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How to Keep a Dream Journal, Dream Diary

By Edited May 2, 2015 1 0

Capturing Dream Details

The First Step to Dream Interpretation

A red dog wearing a curly wig and wrapped in a patchwork quilt spoke to me in a dream. Good grief, what does it all mean? Friend, it could be an omen, or it could simply be too much garlic in the General Tso’s chicken from last night. Whatever it was, indeed that is a doozy of a dream and keeping a dream diary or a dream journal is a solid first step to unraveling and demystifying the world of dreams.

There is little doubt that dreaming is certainly one of the mysteries of the mind that is a universal human experience. Regardless of sex, economic status, education, ethnicity, religion or any other reason; all humans that sleep will experience the world of dreams at some point in their lives. Dreaming is such an elemental human experience that people have sought counsel about dreams and their hidden meanings for eons. The dream world and its interpretation was often a skill left to the wisdom of shaman or medicine men, but through keeping a detailed dream diary or dream journal you can begin unlocking the secrets of your dreams.


How You Do It Makes a Difference

The first and most obvious thing you will need is a way of capturing your dream details. Keeping these details organized is critical to eventually interpreting your dreams. The most basic way to capture dream details is jotting them down in a simple blank notebook or scribbling them in a notepad.

Dream Journal, Get It Down
Simply transcribing your dreams on paper is also the cheapest and most universal means of keeping a dream diary or dream journal. But as simple and obvious as it seems, it’s not always the best method.

Many people quickly discover that writing their dreams down is an awkward process. Some people also find that the act of writing will often serve as an unintended block to the free flow of dream details. If writing is too mechanical, try a simple voice recorder instead. Keeping a dream diary or dream journal is often an easier task by simply using the spoken word opposed to the written word. Speech and voice recording can decrease both the emotional tension and mechanical friction which writing can impose. Many people experience subtle tension or anxiety when writing. Speech recording alleviates this. Friction reduction comes through eliminating the mental to mechanical conversion process of writing. Many people will also find that speaking allows them to recount details quickly and speeding the process up triggers more details. Dream journal and dream diary keepers often find that after committing to documenting their dreams, through incorporating both writing and speech recording they can capture more accurate dream details.

Remember, dreaming is a product of the subconscious and recording dream details is a conscious effort. Writing and speaking both use and stimulate different sections of the brain. Using both methods to document dreams can often have compounding results. Often uncovering obscure or missed details about a particular dream is possible by talking through the experience after writing it down, or vice-versa.


Where You Do It Can Determine Success or Failure

After deciding how to capture the details of your dreams in a dream journal or dream diary, you will need to place to keep it. This may seem simple, but it can prove more of a challenge when put to practice. Placing your dream diary in a strategic location that will encourage dream documentation is critical. Where you keep your dream journal is often the biggest key to success in collecting and cataloguing your dreams. The most obvious place is beside the bed in your main sleeping chamber. Again, obvious and simple doesn’t always work.

If you're single or sleep alone, keeping your dream diary or dream journal bedside will probably work just fine. If you have a sleeping partner, it won’t take you long to find out that bedside isn’t going to fly. Too often the satisfaction, joy and ease of keeping a dream diary or dream journal spoils through simple distraction or interference with others. Yes, your sleeping partner is going to quickly start interfere with your dream recording efforts soon after the first time you roll over and flick on the light trying to scribble down every word that red, curly-headed dog said. Even more disturbing is having a precious slumber disturbed by the mutterings and feverish button clicking of a spouse beside you in the dark.

For those that discover keeping their dream diary or dream journal bedside inconvenient or totally impossible, do not despair. Simply place your dream diary in a secure place where you can grab it quickly the next morning as you stumble your way to the coffee machine. Place your dream journal on your dresser and grab it on your way into the bathroom. Before putting on your morning cosmetics, quickly jot down a word or two about last night's that wacky happenings. Make capturing your dream details a part of your daily ritual. Again, where you keep your dream diary or dream journal is critical. Its placement is either going to encourage accurate, detailed notes or kill your efforts.


Have Fun and Keep Perspective

The most important thing to remember when it comes to dream diary or dream journal keeping is to have fun. Don’t become a slave to dream documentation. Yes, it can help creativity and deepen self-awareness, but don't obsess. If you truly commit to cataloguing your dreams you’re going to have to acknowledge it’s a process. Many times the odd dream alone will have little to no meaning, but a theme or pattern of dream details may start to emerge. Nailing every detail down is impossible, but over a time span you may find that there are common details or recurring specifics to many of your dreams.

Sharing memorable dream moments with loved ones is also a great idea. Be sure to share both wacky and intimate dream details. Sharing dreams can help to build trust between people in a relationship. Sharing also helps cut any tension or cross-currents that may arise between partners once one commits to dream recording. A good laugh shared is always a welcome thing. Who knows, by documenting and sharing your intimate dream details from your dream diary or dream journal, you may not only discover more about yourself, but you may also strengthen a relationship bond and open a new door.

Now, as far as that red, wig-wearing, quilt-wrapped canine is concerned, who knows? But, I got it all down on paper beside my bed.




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