Dream journals are nothing but a book where you write about the dreams you had while asleep.
Most often, these dreams cannot be remembered in their complete form. This doesn’t mean you can’t record them. The fragments that are fresh in your head are almost as valuable as remembering full dreams.
Whether you want to write down your dreams to simply record dreamy experiences, personal reflections, or get an idea of your subconscious space, dream journals are a spectacular method to do the same.
Other than indulging in the study of your dreams, these journals unveil intricacies of your own psychology and how your surroundings’ psychology affects you.
Does Maintaining A Dream Journal Help?
Maintaining a dream journal is undoubtedly helpful in more than a few ways. Out of the plethora of benefits that writing a dream journal offers, the most valuable is the one where you can accurately predict the impact of otherwise-unprocessed problems in your day-to-day life.
Simply put, you become self-analytical about various elements you are exposed to during sleep.
In short, do not hesitate to pen down your dreams, irrespective of it being an early morning attempt or in the midst of a goodnight’s sleep after a saturated day.
Capture the tiniest of recollections from a dream, even if you’re camping in the wild or curled up on your cozy mattress.
But are all these dream journaling efforts worth it? What is a dream journal when you’re too busy to refer to it? Where did these dreams happen? Who all existed in it? Did it lift something from the back of your mind? Did you feel good or bad?
All these questions may seem to itch your head, but the moment you begin obediently writing in your dream journal, you will observe being gifted with the virtue of clarity; clarity in those domains of life that you would struggle to usually understand.
On a side note, if you can’t seem to enjoy quality sleep or you can’t dream deep enough, this guide on how to sleep and dream deeper will take care of your sleep-related worries.
What Are The Benefits of Writing a Dream Journal?
Journaling your dreams is an exceptional medium to gather information about the self. That being the primary benefit (self-analyzation), there are plenty more benefits that make a world of difference in how you interact, consume information, react, and nurture relationships.
Here are 5 highly significant benefits of penning down a dream journal.
1. Dream Journaling Unfolds Creativity
Once you try and remember bits and pieces of what you experienced in your dreams, it becomes more of a creative exercise that includes recalling, re-structuring, and reframing.
Dream journalists tend to develop a newfound connection between normally uncontrolled parts of their brain. This happens because of the attempt at reviving what you saw just a few hours ago, although in an unconscious state.
Working your brain to remember little details of your dreams leads to a realization of untapped memory potential. Even better, these subtle realizations sow the seeds for generating a stream of new ideas.
Thus, if you think your modes of relishing creativity have been limited, don’t think twice, and push yourself to venture onto the path of dream journaling.
2. Dream Journaling Makes You Retrospect On/Recognize Your Mistakes
This benefit becomes more noticeable once you spend a couple of weeks staying true to the habit of writing a journal.
It’s not too hard to understand why. Because the more you write about various dreams, the more information you have. The easier it gets to detect patterns of emotions, memories, behaviors, and desires.
If you’re craving perspective on matters that don’t let you sleep at night or wake you up too early in the morning, then inculcate the habit of dream journaling for at least a month. You will observe relevant connections, and what’s more, you will find it 100 times easier to devise a solution.
Bonus Read: Always wanted to be a lucid dreamer? This lucid dreaming guide is your go-to resource to join the bandwagon.
Speaking of mistakes, people who have a tough time with relationships, careers, or general personal problems will be relieved to see solutions within the patterns that dream journaling unfolds.
Remember, this habit is not executed to collect your thoughts and create a written masterpiece. Factually, it is quite the contrary. It is about placing scattered pieces of a hidden puzzle and making sense of it all!
3. Dream Journaling Is A Superb Stress-Combating Remedy
Look, transforming memories of what you dreamt while asleep to what you make of it in the present is like therapy in an evolutionary form.
Consider it as a comparison through a mirror – How clear you want the mirror to be, depends on the intention you are journaling with. These intentions are usually for hobby purposes, emotional revelations, sub-conscious curiosity, retrospection, or creativity sparks.
Give yourself a small writing session that relies on two essential pillars of dream journaling – calm self-reflection and adapting to the restorative effect that generates from within.
Both conventional and modern psychologists have often spoken about a solid link between the minds and behaviors of humans. When you undertake dream journaling, you will be rewarded with insights into your mind’s behavior while asleep.
Moreover, research states that regular journaling even improves the physical state of one’s body, intensifies the strengthening capacity of the immune system, and drastically slows down aging.
4. Dream Journaling Helps Recall Mind-Blowing Ideas
This fact has so many examples that you dare not leverage such perks of dream journaling.
From the famous jazzy-tune in “Yesterday” by Beatles to discovering the double helix structure for our DNA to the external appearance of the Frankenstein monster – all these generation-defining ideas popped up while someone was asleep.
And you know how they remembered and worked on it? All because they wrote these dreams down in a journal the moment their eyes opened.
Suppose Paul McCartney, Dr. James Watson, and Mary Shelley could discover such enticing material when asleep. In that case, there’s no reason why we can’t do this same.
Even the feeling-less cyborg, the Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, first appeared in a nightmare that James Cameron had. To top it up, Stephen King’s blockbuster novel, Misery, also found its storyline when he was asleep on a flight. The story was so intense and well-knitted in his dreams that he completed the first 50 pages immediately upon landing.
5. Dream Journaling Assists in Resolving All Types of Problems
This life-changing habit not only activates the traits of the right brain (creativity-centric) but, at the same time, ignites the left brain (logic-centric) to fire neurons at a high pace. What’s better is the manner and environment that both these sides of the brain function in while asleep.
There’s no sign of conscious influence, conscious filtration, and your mind is wandering about freely without the chains of social norms that limits otherwise conscious thinking.
Make it a habit to write down tiny segments of your dreams. You will gradually include a sense of differential thinking, where these nocturnal, subconscious thoughts will help resolve complex, disturbing thoughts.
The whole concept is not too hard to understand. You are simply allowing yourself to be aware of how your mind reacts when you’re asleep. And when you get a better understanding of the same, you are exposed to a broader perspective in terms of the self.
How Do You Write A Dream Journal?
The key ingredient in writing a dream journal is NOT to wait and start writing the moment you’re up.
Throw in the littlest of details, however fragmented and cloudy they may be.
If you’re comfortable with pictorial representations, then consider drawing what you can remember from the dream. Continue this with a flow chart or a flow diagram that helps you create a dream funnel from start to end.
Once you’ve penned down as much information as you remember, start to compare it with your waking life. Look for relevant comparisons, behavioral patterns, specific interactions, memories, or anything that can help bring clarity to your subconscious thoughts (which is what you’ve written)!
Here are a few tips that can make your dream journaling journey all the more effective:
- Try and wake up 2 to 3 hours before your natural waking time, and start writing in your dream journal then. Don’t hesitate to go back to sleep after this 1st writing session. Chances are, when you’re awake the 1st time, the journaling and thoughts generated while journaling will carry on to your following dreams.
- During the initial stages of your dream journaling journey, it isn’t possible to remember everything in a pinpointed manner. Don’t force yourself to be precise. Stay calm and write what you remember. Above all, please don’t fill in information for the sake of it.
- Don’t mislead yourself. Don’t makeup parts of the dreams that never really happened. This leads to faulty, inaccurate self-analysis results.
- Stay consistent. Your mind is being introduced to a new process that leads to deep-diving into the self. If you interrupt the process, don’t expect quick or satisfactory results.
- Give your brain a chance to develop a flowy remembering mechanism. You will slowly become so much quicker at recalling and dream journaling. Keep in mind; you can start skipping days only after you’re observing beneficial results.
- When you sleep at night, set a specific intention to recall what you dreamt when it’s morning. Be mindful of this recalling aspect. This pushes your mind to be aware of the set goal and ultimately helps in recalling greater amounts of information.
- Use writing equipment that pleasures your senses. Be it rustic paper or sleek, clean, modernized white paper. Be it a brown, dusky wooden pen or an expensive one-piece fountain pen.
Again, the motive of this is simple. The more satiating the writing experience becomes, the better you will recall and relate to your dreams.
Is It A Good Idea To Journal My Nightmares?
Yes, it is indeed a great idea to journal your nightmares.
There’s no better way to face your fears, crack your possessiveness, and know what disturbs your inner peace the most.
Often, diagnosing your fears while awake will lead to improper assumptions based on momentary situational settings. On the other hand, trying to understand your fears through the medium of your dreams helps tap into what goes on in usually inaccessible parts of your mind.
Make it a point to write down maximum details in the scenario of a bad dream. It gives you more content to skim through and diagnose the core fear.
Bonus Tip: When you reach the most frightening part of the entire nightmare, rewrite it, not once but twice. The reason being, deeper delving leads to more profound fear-centric revelations.
Verdict on Dream Journaling
All in all, don’t allow your dreams to build up dust over the years. There is a reason we have them, and this reason has immense unspoken value in our lives.
Contrary to popular belief, dreams can spark a series of lightbulb moments and be the holy grail of your platform for inner work. It’s time you lift your head above the parapet and identify what’s truly going on in that mind.
Bonus Read: Interested in Egyptian mythology? These 15 insane Egyptian mythological myths will leave you spellbound.