How to Keep a Dream Journal (and Why You Should Start)
Recording your dreams could lead to your next big creative breakthrough. Need proof? Google, the Twilight book series, the song “Yesterday” — all great ideas that came from dreams. “The dreaming brain is an amazingly creative machine,” dream expert Lauri Loewenberg tells us. “Many researchers have been able to connect creativity to dreaming because both of these brain processes use free association.” Loewenberg is the author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life and has been helping people decode their dreams for decades. According to Loewenberg, documenting the “other side of your mind” could be the best thing you do for yourself. You’ll quickly start noticing connections between your dream imagery and your daily struggles and achievements. Here are some tips on how to get started.
1. Stay Still After You Wake Up: Keep your journal right next to your bed! Rolling over and getting out of bed obliterates your dream recall. Remain in the exact position you woke up in, because that is the position your body was in when you were dreaming. If you move, you’ll unplug yourself from the memory of the dream. “It’s kind of like when you lose your keys,” says Loewenberg. “You go into the last room you remember having them to help jog your memory.”
2. Set Aside Time to Reflect: Stay quiet and still for 3 – 5 minutes to recall your dream before writing it down. A computer journal is okay, but Loewenberg prefers the physical act of writing it into a journal. Jotting it down by hand will be more conducive to getting the mind back into the dream state.
3. Don’t Forget the Details: Be sure to title and date your dream. This allows for easy reference when looking back for something in particular you dreamed about. Like a movie, it can often provide a clue as to what the dream may be trying to tell you. Ask yourself if the title you gave the dream sounds somewhat similar to anything going on in your life. You’ll be surprised how often it will!
4. Note Your Emotions: How a dream made you feel can be just as important as the actual images, says Loewenberg. “When you note your actual thoughts, you will find that more often than not, they will coincide with your previous day.”
5. Keep a Daily Journal Side by Side: Loewenberg recommends writing your day on the left page of your journal and your dream on the right page. “Keeping details of your waking and dreaming life side by side will make it easier to connect the dots.”
What was your craziest dream? Share your wildest ones in the comments below.