10 Tips to Help You Start and Keep a Dream Journal

Try these simple techniques to unlock the power of your dreams.

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10 Tips to Help You Start and Keep a Dream Journal

Did you know that Google, sewing machines, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” all share something in common?  They were all inspired by dreams.  Dreams are mystical and amazing sources of insight and inspiration. Unfortunately, most people recall less than 10% of their dreams.

But there is a simple practice to help you remember your dreams—write them down in a dream journal. It may sound like an impossible feat. How do you write down what you don’t remember?  The key is your intention and your willingness to make dream recall and journaling a daily part of your morning routine. Committing as little as five minutes a day can make a world of difference in remembering and deciphering your dream life.

Here are 10 tips to keeping a dream journal to help you get started. Maybe the next amazing invention or inspiring creative work will find its beginnings in your dream journal.

1. Pick a journal. Inexpensive composition books that cost under a dollar work great. If you want to use something special be sure to choose one that you’ll feel comfortable writing in. Avoid something with gilded edges that might feel too fancy or intimidating to scribble in before you’ve had a cup of coffee.

2. Keep your dream journal by your bed. The very act of having a dream journal on your nightstand is a shout-out to your unconscious that you are serious about wanting to recall your dreams. This bold intention often kick-starts your ability to remember your dreams.

3. Write in your journal when you wake up. Even if your only memory is something as simple as a color – simply write the date and what you remember. It’s fine to write “no luck I can’t remember” –just write something.

4. Don’t be afraid to draw. Some dreams are easier to capture in an image. When you have a strong visual in your mind’s eye, instead of writing a few words—draw a picture. Don't worry if it's a stick figure or something that looks like a cave painting--just capture your memory on the page.

5. You don’t need to write in sentences. Jotting down a few keywords is fine if that works best for you. Most important is to track what you remember in a way that you understand when you reread it later—and in a way that’s quick and easy so you’ll keep journaling daily.

6. Feelings are important.  Remember to capture whatever emotions you recall. Were you happy in the dream? Maybe you saw something that doesn't make sense but you clearly remember being afraid. Write it down.

7. Be as detailed as possible. The more you keep track, the more details you’ll remember and the lengthier your entries will become. You’ll be amazed at your progress in just a few weeks.

8. Write down any parallels with your life. If your dreams have similarities with experiences you are going through, be sure to note it in your dream journal. For example if you have a dream about being worried about a meeting at work, does this coincide with a presentation or some sort of work stress—if so, write it down.

9. Look for patterns in your dream recall.  Do you remember your dreams better on weekdays or weekends? After watching TV or reading? See if you can determine what behaviors are helping or hindering you from remembering your dreams.

10. Trust your intuition rather than books on dream symbols. It's fine to do a search on the internet and see if the common interpretation makes sense, but recognize that your dreams are personal and what you think it means trumps the dream dictionary. Ask yourself what the dream means to you.



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