One of my favourite things about journaling is learning more about myself – my values, desires, goals, fears, strengths and weaknesses. For me, journaling is a tool to dig deeper into who I am and what makes me tick.
One of the best ways to learn more about ourselves is to look into the symbols and themes in our dreams. Keeping a dream journal is a great way to record our dreams so we can better understand what they might mean.
I’ve always wanted to keep a dream journal, but whenever I’ve started one in the past I’ve never kept it up. After writing this post, I think I’m going to have a go, at the very least, at incorporating more dreams into my daily journal.
I have pretty vivid dreams most nights, and I certainly have repeated places, people, events and themes in my dreams. I love the idea of recording them to reread later and interpret some of the deeper meanings.
One of the best description of dreams I’ve ever heard is from one of my favourite movies, The Giver:
Dreams: A combination of reality, fantasy, emotions and what you had for dinner.
So what is a dream journal? Basically, you record the dreams you have at night, when you wake in the morning.
Why keep a dream journal?
There are lots of reasons to do so, but here are a few that resonate with me:
- Greater understanding of yourself. You can uncover deeper feelings, desires, concerns and other things about yourself that are usually below the surface of your awareness. Recording them will allow you to dig deeper and possibly figure out what’s happening down there.
- Inspiration. There are some really cool things that come up in our dreams due to the fact that our logical mind shuts down at this time. If you’re a creative who’s looking for ideas, you could stumble on some interesting things in your night time adventures!
- Get better at lucid dreaming – that awesome state where you know you are dreaming so you can control what happens!
How to start your own dream journal
Choose a journal you want to record your dreams in and keep it beside your bed, or somewhere else you will remember to pick it up first thing.
Set the intention before going to sleep that you will remember your dreams.
First thing upon waking, record whatever you remember. It doesn’t have to make sense, just get it down – even if you have forgotten big portions of the dream, record what you can remember. Be as detailed as possible.
Don’t judge what comes up, just record it.
You can use drawings as well – you don’t have to stick to words! If you want to capture a certain place or feeling, you could draw it or use colour in your dream journal. Combining written and visual elements may also help to stimulate more dream recall.
Give the dream a title or sum it up in a sentence. This is a neat idea I read about here.
Practice – the more you do this, the more you will start to remember your dreams in more detail. Keep going.
And then what?
After you’ve been doing this for a while, you may like to look back through your dreams to get a better understanding of yourself. Certain images, themes, words, colours, events or people may reoccur. You could go through and highlight some of these, then journal about what they could mean.
You could use a dream dictionary for guidance, but personally, I believe that we are the experts on ourselves. You will start to notice patterns in your dreams that you will probably be able to interpret yourself. If you also keep a personal journal, you could possibly match up what has been happening in your life with what has been appearing in your dreams.
Try not to take it too seriously. While I think there most certainly are some deeper meanings we can uncover from our dreams, I also think that some of them are simply, as The Giver says, ‘what you had for dinner’.
Do you keep a dream journal? What do you enjoy about it? Share your thoughts in the comments!