Let’s talk dreams — no, not your dream house or dream job. I’m talking about those little made-up scenarios that pop into your brain while you’re sound asleep.
Whether you remember them or not, you actually have numerous dreams over the course of one night. While some people write dreams off as utterly crazy and meaningless, your dreams can actually reveal a lot about you — and of course, they can be pretty entertaining sometimes, too.
If you’re looking to gain understanding of your dreams, or just want to be able to recall them more often, you might want to start keeping a dream journal. Here are some tips to help you get started!
First up, you’ll want to find a blank book of some sort and plant that baby right next to your bed with a pen tucked inside. On your nightstand, under your pillow, wherever you want, just make sure you can reach it without getting out of bed. Even the most basic activities, like getting up and walking around, can cause your brain to forget your dreams rather quickly, so you’ll want to record your dreams as soon as you wake up and before you encounter any distractions. Also, avoid jotting your dreams down in the Notes app on your phone. While it may seem more convenient, the bright light of your phone screen and the act of unlocking your phone to access the app will likely cause you to lose some of your dream’s details (yes, really!).
Okay, so now that you’ve got your journal posted up by your bed, go to sleep! But first, let’s talk about your lucid anchor. Yep, you need one. A lucid anchor is any object that you will use to remind yourself to dream and, more importantly, remind your brain that you want to remember your dreams. I probably sound like a crazy person saying that, but psychology actually backs this concept up. So find something in your room — a candle, a picture, anything — and make it the last thing you look at before bed. Associate that object with remembering your dreams, and you’re more likely to recall them in the morning.
If you’re weirded out by the whole lucid anchor thing, it’s okay. Just make an effort to remind yourself that you want to remember your dreams in the morning and your subconscious will get the hint. After that, snooze away!
Now, here are some helpful hints for the actual structure of your dream journal. You may want to date all of the pages in advance so that you won’t be stuck struggling to remember the date first thing in the morning (again, another distraction!). Alternatively, you could just begin free-writing your dreams from the previous night, then date the page after you’re done — that works, too!
When it comes to the format of the actual pages, that’s up to you and your personal preferences. The important thing is that you have space to free-write a description of your dreams with as many details as possible. If you remember multiple dreams, try to focus on one or two that stand out and are the most detailed in your mind. If you can’t remember any dreams from the night before, don’t worry — simply write “no dream recall” or something along those lines. This will remind your subconscious that dream recall is important to you, and will encourage your brain to remember dreams in the future.
After that, try to analyze your dreams. I know, you probably don’t have a degree in dream analysis, but look at the details of your dreams and try to figure out what they symbolize. Look at the common themes and see if you can relate them to what’s going on in your life.
You might want to also note what’s going on in your personal life at the moment underneath your dream recollection. That way, it’ll be easier to relate your dream to your own experiences.
Finally, you’ll want to come up with a title for your dream. Don’t feel pressured to be cute or creative (although if you want to, go for it!). Just come up with something that sums up the dream and would help you identify it if you ever wanted to reference the dream in the future. This can be really helpful if you want to compare two different dreams or relate past dreams to future events, as our dreams can sometimes predict the future — I know, that’s so Raven!
Dream journaling is crazy interesting and can really help you gain a better understanding of your thoughts and your subconscious. The more you focus on it, the better you’ll get at it, but don’t stress about it too much — just have fun with it. Sweet dreams!