How to Keep a Dream Journal

The idea of peaceful sleep is overrated. There’s nothing gentle about the time when you are dreaming. You experience increased brain activity, rapid eye movements, high pulse rate, and increased blood pressure.

To an observer, it may seem like you’re having a nightmare. But this state is constant in every dream. After going through all this, it can be pretty frustrating if you forget the dream when you wake up. In this article, we’ll solve this problem by introducing a dream journal and all the benefits associated with it.

What is a Dream Journal?

Dream journaling is the practice of writing down your dreams or the significant chunk of your dreams. And a dream journal, just like a personal diary, is a private space that houses your dreamy encounters.  Don’t take the word journal in a literal sense.

A dream diary or journal doesn’t necessarily have to be a duo of pen and paper. It can be a voice recorder or a sketchbook - the medium is a personal preference.

Words alone can’t capture every single detail of your dream. You’ll need the assistance of your audio narration and sketching to capture the details of your dreams.

Why are Dreams Important?

Dream catcher Photo by Jaron Nix on Unsplash

Dreams are always held in a high regard in myths and mysticism. Regardless of whether you believe dreams have meaning or not, they have a purpose.

Dreams occur during the REM sleep cycle, and there’s high neurologic activity going on during this period. Another scientific aspect of the dream is its therapeutic effect.

When a person is dreaming, the brain transcends into a state completely devoid of anxiety-inducing substances.  And the emotional and memory-related structures of the brain are activated. So, your memories are being consolidated or processed in a stress-free environment. That dampens the effect of a trauma or any bad experience you may have had

Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal

Memory Exercise

The obvious benefit is that you’ll remember your dreams. Even if you don’t believe that plans have meaning or something like that, simply the act of recalling will improve your memory.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is a semi-conscious form of dreaming, which means that the person is aware of being in a dream and can control its narrative according to their will.

One of the benefits of keeping a dream journal is that it helps induce lucid dreaming. And this reason alone has seduced many to get into this habit of dream journaling.

Lucid dreaming has therapeutic applications as well. It can be used to address the issue of recurring nightmares. Lucid dreaming therapy allows individuals to confront their fears and change the narrative of their nightmares.

Problem Solving

Stuck on a problem? Let it go.

When you let go of a problem, your subconscious mind is still processing it in the background. So, the solution might pop up when you’re dreaming of doing some mundane tasks.

How to start Dream Journaling?

1. Intent

The first thing is intent. The simple decision to give importance to your dreams is enough to spark motivation to remember and recall your dream. And the better your recall, the better you can reap the benefits of keeping a dream journal.

2. Don’t Wait

To ensure the best recall, jot down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Delay it, and you risk losing it.  Also, if you have to wake up and search for your dream journal, chances are you’ll probably forget most of it by the time you find it.

To avoid this from happening, you can keep it where it’s easily accessible. Or you can download a digital dream diary - like Dreamy.

3. Share it

Sharing your dreams can also aid in active recall. It also allows you to see some of the things that you might have overlooked earlier. Moreover, the other person can also share their insights about your dreams.

4. Be Flexible in Your Choice of Medium

A picture is worth a thousand words. Why go through the trouble of writing/recording when you can capture just as much detail or more by simply drawing.

Dream journaling involves writing, drawing, or narrating the highlights of your dreams. When done correctly, it can reveal insights about your emotional well-being.  Whether dreams are essential or not, that’s up to debate.

The benefits of dream journaling are well documented. From boosting your memory to tackling your problems, dreams can do you wonders. Get yourself a dream diary, get into the habit of journaling and see the results for yourself.