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Dream Journal; What, Why, and How.

dream journal

Dream Journal or dream journal is a therapeutic technique that has recently gained popularity. For most of us, our dreams do not make any sense. They are absurd,confusing, full of unrealistic situations, strange colours and most of the time, easily forgettable. 

What if there is a way to actually make sense of these dreams and also, in some cases, the underlying thoughts and patterns that might be relevant? Over the recent years, many psychologists have researched dreams, dream journaling, and also how keeping dream journals can be an insight into a person’s individuality. No two people can have the exact same dream and possibly make the same deductions out of the event!

For example, Carl Jung “observed that dreams are driven by a natural tendency to bring resolution and closure to unfinished emotional and mental problems of the day.” (Siamak Khodarahimi, 2009).

dream journal
Picture Credits – Gateway to Lucid Dreaming

What is Dream Journaling?

Briefly, Dream Journaling is the act of recording your dreams. Most nights, an individual dreams for roughly 2 hours during sleep. Upon waking up, there is a small window of semi-awakeness where the dreams are at the tip of consciousness and upon completly waking up, most fade away.

The act of recording the dream (whatever you can remember) in this small window, either in a notebook, voice notes, and/or video diary, is commonly refered to as dream journaling.

Sometimes, we do have recollection of certain dreams or specific instances in a dream that remain in our consciousness. One can always start with noting those down and then start journaling all that they remember from the most recent dreams. Over the course of time, you will start seeing regualr patterns in your writings and also will be able to make deductions of what you are dreaming.

What help making these deductions? Visit the MHT Directory and choose a therapist who can help you.

dream journal
Picture credits – Lucid Dreaming-Lucid Living

Why should we Dream Journal?

“Dreaming is the art of the mind. Every dream is intrinsically a creative experience. As the artists of the night, we are co-participants in weaving new creations from the complexity of our entire being.” Fariba Bogzaran and Daniel Deslauriers, Integral Dreaming: A Holistic Approach to Dreams (2012).

There are many advantages of keeping a dream journal. Here are some of them.

1. Help have lucid dreams.

What if you could actually control your dreams instead of just experiencing them? When writing or noting your dreams, you are working with both, your subconscious and conscious minds which, when working in correlation, can help you eventually be aware of when you are dreaming and when you’re not. Imagine knowing, in your dream, that you are in fact, dreaming. With a lot of work and practice, one can actually control what one dreams and what course of actions the dreams take. Imagine, no more nightmares!

2. Help create awareness about dream patterns.

When done for extendedn periods of time, dream journaling can help identify patters, reoccuring instances, familar faces, situations, insecurities, fears and even attractions that frequent one’s subconscious minds. When done right, with the right guidance, an individual can make groundbreaking deductions about one’s own psyche with the help of dream analysis.

3. Help reduce stress.

Dream journaling, like any other form of journaling, has extreme benefits for one’s physical, emotional as well as psychological health. Over the recent years, various studies have shown that everyday journaling can help reduce stress, strengthen our immune system, help fight anxiety, help stop overthinking and also slow aging. All of this plus making patterns in your dreams sounds like a fun adventure.

4. Help develop an understanding on your emotions.

It is common knowledge that emotions and thoughts go hand in hand. Dreams have a huge impact on what you think and how you feel for the whole day. One will be happily cheerful after a nice dream whereas sad, anxious and irritated after a nightmare. Chronologizing your dreams can help you make relations between your dreams and the mood on subsequent days.

5. Dream interpretation is fun!

Just being aware of your dreams, the happenings, frequent faces, various situations can really be an insightful event for most of us. Who wouldn’t want to know what our subsconscious mind is trying to fabricate!

dream journal
Picture credits – Lucid Dream Society

How to Dream Journal?

Now that we know the what and the why, we have to know the how! Here are some tips that can help you get started.

1. Pick a comfortable notebook with an attached pen right by your bed

You can make video or voice journals, however, by the time you would have picked your device and opened the app, half of the dream would have been forgotten. Always first write down everything that you remember from your dream on paper and later you can transcribe it into different modes.

2. Draw images

Our dreams are primarily visual in nature, why should our dream journal be only written text? Making rough sketches initially and then filling them up with colours and shadings as in your dream can help you recollect the scene better and also make the process fun.

3. Try to focus on emotions

Instead of just writing what happened, try to consciously figure out the emotions you felt and how it’s making you feel in the present. Remember the link between feelings, emotions and thoughts!

4. Write actual names

Instead of just writing that you were out with friends, try writing where you were and with whom. Writing names will give you perspective and also help you eventually in coming up with patterns and deductions.

5. Follow a template

Following a template will help you structure your dream journal. You can always buy a dream journal, get a free template from the internet or just make your own. Key things to include – Date, time in the dream, setting, characters, emotions, any dialogues, emotions felt during the dream, emotion upon waking up, type of sleep.. so on and so forth. Always try to end the day’s dream by sketching out the visuals.

6. Download Mind Alcove App

The advancement in technology can be put to use for our mental wellbeing as well. Now you can journal your dreams using the mobile app – Mind Alcove.

The Mind Alcove consists of four journaling styles: learning, one line diary, gratitude and dream. The feature of dream journaling by Mind Alcove App helps you pen down your dreams in systematic manner by describing your dream, acknowledging emotions attached to that dream and your interpretation of it. This constructive style of dream journaling helps individuals understand their thoughts and emotions present at a subconscious level and thereby resolving it accordingly.

This World’s Sleep day, let’s inculcate the habit of dream journaling and take a step towards understanding our subconscious!

MHT Store offers a wide collection of products that can help you improve the quality of your sleep. Click here to explore now.


1. Why Keep a Dream Journal by Erik Sangerma
2. How to start (and keep) a dream journal
3. How To Keep a Dream Journal: Tips, Examples and Templates

Picture Credits


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