Our brains spend about five hours a day sleeping if we keep it short. At least two hours of those are spent dreaming.
So, why keep a dream journal? To give those two hours more importance in life.
Dreams don’t happen while we’re awake because the brain isn’t sufficiently stimulated. But when we sleep, our brains look for things like words or images that could lead us through a story. As such, we will come up with these incredible situations that sometimes feel other-worldly.
This period of dreaming lasts about two and a half hours and is called the REM state. This is where our brains “reorganize” to give our memories a permanent space in our minds.
But it’s also where many other things happen.
Fears come up, anxieties resurface, we see the past and the future, and sometimes we just dream of the most beautiful places and situations. Either way, dreams give us a window to our subconscious.
With a dream journal, we can keep a record of what happens in our dreams. And thus, have a clearer idea of what we have stored in our brains.
Why is that useful? Here are some reasons and benefits to consider:
1. It Helps you Understand Yourself Better
This is especially useful for giving meaning to the symbolism in our brains and how things that happen in real life may resurface or vice-versa.
Things that aren’t always obvious at first sight but may give you a better idea of WHAT you’re thinking subconsciously and WHY you’re thinking of that.
For example, people who have recurring nightmares may try interpreting their bad dreams. In the process, they realize their fears and turn the experience into something positive.
On the other hand, if you have any memories stuck in your head but refuse to leave – like traumatic ones – then keeping track of dreams may help bring clarity (or at least provide some distraction) from those thoughts.
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2. Adds Meaning to Real-Life Situations
If you’re trying to remember why something happened or why it felt so intense in your waking life, then this is one way for you to get closer to remembering why.
Your subconscious will cooperate if given shape by writing out all the details while they are fresh. It also helps keep track of recurring themes from different parts of our lives–which could mean new insights into who we are.
Lucid dreams may also give you great insights into how you think about everything.
Let’s say you made a new friend recently. A dream may come up where this person does something you loved. Then you slowly rewind and remember when that person INDEED did something you liked – giving you a hint that you may REALLY want to be friends with that person.
This example may apply to many different situations. But you get the idea.
3. It gives you a Push to Become More Creative
Dream journals are also an inspiration for creative projects, movie scripts, novels, stories, and just whatever.
If you work in any creative industry, you’ll know the importance of pushing your ideas to the next level. Having a dream journal may get you to that hard-to-grasp idea more effectively – as you’ll have TONS of information to draw inspiration from.
But maybe you don’t work in an industry where creativity is an essential part. But you still need to come up with innovative ideas consistently, whether for business decisions or simple strategies.
And well, you may come up with those ideas in dreams. This is why it’s so important to write them down and get them back into your brain the following day.
There’s evidence that noting down dreams not only helps with creativity but also boosts problem-solving skills. That’s a huge plus.
4. Boosts your Ability to Remember Things
Suppose you often forget to do something meaningful in your waking life. In that case, you have a dream about that thing, and go back and write it down as soon as possible, then you’re less likely to forget it.
This is an excellent way of making sure that you don’t repeat mistakes from one day to another.
Writing dreams down also helps to organize your thoughts. It makes these ideas less abstract and imaginary than if we had it only on our brains (or napkins in our pockets).
We might not remember everything every time we take notes on our dreams, but it becomes easier to see how some things connect. This gives us new insights we could have forgotten (or never have) otherwise.
One exciting study from 2018 confirms this, stating that dream recollection as soon as you wake up helps to consolidate memory compared to not journaling at all.
5. May Help with Stress and Anxiety
Believe it or not, writing down your dreams as soon as you wake up (or in the middle of the night) may have surprisingly therapeutic effects.
For one, you may be surprised to know that nightmares are coping mechanisms against stress. It’s a way of releasing the stress and anxieties that you’ve been carrying with you all day. The reason is unclear yet, but that’s something to think about.
Second, when you write down your dreams, they are immediately more accessible and tangible to you. It forces you out of your head by giving up even just one page for this activity alone.
Third, it relieves the remembering anxiety. If you feel like dreams have something important to tell you but can’t remember them, that may stress you. If you write them down, you won’t have to struggle with remembering what happened last night when there’s an entire notebook full of thoughts from previous dreams at your fingertips.
Even something as simple as writing down dreams, thinking about them, and getting more comfortable with your emotions may have enormous therapeutic effects.
6. Giving Yourself a Dream Memory Bank
Why don’t you write dreams just because?
You may be used to waking up from dreams without any memory or idea what they were about, but writing them down may give you the chance to extract meaning out of them.
So, when something meaningful happens in real life, you can recall an associated dream because there is at least one written record somewhere in your home. Your dream journal, where those memories are stored safely for later retrieval.
Who knows? Maybe a few years from now, you’ll go back to those written dreams and find something interesting about yourself that you didn’t realize before.
7. Dream Journaling is Entertaining
Do you know what else is great about a dream journal? IT’S FUN!
The act of writing down your dreams is an exciting game to play with yourself. You’ll love opening up the book every night to see how much more information you have about what’s going on in that head of yours.
More importantly, it gives a hobby to hop on back to every day. This may become your next favorite thing to do going forward – who knows?
If you’re looking for an easy way to remember your dreams and find the connection between them and your real life – start a dream journal. You’ll be able to explore the different meanings and open a new window to your subconscious.
You may think your dreams are not worth remembering… but why take the chance?
As simple as spending 5 to 10 minutes writing your dreams just after waking enough can be extremely helpful.
Start now – you won’t regret it.
George K has been immersed into the world of myths and dreams for a very long time now, attempting to find the numerous symbolisms and meanings attached to them. He is a prolific writer along with being an independent researcher. Contributing his knowledge and learnings to several magazines and blogs, he has the unique ability to simplify and explain even the most intricate subjects.