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what is dream journal

Dream Journal - All About Dream Journaling

Are you looking to get a better handle on your dreams? Want to start your very own dream journal practice but know not where to start? Are you hesitant to begin without the proper guidance?

Then you're in luck, for today we will be exploring the various benefits of dream journaling alongside a comprehensive guide on how to get started.

What is Dream Journaling?

Put simply, dream journaling is simply a way to keep track of your dreams, ensuring that you have better dream recall. Keeping a dream diary in this way isn't just a way to get better at lucid dreaming. Rather, you can also get access to a whole area of your mind that you previously had no idea about.

By accessing your dream memories, you can find plenty more out about yourself and your dream world. The subconscious mind is trying to talk to you, but will you listen? Sure, in doing so you will also be able to experience vivid dreams, but through dream research, you will also become more privy to your own dream symbols.

Among you are the next dream researchers, so proceed accordingly and make your own dream journals so you don't get caught out. Why not keep one in conjunction with a sleep diary for bonus points?

What are the Various Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal?

Besides the obvious, there are many other benefits of keeping a dream journal, not limited to enhancing your waking world and expanding your very own dream dictionary.

1. Dream Patterns

Arguably most important to the dream journaling enterprise is the fact that it can help you to explore patterns of thoughts through your subconscious. Recurrent dreams, though seemingly nonsensical at first glance, actually have a lot to tell us.

The only way you can access the information that they harbor is by recording dreams like this. The mind has an uncanny ability not to remember dreams, especially if the first thing we do in the morning is roll over and look at our phones. Thus, strictly keeping a dream journal can help us explore the patterns that mark the walls of our dreams.

2. Creative Blocks

If you are anything like the next person, then chances are that any of your creative enterprises have been marred by blocks of some kind. They are all too easy to fall prey to, especially when bearing mental health issues like anxiety and depression which can encourage the fostering of a self-flagellatory attitude.

There has been plenty of research into dreams, much of which has suggested that, in engaging with the subconscious, there are plenty of benefits to be had creatively. One of the inherent roles of dreams is for the subconscious to enact scenarios that solve problems or curiosities that have been experienced on a particular day. In this way, it uses dreams to process the day's happenings and clear the mind for the future.

Thus, getting a handle on these dreams is a very real way to get a handle on the processes going on behind your eyes. You, therefore, unlock a significant portion of your mind heretofore locked away.

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3. Lucid Dreaming

Perhaps the main reason many will be looking to keep a dream journal is to better explore their lucid dreaming habits. One of the key requirements for getting better at lucid dreaming is to have a knack or partial understanding of the recurrent symbols that appear in one's dreams. For this reason, many decide to pick up a dream journal to do the job.

For those who don't know, lucid dreaming is a dream state wherein you can directly control your actions. In this way, you are more or less fully conscious inside the dream while still being able to control how the dream turns out. Essentially, you are allowed to play god, synthesizing events and creatively expressing the path of the dream.

It shouldn't be hard to see how routinely keeping a dream journal can help explore this territory.

How to Keep a Dream Journal

So, now you know why keeping a dream journal is good for you and your development (much like future-self journaling, let's look at how to go about doing it properly.

1. First Thing

First thing's first - the priority for keeping a dream journal is to ensure that you are doing it as soon as you wake up. If you are really committed to your dream journal, then it will be the first thing you do when you wake up, before you have even opened your eyes properly.

Yup, you better get used to trying to decipher your scrawled and illegible handwriting, otherwise it will all be for nothing. Some people opt instead to try and orate the dream into their phone, though this can sometimes rob the dream of its inherent nonsense. This nonsense is the real meat and potatoes for the subconscious, so to go without it seems silly.

2. Present Tense

Another important tool to consider using in your own dream investigations is to ensure that you are writing in the present tense.

You shouldn't have to be told just how illogical and nonsensical a dream can be. This goes beyond merely what happens in the dream, spreading through to the very fabric of time and space.

For this reason, when capturing a dream in, say, a journal, we are unable to perfectly embody the constant metamorphosis at play, where one person will suddenly become someone else, all while we are completely accepting of it (or not even ourselves in the first place).

So, when you are capturing your own dreams in a dream journal, try writing in the present tense at least, as this can be a powerful way to reignite the magic of the dream and to resurrect details that might otherwise have been lost to the ether.

3. Emotions

One of the most important things to consider when going in to capture your own dreams is that the emotions themselves are more crucial than the various plot points.

It can be all too easy to invest all our time in the events of a dream - after all, this is often where the real nonsense in the drum occurs and this, to all intents and purposes is the juicy part (certainly the most entertaining part), right?

Well, though this may be true, it is also just as, if not more, important to capture the various emotions that you felt in response to these wild and diverse plot points. Even if you are not necessarily inhabiting yourself in the dream and are instead occupying a more 3rd person perspective, you should still be able to capture the feelings that you felt at the time.

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4. Sleep Cycles

Something very helpful to get a handle on as soon as possible are your sleep cycles.

Most of the more fruitful passages of dreaming occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycles which occur in two-hour segments. This is a very important part of the daily sleep cycle, especially if you are looking to investigate your dreaming habits. There is, in fact, arguably nothing more important than this period of time.

Thus, it shouldn't be hard to see how you can get a much firmer grasp on your dream recall and sleeping habits by coming to understand your own sleep cycles - i.e. how often they occur, how many you are likely to have per night, etc. Learning these aspects more precisely will then enable you to explore in better detail these states from a more conscious perspective, especially useful if you are looking to engage in lucid dreaming.

Final Words

So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now feeling ready and able to get started exploring your dreams through your very own dream journaling practice.

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FAQs Dream Journal


A dream journal is a place specifically dedicated to capturing and making note of your dreams in whatever form they choose to come. These are usually written down, though some have also taken to journaling with their voices.


A dream journal is a journal that is used to keep track of both your dreams and your sleep cycles so that you can better predict when you will dream and how strongly you will dream in these instances.


Though there is nothing to say that keeping a dream journal is inherently good, there are some inherent benefits to the enterprise, not least of all being the fact that it encourages stronger acts of lucid dreaming.


Keeping a dream journal, though not inherently good, bears its own list of benefits, including the fostering of greater creativity, the ability to sidestep creative blocks more easily and effectively, not to mention the fact that it can just help you get a better night's sleep.


While the conscious mind is the thing that we consciously think with, it is the subconscious mind that does a mighty large chunk of the thinking work. Its domain is nonsense and there is much creativity to be mined in such a domain.


The best way to start any journaling practice is simply to throw yourself amongst it and get stuck in. Don't hesitate or be afraid - there is nothing to be afraid of besides the endless possibilities that your subconscious has to offer.

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