I always, always, always recommend that my readers keep a dream journal.
Dream analysis is utterly fascinating and the best way to get ALL you can from the experience is to keep a dream journal. Even if the dream seems unspectacular and commonplace, you should write down the details.
For example, in your dream journal you should include the following information:
- How you felt during the dream.
- How you felt when you first awoke.
- Who was in the dream with you.
- The predominant colors in your dream.
- Any dream symbols you recall
- The date
- VERY IMPORTANT: Include a few words about how you felt during the day. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
You don’t have to go into great, lengthy details in your dream journal (unless you want to, of course!). You can simply write down a series of words and names. Just remember to include HOW you felt during and after the dream. You don’t even HAVE to have an actual dream journal, you could most definitely use an old notebook! However, don’t use random loose sheets of paper. Why? They’ll inevitably get lost and unorganized. What you’re looking for is a pattern. You need to see what dream symbols you frequently dream about and what people show up often in your dreams.
You also want to watch for situations or emotions that recur in your dreams. Do you often lose things in your dreams (a sign that you feel overwhelmed)? Are you often mistreated in your dreams (a sign that you feel like a victim)? So, as you can see, it will greatly benefit you to have your dreams chronicled in a very organized and ordered manner.
Why What’s Happening in Your Life at the Time Matters
You want to include what’s going on in your life at the time of the dream. For example, if you’re feeling stressed at work, write it down! You’ll be able to see what sort of dream symbols and situations occur when you’re dealing with stress in your life. Also… and this is pretty cool…. you’ll often find out exactly WHAT or WHO is causing you the most stress! If you have recurring “frustration” dreams and a certain co-worker consistenly shows up in them, he or she is a source of your stress and frustration. It could be one small thing they do (or fail to do) that irritates you or it could be every single thing about them! On the other hand, the stress could possibly come from the fact you don’t know how to handle or deal with them. Only you will know for sure.
The thing is, the dream journal and your entries in it will give you a great place to start looking for the root of your stress.
Emotions we feel during the day impact our dreams like nothing else. If we experience FEAR during a movie, for example, we’ll probably face it again in an upcoming dream. That’s why we always say, “I dread my dreams tonight!” after seeing horror movies. We know all too well the fear factor will rear its ugly head again!
The same is true with other emotions. If we feel angry or annoyed, something will probably happen in our dreams that angers or annoys us. It’s as though our dream tries to sort out the strong emotions by “acting out” similar scenarios. Also, if we’re feeling particularly close to someone, we may have dreams that are very pleasant, positive, and even romantic.
This is why it’s so important to jot down a few words about how you’re feeling in “the real world” at the time of the dreams.
I hope you’ll strongly consider keeping a dream journal. The benefits are amazing and, trust me, you’ll have a really fun time!
The Bedside Dream Journal: A Nighttime Memory Book, shown at the top of the post, is an excellent dream journal. It’s available on Amazon for just a little over $10.