The benefits of keeping a dream journal are numerous. I will explore just a couple of them below, and offer some tips on starting your own dream journal!
Faster Problem solving
Studies have shown that a rested mind is a smarter mind. A sleeping mind is like a computer, processing the unconscious thoughts that are usually restricted by consciousness. It has been shown that students perform better when they have had 8 full hours of sleep. Writing down the fragmented images dreams provide can help us capture some of those unconscious processes and out-of-the-box thinking that go on when the waking world isn’t getting in the way. Writing down the imagery of your dreams can remind you of abstract problem solutions you would otherwise miss or simply not think about during your waking hours.
It makes you more creative
Countless works of arts, Music and artistic expressions are borne from dreams. Those abstract, flashes of color can trigger unique brands of creative thinking. Dreams can be powerful tools of inspiration. Reading over past dreams can get your creative juices moving when you hit creative roadblocks.
Giving yourself a quiet moment every morning to jot down your dreams has proven to have a calming and restorative effect. Even a bad nightmare can produce insights to anxieties holding you back, and help you address them in the waking world. Journaling, in general, has been found to have a positive effect on overall health, including slowing down the aging process!
There are also dream journals available that have prompts for you to write detailed notes into. However, if you want to begin your journal with a regular notebook you can certainly do that as well. In this technology age, there are even dream apps you can have on your phone (we all know it’s next to your bed).
The ancients believed dreams contained messages from the Gods, and so kept careful records of them for guidance. Some modern mystics believe memories from past lives can be accessed via dreams. Whatever your belief system, keeping a dream journal can create a good habit of thoughtful inner reflection. Making you more aware of your own inner self. Keeping a dream journal can be a great way to see your mental growth over time.
How to Start a Dream Journal
Keeping a notepad next to your bed is the best way to start. Upon waking, jotting down those fleeting flashes of imagery are important. Often your notes will be hurried scribbles, but that’s ok. Most people will later come back those hurried notes and transcribe them on to their full dream journal. You will be amazed how much of your dream comes back as memory once you read your morning notes.
-Write dream notes down every morning immediately upon awakening. These notes will help you recall your dreams later.
-Don’t stress over spelling, grammar, etc. Simply write down keywords that will move your memory later.
-If possible, write down any details, no matter how trivial
-Keep track of how you slept, the quality of your sleep, time frame, etc. These factors can affect the type of dreams you have.
-Keep your full journal near your bed. When you transcribe into your journal from your notes, it’s nice to have a handy area where your unconscious mind associates as a place for recall and self-awareness.
-Look for recurring themes or details in your dreams, and begin to find meaning in them.
I will take a deeper look at dreams in other blog articles, but I hope this has proved helpful as an introduction to Dream Journaling!
Love and Light,