A dream journal (or dream diary) is a journal that is used to record dreams; their content and thoughts about them, and possibly additional information such as lunar phase, the weather, what you ate or drank the night before that might affect your dreaming and any dream work exercises, their results and thoughts about them.
A dream journal is a valuable tool for connecting with our subconscious self, identifying patterns in our attitudes and behavior and is necessary if you practice dreamwork at all. Dreams are transient and many people forget them quickly. Writing them down helps us keep track of our progress when we are practicing different dreamwork exercises and helps us know if we are making progress at all. The act of writing down our dreams also helps us build dream recall so that we have an easier time remembering our dreams in the future.
How to Use a Dream Journal
It is important that you keep your dream diary and a writing implement immediately at hand when you are sleeping. Because dreams so quickly leave our consciousness, you may forget valuable details of your dream while seeking out your diary. It is best to be able to grab it and write down your dream before you’ve even fully awakened. This may result in some difficult-to-read entries, but they will be the most complete as far as details.
Do not try to analyze your dream right away after you’ve written it down. If you’ve still got time before the alarm, go back to sleep and finish out your night. Wait until you’ve had your coffee and performed your morning ablutions before reviewing your dreams from the night before. Then you can start think about what they mean.
We dream things for all sorts of reasons. Many dreams are just our minds sorting through the day’s information and making connections. This is extremely valuable to us and researchers and students should take note of the brain’s amazing capacity to understand things – while we’re sleeping. Many scientific discoveries and works of art, music and literature have emerged from peoples’ dreams. What a shame if they’d been forgotten, as most dreams are.
Some people have common recurring themes in their dreams that tell them something about themselves and their current state of mind. For example, when I spend a few days feeling like people are making unreasonable demands of me and I’m stressing out over things I can’t control, I start dreaming that my teeth are falling out. First, I notice that they are loose and then I spend the whole dream trying to prevent them from falling out and then trying to figure out how to put them back. After journaling for some time, I made the connection between this dream and my life and now when I have it, I realize I need to spend some time focusing on serenity. When I was a waitress, I used to dream we were out of beer on a Friday night and this let me know it was time to take a weekend off. After spending some time journaling, you will learn to read the messages of your dreams to you which tend to be “You know, this ought to be obvious, but you’re not paying attention, so here’s a really odd nightmare to wake you up.”
These are some of the more mundane meanings that you find in dreams. There are more esoteric meanings and connections and there are books and websites devoted to them.
Because dreams take place in an altered state of consciousness, spirit beings may find it easier to communicate with you in this space and other dreamers may as well. But, if you don’t journal, you may not remember these communications.
It is important to note, though, that not all dreams are significant. Sometimes your brain is just telling you a story and that’s okay too. If it’s a good story, maybe you should have it published.
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