Dream diaries: How (and why) to keep a diary of your dreams
Dream diaries, or dream journals, are fun, easy, and beneficial. It is a great way to gain insight nto your subconcious.
Keeping a dream diary can be very beneficial. It is fun, easy, and insightful. You can get to the bottom of things that may be bothering you, but you are unsure of what they are. It can also give you clues to health problems. Sometimes your subconscious is working on ideas or problems that you are not aware of which will be revealed by keeping a record of your dreams. It is very helpful when trying to make hard decisions.
Begin by keeping a notebook and pen by your bed at night. You may also find it useful to have a flashlight handy. The hardest part is making yourself get up and write it down right away. As soon as you wake from your dream write everything down. If you wait until the morning or, if it is already time to get up and you wait until after your coffee, the details will fade. It is very important to get it all down while it is fresh. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar, and do not try to analyze the dream during the recording process. The main goal at this point is to get everything from the dream itself written down before you forget it, get it confused, or read too much into it. As you develop the habit it becomes much easier. If you find yourself remember more details throughout the day, write those down as well. Before you go to bed, always write down a brief summary of what happened that day and what is going on in your life to serve as a reference point when looking back over your dream diary.
There are techniques that you can use to direct your dreams should you be trying to accomplish a goal with your dream diary. One thing to try is asking yourself a question. If there is something in your life that you are uncertain about or a health problem you are trying to understand, write this question in your dream journal. Read the question to yourself and hold it in you mind before going to sleep. You can then compare this question to your dreams and look for any clues.
Once you have recorded your dreams you can come back to them for analysis. There are many ways to do this. It may be easier for you to digest if you type them into a word processor after you have written them down. There are many software programs you can purchase to supplement your dream diary which will help you to organize recurring symbols and themes for in-depth analysis.
When looking over your dreams and trying to understand them, concentrate consider what the elements of the dream mean to you. There are many books on dream symbols, which can be useful, but they are generalizations that may not apply to you. Consider all of the people, places, objects, etc in your dream. List these things. Go through this list and ask yourself about each one. When considering people you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. Who is that person and what do they mean to me? This is not necessarily your relationship with them, but what they symbolize as a person. What types of things do you associate with them? Ask yourself what part of you they represent. Consider the events of the dream in light of those answers. For example, say you have a dream of your aunt being murdered by her neighbor. You wake up very upset and fearful. Ask the question. Who is my aunt? For this example, she is an artist. Who is her neighbor? You don’t know him personally, but when you see him he always seems very unhappy and serious. His house and lawn are always in perfect order, and when he pulls into his driveway his car is spotless. This is when you ask yourself what part of you they represent. Your aunt represents your creative side, and the neighbor is the more serious, neat and organized aspect of your personality. You find that the dream does not mean that the neighbor harbors some dark secret and your aunt is in danger, but rather that your subconscious is trying to tell you that your serious, well organized side is stifling or killing your creativity. Of course, you will still feel better if you go ahead and call your aunt to make sure she is all right. This is a simplified example of how you could interpret the dream.
Keep your notebook ready at night, and take it with throughout the day in case you remember more. Write down everything you can remember as soon as you have the dream. Go back and type it later when you have time. Keep a record of your observations of these dreams – what they might mean, recurring themes, etc. Keep notes on what is going on in your life along with the dreams for reference. Over time, you will find that the dream diary is very revealing, useful, and enjoyable.