Tag Archives: Dream How-Tos

The Dream Journal: An Essential Tool for Dreamers

Dream Journal Basics, Step by StepIMG_2728

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.

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A Mindful Routine for Sleep and Dreaming (A Corner View* Post)

The first step in dreaming, of course, is going to sleep. So let’s look at a good routine to enter sleep mindfully, and begin to recall and honor our dreams.

1 – Plan your evening so you can get into bed before you are fully exhausted. Just as when we eat mindfully we stop before we are full, when we sleep and dream mindfully we go to bed before we are maxed out with exhaustion. This can be the most difficult step of all for many of us, when our schedules become so packed we can barely squeeze in time to eat well, let alone to get enough sleep. But this is also the most important step, so it is worth reviewing your day to see how you can make a commitment to moving into sleep at a reasonable hour.

2 – Meditate in the evening; sometime between dinner and bedtime is ideal. Even a short ten-twelve minute meditation will help you reconnect inwardly, and begin to calm your thoughts and nervous system to prepare for sleep.

3 – Prepare the body for sleep with a few stretches or yoga poses that are known to help sooth anxiety and still the mind such as a few rounds of Cat/Cow, Down Dog, Forward Fold, and Legs up the Wall Pose.

4 – Be a grateful dreamer: Studies have shown that people who go to bed grateful, sleep and dream better. So go to sleep counting your blessings, and you’ll find this is even better than counting sheep!

5 – Before you lie down in bed, practice pranayama, or breathing techniques, to help settle the mind and calm the body. Alternate nostril breathing is very helpful in balancing and settling the mind before bed, as is a simple breath retention practice like the 4-7-8 breath, in which you inhale for 4 breaths, retain for 7, and exhale for 8. Breath retention practices such as this one can also help you enter lucid dreams, especially if you use them when you wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, for example.

6 -Say you prayers. A bedtime prayer that asks for protection and in which you set intentions for sleep is very helpful. Remember, entering sleep is like stepping through a portal into a realm of unlimited possibilities. Therefore it is wise to move through this transition with respect and intention.

This simple routine is a helpful and healthful way to enter sleep and dreams. You may not be able to do all of these practices every evening, but integrating at least one or more per night can make a significant difference to your sleep and dreaming experience.

*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Path”.  

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