By writing your dreams down, you can notice and re-experience aspects of them that might otherwise drift away.
Dream journals help you identify patterns. If you keep a regular dream journal, you may start to notice and identify patterns over time. These patterns might take the form of the actions that occur in your dreamworld, the characters, emotions, levels of freedom, or other repeated dream elements. You may even begin to notice themes that express themselves in different ways across dreams, yet are often present in one form or another. These patterns don’t necessarily need to be analysed or interpreted. Simply identifying them may provide insight into both your dream and waking worlds.
Dream journals provide you with material for dream inquiry. Dream journals provide a wealth of material that you can engage with. For example, the five dream opportunities included in the Dreamosophy approach to dreaming offer activities and exercises that you can do with your dreams. You’ll start out doing these exercises with a recent dream, but you’ll also find that using the exercises with past dreams can provide additional insights. The dreams found in your dream journal are a perfect place to start.
4 Tips for Keeping a Dream Journal
Choose your medium. There is more than one way to keep a dream journal. Some people prefer to use a notebook or a pad of paper, others prefer a voice recorder, and still others prefer to type their dreams into a note-taking app on their phone or tablet, or to use their laptop. There is no one right way to make a dream journal. You are encouraged to experiment with different mediums to find the one that works best for you. However, keep in mind that the lighting on many digital devices may bring you out of your dreamstate too quickly, which can interfere with recall for some people.
Write in the way that makes the most sense. How much you write will of course depend on many factors, from how much time you have to how much of your dream you remember. Again, there is not one right way to write in your dream journal. On some days, with some dreams, you may find it helpful to spend time recording the dream in detail. On those days, try experimenting with point of view – are you recording your dream from the perspective of yourself as the dreamer, or are you an omniscient observer as you recall the dream after it’s over? On other days, a few sentences or even a few key words may be all that is needed.
Don’t just detail events. Many people find that their dream recall centers on the events that unfold in a dream and on the visuals that they experienced (what they saw). However, dreams are often rich with other forms of experience, including emotion, smell, sound, touch, and even taste. When you record your dreams, you may find it helpful to write down some of these less-noticed sensations, particularly emotions. How did you feel in the dream? Did your feelings change over the course of the dream?
Write even if you don’t remember your dreams. Dream recall doesn’t always come when we want it to. If you wake up without a remembered dream, lie still for a moment. Avoid moving your arms and legs. Take some time to simply lie in the bed and let the feelings that you woke up with wash over you. Don’t worry about interpreting them; simply notice what they are. You might ask yourself what kind of dream could have led to those feelings. Record the feelings and any ideas they produce in your dream journal.
Dream journals are simple, but the benefits can be great! These tips will help you get started.
Dream journals are also an excellent place to record your thoughts and responses when doing the Dreamosophy exercises and activities. Check out the Dreamosophy webinar page to join our next webinar series and start engaging with your dreams on a whole new level!
However fascinating and transformative the world of lucid dreams might be, it’s not what I want to talk about in this article. However, there is one specific lucid dreaming practice that proved to have unexpected benefits in my creative life: dream journaling.
Yes, journaling is an important step, though not necessarily correlated to lucid dreaming. Critical state testing, using Paul Tholey’s reading test, still seems to be the most beneficial and effective.