Dream Journaling: Have a Chat with Your Subconscious
Dream journaling may seem like an activity only meant for the Woo Woo crowd but some of the greatest minds of our time swear by it. Why? Because it helps to unlock your subconsciousness and get those creative juices flowing. It can also be a form of self-help by allowing you to work through any emotional turmoil that might be plaguing your mind (and keeping you up at night).
Why Do You Dream?
Interpreting your dreams isn’t an exact science but is about building a relationship between your waking and sleeping mind. When you dream, your brain is going to work to store all of the data it received that day and tuck it away into neat little compartments. Interestingly, scientists studying the brain during sleep discovered that during your REM sleep, low-frequency theta waves were more active in the frontal lobe. This replicates what happens when people are awake and their brain is learning, storing, and recalling information. Dream theorists currently recognize the purpose of dreams as:
- Storing information and creating memories
- Processing emotions that came up that day
- Exploring desires and the things that drive us
- Practice handling stressful situations
The last bullet point especially is where nightmares can stem from. We’ve all been there… The next day we have a big event/presentation/job and the night before our mind is running around in circles going over all the details. If we do get to the REM stage (when our most vivid dreams happen), it can show up as the old, naked in public dream. Which one might interpret in their dream journal as meaning you feel unprepared. This might help you to better plan in the future or even process your stress better because you’ve “been there, done that” in your dreams.
The Main Benefits of Dream Journaling
Dream journaling is beneficial for working through a busy mind and/or if you feel like you’re stuck in some thought or behavior patterns that you would like to break free from. It is for the waking mind to pause and reflect on what the subconscious mind might be trying to say. Here are some top reasons to give dream journaling a chance even if you may be a bit skeptical of its value.
New dream journals at the shop here.
“The conscious mind allows itself to be trained like a parrot, but the unconscious does not.” –Carl Jung
1. Spark Creativity
When you sleep and the subconscious mind takes over it allows the rational processing of your brain to be put on the back burner. Anything is possible in your dreams. When you wake up and journal your dreams, you can use your subconscious’ imagination to fuel your waking pursuits. It can help you see life in a new way without the rational brain stepping in to say “that’s not how things work.”
2. Move Through Emotional Baggage
When we lay our head down on the pillow at night, this is the brain’s opportunity to sift and process all the information it received that day including any difficult (or happy) emotions. Dreams can be the mind’s way of unpacking those feelings to understand what they mean and why they are impactful. Ever notice that when you are stressed you’re more likely to have a nightmare? This is no accident. It’s your brain's way of scenario planning and learning how to deal with difficult situations so that tomorrow if you have a similar encounter, it might not feel as stressful because your mind has “practiced” the situation already. You can use dream journals in this situation to understand what emotional patterns are coming up. This can offer you insights that your conscious mind wouldn’t have seen on its own. Subconscious feelings that need our attention rather than ignoring during our waking hours. Use these insights to create change in your waking life to help you remove negative emotions and encounters from your day.
3. Get to Know Yourself a Bit Better
In our dreams it can be a platform for living out your deepest desires. Your subconscious mind might be exploring something your waking mind would not entertain. In analyzing your dream, you may discover something new about yourself that the rational brain put aside. This can lead to greater fulfillment, purpose, and new endeavors.
4. Pro Tip: Play an Active Role in Your Dreams
Over time with the regular practice of dream journaling and reflecting on what your dreams mean, can begin to give you more control of your subconscious mind when asleep. Referred to as lucid dreaming, this dream state allows you to feel almost awake in your dreams and control aspects of how your dream story unfolds. Practitioners of lucid dreaming find value in it transferring creative ingenuity to their waking pursuits.
How to Dream Journal
Getting started is pretty straightforward. Over time you can sharpen your practice by exploring outside texts on dream meanings but this isn't required for getting value out of dream journaling. Here are some quick tips for getting started…
- Do it first thing in the morning before anything else. Keep your journal in the drawer next to your bed and before you’ve had a chance to fully stir, grab your pen and begin jotting down your dreams.
- Don’t worry about it being a well-written narrative. This isn’t a memoir you are writing but rather a fluid recollection of your innermost thoughts and feelings. Its more important to get the information down on the paper than worry about your writing style. It may be helpful to have a framework you use for jotting things down like Who, What, Where, Why, How, and the feeling you experienced.
- Sketch out the most vivid pieces of imagery. Even if you’re not an artist, a little doodle with a description can be a great reminder of the dream’s specifics.
Talk about your dreams with a trusted pal. Opening a dialogue about your dreams and understanding its significance can aid in recall and insights that may not have emerged through writing alone.
Now the question ends with how to get to that dreamy state to start practicing this dialogue between our waking and unconscious mind? Enter Prismatic Plants Good Night tincture. It not only helps you fall asleep and stay asleep, but it also has several herbs that promote dreams. Valerian Root is said to promote REM in later stages of sleep and increase lucid dreaming. It can both enhance vivid dreams and assist in dream recall. Good Night also contains California Poppy, stronger than a nervine relaxant, its is a nervous hypnotic. Meaning it can bring about a deeper sense of relaxation and calm especially for people who have high anxiety and chronic stress. And finally our organic hemp (CBD & CBN) goes to work to calm a racing mind and sedate the body into a deep sleep where you are ready for the dream stage to begin.