A dream journal is a log for your unconscious escapades. Most people tend to completely forget their dream life, but there are all kinds of adventures to be had in the unconscious mind. Here’s a quick guide for dream journaling and why seniors might want to try it.
Dream journaling can be a fun and rewarding activity. Keeping one can provide psychological benefits and open up a new world of dreams. Here are a few of the benefits you can enjoy by starting a dream journal.
Dreams are often a reflection of your waking life, and your fears or worries slip into them. You may have dreams about an upcoming surgery or relating to a financial issue, for example.
When you write your dreams down, you can start to process these feelings and work on alleviating them. Dreams are often about playing through scenarios and preparing for what’s going to happen. If you dream a negative outcome, you may expect one and have a negative mindset. However, when you look at your dreams consciously, you can recognize this and work to turn your mindset around.
Psychoanalysts like Freud and Yung believed that dreams were a direct window into the unconscious mind. Whether you put stock in their psychological ideas, you might agree that there is something to be learned from dreams. In dreams, your imagination runs wild, and you experience all your thoughts directly. They may seem like pure absurdity and abstraction, but when you write them down and look at them again later, you could find profound revelations about your own mind in patterns you find.
Sometimes it can be fun to just trade dream stories with your friends. The surreal and absurd events that frequent your dream life make for hilarious and insightful conversation. Having a journal with all your dreams written down can improve the level of these conversations by providing details you may have otherwise forgotten.
You could even start a small group of dream journalists that meet up and share their best dreams. Or you could have your friends try to analyze your dreams, attempting to piece together what the zany events in your sleeping mind might mean. Adventurous seniors in Colorado Springs may even consider joining an online or local group dedicated to the topic.
Getting started with dream journaling can sometimes pose a few difficulties. Here are some tips to help you start the habit.
One of the biggest problems with starting a dream journal is simply not having any dreams. There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a nice, new journal and being ready to log some crazy dreams just to have a week of blank, void-like sleep.
The best solution for this issue is to wake up around two hours before you usually would and then go right back to sleep. Waking up increases your alertness and awareness, so when you go back to sleep, you’ll be more likely to remember what happens.
However, you do want to be careful that you're not chasing dreams at the detriment to sleep quality. Seniors who are struggling to get enough sleep or feeling tired during the day may want to wait until they're more refreshed before using this tactic.
Dreams don’t last as long as normal memories. Most of your dream will probably fade away by breakfast, so if you don’t capture it fast, you’ll probably just remember that there was a cool dream you wanted to remember.
Keeping your journal on your nightstand is a good way to remember to write first thing in the morning. You could even try setting it on top of your alarm or phone so you have to pick it up in the morning. It can also help to write entries even when you don’t have dreams to report. Just writing, “no dreams today,” will help keep up your habit of journaling.
Trying to describe the strange world and characters of your dreamscape can be difficult and time consuming. Substituting drawings for lengthy descriptions saves time and adds an aesthetic quality to your journal. If your art skills are really good, you could just keep a sketchbook with illustrated scenes from your dreams. On the other hand, if you don’t like to draw much more than stickmen, you could try printing off clipart and make a scrapbook version of your dream.
Your dream journal doesn’t have to be a physically bound book. You can keep a log just as easily on the computer with a notepad or journal app. Many people find typing much faster and easier on the hand than writing with a pen, and on the computer, you can add images and clipart without having to print it off.
You also might consider keeping a dream journal blog if you’re not shy about your dreams. Putting your entries online lets your friends and family see them easily. And if your blog gains enough popularity, you could even make a little money from it.
If you’re looking for more information on dreams or just want a quiet place to journal, try ViewPointe assisted living’s library.