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Why you should be keeping a dream journal

How often do you wake up and think "Wow, that was a *really* weird dream"? Your BFF tells you all about her vivid dream of *finally* going out with her crush...and you're standing there remembering your dream that was so confusing you can't even make sense of it. #awkward!

As complex as they are, dreams can tell you a lot about yourself. That's why we recommend keeping a dream journal.


"Sometimes we are not aware of what is going on with us, but a dream will give you a picture of what is going on in your subconscious" says Gina Tompkins, MSW, MFCC, from Santa Cruz, Calif.  "By keeping track of dreams, you get to fill in the parts of the puzzle." 

Because that's what dreams are: puzzle pieces. You don't dream without a reason. Whether you're stressing over the upcoming test or feeling butterflies after a late night call with that cutie from French class, your dreams will probably reflect these feelings. Writing down dreams is where you can connect the puzzle pieces and come to a conclusion about a situation.

However, don't go down a rabbit hole of Googling *exactly* what your dream means. While online sites and dream interpretation books might tell you one thing, your dream is personal to you and your life. The same dream might indicate two different things to two different people. "I see dreams as unconscious processing, sometimes meaningful, sometimes not" says Suzanne Hayne, MFT, from Alameda, Calif. "I don't believe in archetypes always having certain meanings, it's more personal than that. I don't believe water always means the subconscious, for example, to me, that's pop psychology. You could get so many theories about dreams online— it's all in the filter of interpretation. There are so many people who say they know what dreams mean, but I don't think anyone can know for sure." If you interpret your dream about showing up to school in your underwear as anxiety over a new situation, that's just as valid as seeing it as proof of confidence, that you're comfortable to let the world see you in your true form. 

So why should you keep a dream journal?

As we can see, dreams can be a way for your mind to process information and emotions. Having a record of recurring dreams can be a way to pinpoint what it is, exactly, you're feeling anxious about. Plus, you get more in touch with your emotions. Understanding your dreams can help you understand yourself.

Not only that, but your dreams can inspire you. Maybe you had a really great idea for a new story, but with the excitement of the rest of the day, you forgot it. Writing down your dreams can help you remember all the fascinating ideas your mind thinks up. 

Keeping track of your dreams over time can help you learn. When you write down patterns of your dreams, you also see the reflecting patterns of your life. Going back over time and revisiting your old dreams can help you gain perspective on past events and learn from mistakes.

Sweet dreams, and enjoy the journaling!

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by Elina Graham | 11/25/2020