How to keep a Dream Journal

Photo: Rido81

Photo credit: Rido81

If you regularly experience vivid dreams, struggle to recall your dreams, would like to track your dream patterns, would like to attempt to interpret your dreams, or would like to boost your waking creativity, then keeping a dream journal might be just the thing for you. Not only could it help with all of the aforementioned, but it’s also rather fun! The idea of it may sound like a chore, but in actual fact you will find yourself eager to jot down all you can remember. Read through our tips below, and start your dream journal journey today.

·        Decide on a journal and pen

First things first, you need to choose a journal and pen for writing your dreams down. These could be plain and functional, or these could be decorative or meaningful – whichever you feel might make you more likely to commit to your journaling. Lined paper or plain paper? With dream journaling, just go with whatever feels right for you.

·        Consider a recording method

For many of us, the memory of our dreams fades quickly after waking, so you could consider a recording device, in order to have a record of all of the data, before it is gone from your mind. Then you can listen back to the recording, and jot down all the important points in your journal.

·        Keep everything you need on your bedside table

You need to make the process as easy as possible for yourself, so make sure everything you need – your journal, your pen, and a recording device if you are using one – are next to your bed, in arms reach. You could also consider a book light or something similar in case you wake in the middle of the night and want to record your dream whilst it’s fresh in your mind.

·        Record dreams in the morning

It is easier to recall our dreams right after we have experienced them, so morning is the best time to make a note of what you can remember. Also, as the day goes on, and we spend time thinking about our dreams from the night before, our brains try to make sense of them and make a full story out of them. For example in your dream you might have bumped into a friend but you can’t remember where. As you think about it during the day, your brain might conclude that you must have been in the local supermarket, because that’s where you always see that friend. This process is damaging for your dream journal, so recording your dream in the morning is the best option.

Remember to include emotions you felt during the dream too, as these could be equally as important as people, objects, and occurrences.

·        Summarise your dream in a short sentence

As well as making notes on all the details of your dream, it is a good idea to add a ‘title’ to each dream in the form of a short, summarising sentence. Summarising your dream in one sentence has two important functions; it makes you consider what the most important aspects and the overall theme of your dream were, and it creates an easily digestible reference, to compare against future or past dreams. An example could be: “Got lost in maze on sister’s birthday and couldn’t hand coursework in on time.”

·        Don’t judge yourself

Dreams aren’t reality, and we all have dreams that surprise, upset, or even revolt us. This is because dreams are often based on symbolism, and therefore shouldn’t be taken on their literal meaning. With that in mind, it is important not to judge yourself. Don’t shy away from making notes on a dream because you’re ashamed of events that happened in it. It is only a dream.

Further notes

When you’ve got the hang of dream journaling, and you’re recording your dreams frequently, you could even start jotting down notes about your day too, to see if there’s any correlation between that and the dream you have that night. The results could be fascinating, and very insightful.

Good luck with your dream journaling. Sweet dreams!

Lucy is our lead editor and has been passionate about stationery since childhood. She has a particular fondness for rollerball and calligraphy pens and is a keen advocate of snail mail.

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