Creating a dream journal is the primary step to take before you can begin intentionally having lucid dreams. If you’re not a regular journal writer, this might seem unnecessary to you. However, for reasons we’ll talk about here, it’s really an integral step in learning to have and control lucid dreams.

Why keep a dream journal?

A dream journal is important for several reasons. Even people who aren’t striving toward lucid dreaming may choose to use a dream journal as a way to help with dream interpretation. Your dreams are, after all, one of the ways your brain tends to work things out. If you can remember your dreams, you may be able to use various dream interpretation techniques to figure out what they mean.

Keeping a dream journal is particularly important for learning lucid dreaming techniques, as well. This is because you must start to remember what occurs repeatedly in your dreams before you can train yourself to do reality checks.

Checking reality is the way you “wake yourself up” inside a dream. You realize that you’re dreaming, and once you’re conscious of that fact, you’re already having a lucid dream. One way to start reality checks is to do them when waking or asleep whenever you encounter people, places, or things that occur frequently in your dreams.

A dream journal helps you figure out just what occurs so frequently during your dreams. You’ll probably start to see patterns. Even if you don’t have the same recurring dream, a dream journal will help you pick up on places, people, and things that occur in many different dreams.

Plus, it can just be fun to keep a dream journal. Once you start incorporating advanced lucid dreaming techniques into your journal entries, your dreams will become vivid, almost magical. I personally love reviewing my dream journal and reliving certain exciting dreams once in a while.

Starting a dream journal

You don’t need a fancy special book for a dream journal, but you should like your journal. Spend some time in a bookstore picking out a roomy journal that you like. Some people prefer line-free journals. I like mine to be ruled, but that’s totally up to you. It may depend on whether you tend to write more or draw more in your journal, since both techniques are acceptable.

Basically, your dream journal will simply be a place where you’ll record any details of your dreams you can remember. When practicing lucid dreaming techniques, you’ll probably intentionally wake up during the night at least once or twice. As soon as you wake, focus on the dream you were having, and jot down either a full description or short-hand notes you can go back to later on.

You want to get as detailed as you can here, and you always should try to give your dreams a memorable title so you can go back and read them again if you want. Oh, and don’t forget to list the date. You might end up with two or three separate dreams under each date, but try to keep individual dreams separated.

One thing to note here is to leave a blank page at the end of each dream description. This will be space for you to practice various dream interpretation work. There are lots of ways to do dream work, and you can look at those as you study up on more advanced lucid dreaming techniques.

Using your dream journal

Some experts recommend that you not intentionally try lucid dreaming techniques until you can remember at least one dream every night. It’s not a big deal if you miss a night here and there, but the more aware of your dreams you are to start, the easier various lucid dreaming techniques will be for you. Keep your dream journal close to your bed so that you can write down your dreams immediately, and you might be amazed at what you find out about yourself.

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"The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an approximation." - M. C. Escher