The dream journal, whether you keep yours in a notebook or in a computer file, is the most useful tool you have when you set out to examine your dreams.
Since a dream is not a tangible artifact that you can hold onto and examine, the dream report in your journal is the closest you can come to preserving the dream for future study. So, the first step is to get the dream down on paper. Each morning take a few minutes to record your dreams in as much detail as possible.
Use your dream journal as a field scientist would. Bring the qualities of observation and curiosity to your dream, just as a botanist would bring these qualities to the study of a rare or beautiful plant. Here’s how:
- Adopt the scientist’s attitude of objectivity and curiosity when you record your dreams.
- Consider the the Basic W’s: Record who you were with in your dream, what you were doing, when the dream seemed to take place (time of day and season), where it took place.
- Check in with your five senses: What did you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel in the dream? Experiencing smell and taste in dreams is less common than seeing and hearing—but be alert to the possibility of all sensory experiences, nonetheless.
Dream Journal Tips:
DO: tell the whole story of the dream in as much detail as possible.
DON’T: analyze, interpret, associate, or editorialize just yet. Dreams have a way of slipping from memory within minutes after waking. So first get the detailed dream report down on the page. Once you do, you have preserved the dream for further study, and you may choose to delve into its possible meanings and messages.