Exploring The Unconscious: How To Keep A Dream Diary
When setting intentions for the new year, Liberty invites you to think deep and delve into the unconsciousRead more
Whether in the form of a 2022 diary or the beautifully untouched pages of a new work notebook, fresh stationery can be a powerful talisman to take into the new year with you – helping to set out intentions and to plan for the months to come.
It’s all about turning over a new leaf, quite literally. With this in mind, there’s no better time to start keeping a dream diary – a reflective and intuitive way to record nocturnal imaginings. The average person might have 4-6 dreams per night, lasting anywhere between 5-40 mins apiece for approximately two hours in total. With nearly eight billion people on earth, every 24 hours we have an estimated 40 billion dreams between us – that’s a lot of lost teeth, fish playing the trombone, and realising you’re naked in a school French exam…
So Why Keep A Dream Diary?
Dream diaries have been used by everyone from artists and writers to psychologists and mathematicians, to unspool the potential hidden meanings of the unconscious. A memory-strengthening exercise that can also provide insight into the psyche, diary-keeping helps to capture and fix the elusive details of dreams before they are faded by daylight.
Recording these recollections as part of your morning routine helps to strengthen your dream recall over time, with the conscious and unconscious mind gradually learning to work together as one. Because they aren’t constrained by everyday logic, dreams can offer a method for creative problem solving – famously, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was sparked from a dream he had about cows.
Top Tips For Keeping A Dream Diary
1. Keep a notebook by your bedside (and don’t forget a pen). The aim is to make it as easy as possible to get scribbling while the dream is still fresh in your mind, so do it as soon as you wake up.
2. Let instinct take the lead. This isn’t the time to be prescriptive, but instead to do whatever feels right – whether that’s jotting down key words, free-writing in a stream of consciousness, or sketching out the details. Write in the present tense, to better capture the emotions you felt in real time.
3. Look for patterns and recurring motifs, to compare them with your waking life. As Aristotle said: “The most skilful interpreters of dreams are they who have the faculty of observing resemblances.”
4. Track your sleep cycles. You dream most deeply during REM sleep – gaining an understanding of how long it takes to cycle through the different sleep stages makes it easier to record dreams immediately post-REM, when your brain has returned to a more alert state.