One of the best things I’ve done in my life is that I’ve constantly kept a dream journal. When I was only 14, I became interested in what dreams meant and ever since then I’ve taken my dreams very seriously. I use my dreams to help me understand what is going on in my life and what I need to do going forward. If you are not currently keeping a record of your dreams, let me list the reasons why you should take this dream journal challenge and start!
5 Reasons To Keep A Dream Journal
1. Others Can’t Interpret Your Dreams For You
Everyone wakes up from time to time and wonders ‘what did that dream mean?’
There are different places online you can go to get help to interpret your dreams. For instance, you can check out Dream Moods, type in ‘ex-boyfriend’ and get a pre-written response on what it means to dream about an ex-boyfriend.
Some of the interpretation is pretty good, and I’m not saying that it might not be an accurate interpretation for you. However, there is a good chance that it’s not. The dream may not just about your ex-boyfriend (or whatever you dreamt about) and some generic interpretations. In fact, there may be something else in the dream, such as a place or feeling, that is the real focus of the dream and why you are having it.
When you keep a dream journal, you can write down all those little parts of the dream that make up the whole, and as you go over your dream, you may find that the dream is more about something else than what you originally thought.
2. Your Dreams Give You Insight Into Your Subconscious
Your dreams are often a reflection of what’s going on in your life… In short, dreams help regulate traffic on that fragile bridge which connects our experiences with our emotions and memories. – Scientific American
Often we don’t deal with things properly and we push our emotions to the back of our mind and hold memories in our subconscious where we forget about them. But that storage in your subconscious mind is affecting your life in a big way.
Our subconscious mind has a huge influence on our lives. For instance, if we get hurt emotionally doing something, our subconscious mind stores that information for future use. The next time we are supposed to do that same thing, we subconsciously remember that we were hurt and it can hold us back from doing what we need to do, even if we don’t know why we are scared of doing what we need to do.
Your dreams can help you explore some of that storage in your subconscious mind and discover certain truths about your beliefs, habits, and ways of moving through life that you don’t have access to in your waking life. When that happens, you can alter those beliefs, habits, and ways of moving through life to make your waking life happier and more fulfilling.
3. Make Use Of Your Unconscious Life
If you sleep for about 8 hours a night, you are sleeping about 1/3 of your life away. Without a dream journal, you will not remember what you’ve done with that part of your life, and, I don’t know about you, but for me, that feels like a waste!
Yes, sleep is important for healing and cognitive functions, and so you aren’t exactly wasting your life when you sleep. But, you still aren’t using your downtime as well as you could.
I often call sleep time my dream life and awake time my waking life. I value both. My dream life gives me insight into my waking life (among other things, such as having fun fantasies, getting out anger, and enjoying lucid dreams), and my waking life is where I get to have concrete experiences shared with other people.
When you start to keep a dream journal, you start to pay attention to that part of your life that you normally just sleep away.
4. Discover Recurring Dreams
I have a recurring dream where I’m going in for a shift at a place I used to work. It’s always the same. I feel weird because I haven’t worked there for a while. I don’t recognize any of the staff or supervisors. I don’t know what to do. But, I’m glad to be back there because I’m comfortable with the place and I know I’m going to get paid.
That dream always happens when I’m stressing out about my online business. It happens when I’m doubting myself and my abilities online. It happens when I don’t earn enough money – or what I think is enough money. It happens when doubt and fear creep in. And when I have the dream, I know that I need to find a way to become more confident in what I’m doing.
What recurring dreams are you having? What could discovering them and the little messages they are sending do for your life? You’ll never know until you keep track of them, discover the messages, and apply them to your waking life.
5. Remembering Dreams Comes Easier With A Dream Journal
A dream journal gets you on track to remembering your dreams much easier. You get into a state where you are constantly trying to remember your dreams, so that you have something to write down in your dream journal, and that keeps your mind acutely aware that you want to remember your dreams and it tries to help you.
You will find yourself waking up and going over the details of your dream.
You will find yourself remembering dreams at the most random times.
You will find yourself doing everything you can to hang onto details of your dreams the moment you open your eyes.
It’s important to note that sometimes you are going to wake up after having a dream that it so vivid and real that you don’t think you are going to forget it, but as the morning goes on, you may find that the dream that was once so clear suddenly disappears into a haze that you can’t quite make out. That’s why it’s important to write down your dream in a dream journal as soon as possible no matter how clear it is.
Write It All Down
Whether you are having weird dreams, dreams that don’t make sense, or dreams that scare the crap out of you, write them down. Don’t skip one because you think it’s not important or because you just don’t want to remember it. You may find looking back on it that it holds some really important information that will help you in your life.
Some Dreams Won’t Mean A Thing
Some dreams will just be a collection of thoughts and experiences you had throughout your day. You may watch a TV show and dream about it. You may see someone on the street and dream about them. You may just have dreams about the fantasies you have. Not every dream is going to have a message for you. But, as you keep a dream journal and start to learn more about your dreams, you will be able to tell when you are having a dream that means something or a dream that is just meant to get your thoughts and experiences out.
Dream Journal Challenge: Steps To Make Writing In Your Journal And Interpreting Your Dreams Work For You
For 30 days, take the time each morning to write down your dreams. Then, when you have time during your day, go over your dream and see if there is any meaning in the dream that can help you improve your life or answer some questions you may be having.
I’m sure you will be amazed at some of the things you discover, as I have been. For instance, I have looked back at the dreams that I had and saw how prophetic they were. These were dreams that didn’t make sense at the time and I found impossible to interpret.
However, those are few and far between. Most dreams are a reflection of our fears and life and can help us answer burning questions and move in a better direction.
Following are some steps that can help you make the most out of your dream journal.
1. Get The Necessities
A Dream Journal
Whether you are keeping track of your daily waking life or your dreams, I highly recommend you get a journal to write in rather than a computer to type on.
A journal that you need to write in, rather than type in, is much more personal and allows you to express yourself in whatever you want. You can add drawings, pictures, and little side notes wherever you want. And you can format it however you want day by day.
Plus, if you get on your computer or phone to type in your dreams, the chances are you will be distracted by social media, news, or some other things that you regularly look at when you get on a device. That will draw your attention away from your dreams and you will find yourself losing the details quite quickly.
A Voice Recorder
You may not be able to write in your journal as soon as you remember the dream. For instance, you may wake up at 2 am from a dream and know that you need to record it or else you will forget it, but you may not want to turn on the light and write. In times like that, having a recorder beside your bed will come in handy. You can quickly record it, go back to sleep, and then write it down when you wake up and feel like writing. Any phone’s voice recorder will work just fine!
2. Learn To Wake Up Peacefully
If you are regularly jolted out of bed by your alarm, kids, or neighbors, you need to find a way to wake up peacefully. You want to open your eyes and stay in a state where you can easily reflect on your dreams. If you are forced into your day by loud noises, you will quickly lose awareness around your dreams because your focus will be in the present moment.
For most people, this will just mean waking up without an alarm. And, that’s much easier than you may think. You can watch any video on how to wake up without an alarm, and you will pretty much hear three things:
- Decide what time you want to wake up.
- Declare what time you want to wake up.
- Visualize yourself waking up at your desired time.
That’s it. And once you start waking up at your desired time, it will become a habit.
Here’s a video if you want more details.
3. Give Yourself A Suggestion To Remember Your Dreams
Just as you are going to suggest what time you want to wake up, you are also going to suggest that you will remember your dreams when you do wake up.
Don’t worry, you are not going to overload your mind with too many suggestions. It can handle it.
After you declare what time you want to wake up, declare that you will remember your dreams throughout the night, especially any dreams that are important to your waking life.
Repeat your declaration as much as you want as you drift off to sleep.
You may even want to make this declaration throughout your day. For instance, as you eat lunch, you may think about how you are going to remember your dreams when you go to sleep and write them down in the morning.
4. Write Down Some Key Points In Your Dream Journal
Besides recording your dreams, you may want to record a few other things:
- What you were thinking about before you went to bed: Often your dreams will tie into what you were thinking about and you will get more clarity on those thoughts.
- Who? What? When? Where? How? Answering these things can help you answer the why of the dream.
- How you felt upon awakening. This may give more clues into what your dream was trying to tell you.
- Any triggers (a person, a sight, a noise, a conversation, etc.) in your waking life that helped you remember details about your dreams. The triggers may give you extra insight into your dreams.
- Anything else that you can think of that may be important, such as colors, symbols, brightness, familiarity, etc. All aspects that you can remember in your dream may help you interpret your dream better, so don’t leave anything out.
5. Know Your Symbols
Lastly, you should know what some symbols mean to you because it will help you interpret your dreams better.
Yes, you can get a dream interpretation book and use that to help you interpret your dream about various symbols. But, the fact is that many symbols are going to be personal to you and won’t represent what the dream journal tells you they represent.
For instance, sailing on an ocean is terrifying for me, so if I’m sailing on an ocean, then the ocean likely represents my fear. Some dream dictionaries will say that sailing on an ocean represents freedom, but not for me. It’s terrifying. However, being beside an ocean represents freedom to me. It’s where I feel most alive.
When you write down your dreams, I recommend you write down the symbols in the dreams (colors, people, places) and then write down what those things represent to you. This will help you piece together your dream better for interpretation.
Bob – greediness
A big tree – protection
Create your own dream dictionary that you can refer to when you need it. As a bonus, the more you tell yourself that sailing on the ocean represents fear to you – or whatever you tell yourself – the more that symbol will show up in your dreams when you need it to represent fear.
There’s a lot more to interpreting your dreams, but identifying your symbols is a good place to start. If you find that you enjoy your dream journal, you will naturally start delving into how to interpret your own dreams and find it easier and easier as you go along.
Eric Edmeades, the founder of WildFit, is hosting a masterclass with Mindvalley where you'll learn his entire WildFit methodology in 60 minutes.
In this masterclass, you'll discover 5 simple hacks to trigger a series of weight corrections in your body and feel more vibrant without adjusting your calorie intake or exercising more.