There are countless good reasons to keep a diary of your waking life and there are plenty of articles on this concept. Keeping a diary can help you to better remember life’s events, it can be fun to look back on, it can help you to learn from mistakes and gain perspective on matters that you don’t see clearly at the time, and it can help you to work through your problems and vent your feelings.
But what about keeping a diary of your non-waking life? What would be the benefit of keeping a diary of your dreams? Well actually there are a number of good reasons to do just that, so let’s take a look at some of them and at how you can go about making the most of this enlightening process.
Why Keep a Dream Diary?
The main reason to keep a dream diary is simply that dreams are generally quite fleeting. Often we won’t quite remember our dreams, and even when we do, we’ll often find that we lose them after a few hours or a few days. You may be able to remember at least a couple of the dreams you had this week, but can you remember any of the dreams you had last year, or the year before? It’s an odd phenomenon, but most of our dreams get lost in time shortly after we have them.
Writing down our dreams however gives us a record, and when you read this record you’ll find that the dreams come flooding back in vivid detail. Furthermore, while you’re in the process of keeping your dream diary you’ll find that you’re much more likely to remember more of your future dreams.
The question then is why you would want to remember your dreams, but actually there are a lot of good reasons. For one, dreams can tell us about ourselves and about what’s on our mind at the time – and even if you’re sceptical of dream analysis it’s clear that they can sometimes be quite enlightening. Then there’s the simple fact that dreams are quite fascinating in general, and working them out can often be a lot of fun – for many people this is enough reason in itself. Finally, dreams can actually be useful as a tool for creativity and can help you to think in a different way. In remembering those dreams you’ll be engaging different parts of your brain and that’s almost always a good thing.
How to Keep Your Dream Diary
For all this to work though, you need to understand the basics of what makes a good dream journal and you’re going to need to use some discipline to ensure you get the most from it. To this end, try to follow the following tips to make sure that your dream diary will be interesting, comprehensive and accurate…
Write it Right Away: The whole reason you’re writing your dream diary as we’ve discussed is because dreams don’t tend to hang around very long in the memory otherwise. In other words then, it’s a bad idea to leave writing each entry for too long, as you’ll often find that the dream is gone before you have the chance to capture it on paper. The solution is to keep your journal by your bed, and to write it down as soon as you wake up.
Take it With You: During the day though, you might want to take your dream diary with you in a shoulder bag or in your briefcase. The reason for this is that you will sometimes find that you don’t remember dreams right away, but that they then later come back to you throughout the day. Keeping something to hand will allow you to jot down these dreams too with relative ease. Another reason to carry your diary with you? Well if you leave it on the side then you’ll practically be inviting your friends and family to have a read – and there will probably be some things in there you would rather no one saw.
Be Thorough: Dreams are highly nuanced and sometimes it’s the seemingly insignificant details that are actually the most important. Make sure then that nothing gets missed and that you include every little detail.
Try Drawing: Dreams are also very visual, and some of the details will be a little difficult to capture and portray in words. To make sure that you fully get the feel and the atmosphere of your dream across, it can often be a good idea to try drawing it which will help you to capture the elements that sound a little odd in writing. And it can also create some very interesting artwork – just ask Salvador Dali…