By the time we die, most of us will have spent a quarter of our life sleeping and six or more years dreaming. Throughout history, we have used dreams for guidance, as omens, and we have tried to interpret dreams. An entire science has been built on studying dreams! Whether you believe dreams are your brain working unfettered on its own time (imagination!), your subconscious trying to make sense of things, or your soul wandering and exploring other worlds, keeping a dream journal can put you in touch with a part of you that mostly keeps quiet…that is until asked! In this article, you’ll find not only the benefits of keeping a dream journal (the why) but also some dream journal tips (the how).
The Argument Against Keeping a Dream Journal
“But I don’t dream,” you might say. It is a biological fact that every human dreams an hour and a half to three hours a night. “Okay then, I can’t remember my dreams,” is your answer. This resistance to entering the world of elusive night-stories is easily remedied. First thing when you wake up, try and recall one image. A remembered image will lead to more, and soon you will recollect entire and multiple dreams.
Dream Journal Benefits/Why Keep a Dream Journal?
Keeping a Dream Journal Will Improve Your Life
Reflection of your dreams will help you understand the phases of your life or discover and work out problems before they become bigger. If you listen, your dreams will reveal the true feelings that your conscious brain ignores and you blast through in your waking life.
Keeping a Dream Journal Will Improve Your Writing
Dreams are a connection and gateway to the world of imagination. Plus, dreams tell stories in metaphors and symbols. Paying attention and reflecting on the meaning behind your own dream symbols will strengthen and expand your symbolic language. Subtext brings more meaning and depth behind the words on a page, and writing about dreams is wonderful practice for this often-elusive creative writing skill. By recording your dreams you will discover fresh metaphors and begin to think metaphorically which will translate into your own writing. Dreams are full of emotion, and integrating more authentic emotion into your writing will make it more compelling for your reader. Dreams include hundreds of images, so your own descriptive writing powers are also put into practice.
Dream Journal Tips
Dream Journal Tips #1 – Record Your Dreams
Before you go to sleep, tell yourself to remember at least one image. Keep a journal and pen beside your bed. First thing upon waking, try and remember just one image. If you can grab onto one, many times you will remember more and the dream will pop into your memory in its entirety.
Dream Journal Tips #4 – Reflect On Your Dreams
If a particular dream takes your attention, write about it. What emotions did you experience during your dream? Why? What symbols did you notice? What do they mean to you?
Dream Journal Tips #3 – Use Your Own Language of Symbols
There are many books on dream analysis, but interpreting your own dream symbols and discovering your personal symbology can take you deeper into your realm of imagination and meaning.
Whether figuring out problems, strengthening your imagination, or improving your writing, keeping a dream journal is a way of multitasking to enhance many areas of your life. Dreams are a resource you have right at your fingertips and in abundance. All you need to do is pay a little attention to get them to work for you!
Learn more with 12 other Types of Journals to Keep.
Award-winning novelist Kathy Steffen teaches fiction writing and speaks at writing programs across the country. Additionally, Kathy is also published in short fiction and pens a monthly writing column, Between the Lines. Her books, FIRST THERE IS A RIVER, JASPER MOUNTAIN and THEATER OF ILLUSION are available online and at bookstores everywhere. Check out more at www.kathysteffen.com