4 Simple Steps to a Transformative Dream Journal

When’s the last time you wrote down your dream? For some, the practice comes almost automatically–their dreams are so vivid, they can’t help but write them. But most people have never written a dream down.

Recent psychological research demonstrates there could be great benefit to paying more attention to your nightly visions. Our dreams often directly reflect our concerns from waking life, and by paying attention to dream material, we can glean valuable and practical wisdom.

If you have ever awakened from a dream and thought that it just might have a message for you, then I encourage you to begin a dream journal. The simple act of writing your dreams down can change your life in powerful ways.

The Power of Dreams

I should know…it happened to me. In 2009, I was struggling with self-destructive habits, anxiety, depression, and a lack of direction. I turned to dreamwork, writing down every dream religiously and talking about them to my dream teacher every two weeks.

My dreams helped me understand the ways I had been avoiding my true feelings, and taught me how to have the courage to be present with all of who I am. My dreams continue to be a well of support I return to over and over. They provide inspiration, wisdom, and small, simple reminders that help me to live my truth.

Why You Don’t Remember Your Dreams

When I tell others I do dreamwork, I often hear that people don’t remember their dreams. If this sounds like you, I’d suggest that it’s easier to remember than you think.

There’s mounting neurological evidence that if you go through at least one full sleep cycle in a night, you have a dream. So where are they all going? Like any other cognitive skill, our ability to remember our dreams can be strengthened with practice.

In my close to ten years of experience with dreamers, I’ve come to observe other reasons that we tend to not remember our dreams. For one, we don’t really want to. For many people, the dreams they remember are painful, scary or both. The idea of bringing more attention to them can be intimidating, to say the least.

For another, we tend to have a lot of ideas about what our dreams mean before we really take a close look at them. Even though Freud’s theories have been rejected in many arenas, we often assume the content of our dreams is a direct reflection of who we truly are or what we secretly want. Or, we think our dreams have to be fantastical and elaborate in order to have depth or meaning.

Our fears and assumptions about dreams can serve as subconscious blocks to remembering them. Committing to releasing these blocks creates the foundation for a dream practice with depth.

Four Easy Steps to An Awesome Dream Journal

It’s simple to set the intention to remember your dreams. Before you go to sleep tonight, say to yourself: “I want to remember my dreams tonight.” This almost always works within 3 days. Why? Because dreams operate on the subconscious level—meaning our capacity to dream is highly susceptible to internal messaging!

Once your intention is set, follow these four steps for an awesome dream journal:

  1. Make It Easy. Choose where you will be recording your dreams and make it easily accessible to where you sleep. It could be a paper journal, a voice memo on your phone, or you writing emails to yourself (my favorite method!).
  2. Write Something Down ASAP. If you don’t have time to write your whole dream down in the morning, here’s my tip: pick out three nouns that were in your dream (persons, places, or things). Jot those three words down before you do anything else in the morning. Return later when you have more time, and your memory will usually be jogged.
  3. Don’t Interpret–Yet! When writing down your whole dream, don’t think too much about what the dream means, and don’t focus on the parts you can’t remember well. Instead, put your attention on what you do remember clearly, and try to experience the dream as you are writing instead of interpreting it.
  4. Let The Dream Surprise You. Dreams have many layers and can be understood in a variety of ways. You will always be the ultimate expert on your own dreams, and there are always new things to learn from them. Allow yourself to stay open to the potential complexity of your dream, and reserve your understanding of it until it surprises you.

Do you have a dream journal? What’s the most amazing dream you have ever remembered? I’d love to hear your dream experiences and what techniques have worked for you!

Kezia Vida has been a professional dreamwork practitioner and ardent student of dreams since 2009. She lives on 111 acres outside of New Orleans where she writes a popular blog on dreams, sees dreamwork clients and teaches workshops, and recently published an interactive dream journal called The Dreaming I. You can follow her updates on Instagram.

Photo by William Bayreuther on Unsplash

44 comments

Shae Lee
Shae Lee13 hours ago

Thank you for sharing

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Thomas M
Thomas M7 days ago

Thanks for posting

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Olivia M
Olivia M7 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Leo C
Leo Custer10 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Jessica C
Jessica C12 days ago

thx

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Mely L
Mely Lu18 days ago

thanks

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Carol S
Carol S18 days ago

Spam reported

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Peggy B
Peggy B19 days ago

tyfs

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Lesa D
Lesa D19 days ago

thank you Kezia...

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Val P
Val P20 days ago

cool

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