Twilight. Frankenstein. The Sewing Machine. The Period Table. All of these hit novels (some which have become major motion films) started the same way. As a dream. Now, you might be thinking, “Of course they did. Everything big you do starts as a dream.” You’re right it does. However, every single of these titles started out as a literal dream the authors dreamed up in the wee hours of the morning or maybe during a small cat nap. Because these authors took what they saw in their dreams and put it on paper, they became sensational authors that are read and discussed often. This begs the question, what groundbreaking things have been dreamed and forgotten? A great way to hold on to potential big ideas is to keep a dream journal.
What’s a Dream Journal?
A dream journal is a simple journal (digital or physical) that you write down your thoughts and dreams you have throughout the night. How you choose to write your dream journal is completely up to you. some people will make bulleted lists. Others will write long, detailed passages. Then there are those who will draw out their dreams and create a visual story. There is no wrong way to write in a dream journal because no matter how you do it, there are benefits of keeping a dream journal.
Benefit 1: A Sharpened Mind
The first benefit of keeping a dream journal is a clearer mind. When you write down your thoughts, you are putting them in a place where they can be stored. So often we store too much in our minds which can cause us to run out of memory space. By writing the dream down, we are clearing space in our mind keeping it sharp.
Benefit 2: Clarity Creation
Keeping a dream journal helps create clearer ideas in your mind. A 2004 study in Germany showed that after 8 hours of sleep, students’ abilities to solve complicated math problems greatly improved after having enough sleep. When getting enough sleep, you are allowing your brain time to go into a place where dreams can occur. Once you write down those dreams, you create a clearer mind which makes solving difficult problems easier.
Benefit 3: Improve Mental Health
We’ve all had a bad dream that, for lack of a better word, haunts us. The dream where we are being chased or falling off a cliff. A dream where your biggest fear actually happens. These dreams are no fun and you might not want to remember them. However, writing these dreams down in your dream journal help you navigate your feelings. When you write these dreams down, you can sort out your emotions and not be haunted by them all day. This, in turn, creates better mental health for you.
Benefit 4: Boost Your Creativity
Remember the novels mentioned at the beginning? All of these award-winning novels came from a dream. If any of these authors chose not to write down their ideas, these wonderful stories would never have been written. By writing down your dreams, you are putting down golden ideas that happened when you were completely out of control of your dreams. Being out of control of your dreams frees us of the limitations reality puts on us.
Benefit 5: Get to Know You
Another benefit of keeping a dream journal is they help you get in touch with who you truly are. We all know that we are ever-changing people because we go through different experiences and grow from them. As we grow, so do our dreams. Often if we are struggling with something or need to understand an idea, it will come to us in our most relaxed state: sleep. Because we seem to understand more about not only our situations but also ourselves in dreams, it’s important to keep a dream journal. When writing your inner thoughts and feelings in the journal, you can process your ideas and get to know yourself better.
Benefit 6: Gain Control
Finally, once you start writing down your dreams, you start to gain control of them as well. This is known as lucid dreaming. When you have lucid dreams, they are clear and able to be manipulated by you. Not only does this maybe create fewer nightmares, but it also puts you in the driver seat to the situations that are weighing on your mind heavily.
Dream journals are a wonderful tool for you to use on a variety of levels. In an academic way, you can get a clearer mind. On a personal level, you can gain some control and get to know yourself better. In addition, you keep all of your thoughts and ideas in a safe place. While it may seem silly to write down the ideas that come to you in the middle of the night, it can truly become a best-selling idea.
For more resources and tips, check out the following resources and articles.