5 tips for remembering your dreams
By Lisa Finander
Many of us spend a great deal of our waking life imagining our future selves. We go on fantastic adventures, daydream about a special relationship, and envision ourselves working at our ideal job. Sometimes, daydreaming can be the only thing that gets us through an otherwise tough day. Our daydreams give us hope and inspiration and keep us reaching for our potential.
For as much time as we spend daydreaming, we pay little, if any, attention to the dreams we have while we are sleeping. Why do we ignore these dreams? Perhaps it is because we are too busy, and it is too overwhelming to think about having to understand our dreams in addition to everything else that is going on in our lives. We just want to sleep, and we frequently feel guilty about how much sleep we do or don’t get. Of course, it could also be as simple as not remembering our dreams when we wake up. However, it is common for people to remember having nightmares at some point in their lives. Nightmares are good at getting our attention, and they remind us that we do indeed dream while we’re asleep.
Before we can unlock the mysteries and messages veiled inside our dreams, we have to find ways to invite the muse of dreamtime to communicate with us. Think about how frustrating it is to communicate with someone over a long period of time and never be seen or heard. Your dreams are like this person who has never been noticed or listened too. To give voice to your dreams is to acknowledge all of yourself. Contrary to what you may be thinking right now, remembering your dreams does not take away from a getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, it enhances it. Below is a list of techniques designed to increase your dream recall.
5 Tips for Remembering Your Dreams
1. Place a dream journal by your bed.
It is all about easy access. Record your dreams as soon as you wake up and before you get out of bed. Don’t worry about remembering the whole dream perfectly. Upon waking, weremember the end of our last dream the most clearly. For that reason, it often works better to record the dream in reverse order—start at the end and work back to the beginning or as far back as you can remember.
2. Set the intention that you want to remember your dreams when you wake up
Each night as you get into bed, tell yourself that you want to remember your dreams. Don’t worry if you don’t remember them the next morning or even the next week. If youcontinue to set your intention each night, you will start to remember your dreams. From time to time, our fears and expectations get in the way of remembering our dreams. Notice if you feel anxious about remembering your dreams. If you do, then in addition to your intention to remember your dreams, request to be given only comforting and pleasant dreams to record.
3. Create a bedtime ritual that relaxes you and prepares you for dreamtime.
A bath, a snack, a bedtime story, and a glass of water are not only for children. Creating aritual or routine that helps you make the transition from the events of your day to a night of restful sleeping is invaluable for increasing your dream recall. We’ve all had those nights when we can’t turn off our minds, and our body keeps fidgeting. Simple things like a warm bath or shower, cup of hot chocolate, soothing music, gentle stretches, and/or ten minutes of deep, slow breathes will help to clear your mind and reduce tension in your body.
4. Take a nap.
When we can wake up naturally without alarm clocks and the need to jump out of bed andstart the day, we have the leisure of staying in that state where we aren’t quite awake, but we are no longer sleeping. This is the place where we bring our dreaming selves into consciousness. Waking up slowly without talking or interacting with anyone or anything is great way to remember the fullness and the details of your dreams.
5. Be open to whatever images or impressions you receive in your dreams.
Everyone dreams in his or her own way. Some people see pictures; others hear sounds, feel things, smell things, taste things, etc. Don’t judge yourself, compare yourself to others, orput pressure only yourself to have impressive dreams. Record whatever you get. It may be a sound. Did you hear a phone ring or a piano playing? It may be a word. Did you see someone’s name written in your mind’s eye; was there a word or symbol that was revealed to you? Did you see colors? Did you wake up feeling, happy, sad, irritated, content…? Write them down. They may not mean anything to you at the moment and seem trivial, but that doesn’t matter for now. Try not to censor the information you receive. What does matter is that you record these images and impressions. Each time you do, you are learning a little more about how your dreaming self communicates with you.
Lisa Finander is a published author, developmental editor, and consultant/teacher specializing in mind, body, spirit subjects.
Throughout her college coursework, Lisa created Independent Studies combining subjects such as tarot and dreamwork with personal development, resulting in her completion of a B.A. in Psychology & Symbolism from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota.
She is the author of Disneystrology: What Your Birthday Character Says About You. For Disneystrology, Lisa incorporated the teachings of astrology, tarot, and numerology to create 366 unique birthday entries with a corresponding Disney character... read more about Lisa
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