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5 Practical Tips for Keeping a Dream Journal

Posted by Rich Watson on

Here are my top five tips for one of the most important elements of lucid dreaming practice:

Keep it close to you

Starting off with a simple self explanatory fact; if you keep your journal within close proximity to your bed, you are more likely to write your dreams while they are fresh in your mind. This includes taking it with you when you stay elsewhere or go on vacation, make sure you don't leave it behind and fall out of the habit - it is SOOO important to keep a diary of your dreams for successful lucid dreaming!

Drop it like its hot

The longer you leave it between waking and writing in your diary, the less you will remember. I find it useful to lay still for a minute or two and back track on what has just happened moments ago, in the dream world of course - me laying in bed for hours doesn't make for good reading! Make sure you write in your diary moments after waking and when you start moving, it may sound strange, but your memory gets wiped the move you move your body or set your mind on what to have for breakfast. It is also acknowledged within spiritual traditions to be a very peaceful period. I am of course talking about the the hypnopompic period, which is the transitional period between dreaming and wakefulness. This is when you are in a true state of relaxation before cortisol is flooded into your system which shocks you awake. My advice: Get rid of harsh alarm clocks, opt for leaving the window or curtain open. It makes for a more natural transition and means your dream recall stays stronger for longer. Don't have a horrible factory siren as your alarm, you will wake up in a bad mood!

Writing Style

You don't need to be Shakespeare to write your dream journal and make it interesting for yourself to read later, but make sure you don't form the habit of just listing events. It is useful to recite dream events, but it is even more important to describe the emotional content of the experience. Focus on factors such as how the dream character made you feel, how you interacted, what is in the background and the general feeling from the environment. Its not important to become Freud and begin deconstructing your dreams for the time being, but be sure to include details such as eye colour, clothing, wildlife etc. Taking details like this into account will strengthen your lucidity and keep you present in that dream space for longer once you achieve conscious awareness in the dream. Another small bit of advice I picked up from Author and Lucid Dreamer, Nick Barrett, is to write your Dream Diary as present tense. So rather than; Then we walked up the spiral staircase and heard a singer.... put . I am climbing the stairs as I hear singing in the distance.


Another really important point that is overlooked in most lucid dreaming teachings! You need to review the week/fortnight/month of dreams consistently to acknowledge any trends or re occurrences happening. This helps develop your critical situational awareness of the dream world which can contribute to inducing lucidity within the dream. This technique is known popularly as D.I.L.D, Dream induced lucid dream. The cultivation for critical thinking is important for bring present into both your waking and dreaming life, so it can benefit you to get that frontal lobe working a bit harder.

Dream Incubation

Now, this may be referred to as meditation, but I think there is too much baggage involved with that word. Give yourself a few moments of the day where you remember something poignant from the dream before hand (after reading your diary for the week of course) or one you would like to revisit or recreate. Imagine yourself fully in the moment of that dream, with the dream characters you found yourself with and the scenario that was running at the time. Sit in the emotional environment of that dream for a few minutes and focus on your breathing, or sounds, or your body, basically anything that can anchor you aware from your thoughts. You can do this throughout the day or just as you are falling asleep. I find this helps tremendously with falling into dreams consciously, as you were the main motivation for that dream agenda, making you the director - not the actor/actress of the dream movie.  

Leather Bound Dream Journal Available


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