When asked what’s the first thing I need to do to start Lucid Dreaming, my answer is always the same: Keep a dream journal! A dream journal is by far the most important part of lucid dreaming. While you may think that this is a chore and you don’t have time in the mornings to do something a complex as this luckily it’s actually rather quick and easy, oh and it’s fun as well! A dream journal ultimately improves your awareness of your dream state, this makes it easier to recognise your dreams and ‘wake up’ within them.

On average a person will go through five sleep cycles every night. At the end of each and every cycle, there is a period of Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Again if we use avrages then most people will dream for around 100 minutes in total. The closer it is to the time you usually wake then the longer you spend in REM sleep.

This is why you are more likely to remember a particular dream as you wake up. This is when you should turn off the alarm, jump out of bed and write in your dream journal! Of course while trying not to wake up anyone else around you who may still be deep within the realm of sleep.

Finding a Lucid Anchor

If like many you struggle to remember anything about your dreams you can use what’s called a ‘lucid anchor’. Anchoring in this way comes from the brilliantly named offshoot of psychology called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). To anchor yourself just get into bed and right before you go to sleep choose an object that you can see clearly. I usually use what’s directly opposite me, for instance it could be a TV, a curtain or an ornament ect. Keep this object in mind as you drift off to sleep, this is going to be your anchor.

Say for example your anchor is a picture of a loved one hung on the wall. Look at this picture when you go to sleep, wake up during the night and first thing in the morning. Every time you look at it think to yourself; “I will remember my dreams”.

This phrase acts as a trigger for your unconscious mind to relate to. It reminds you to focus on your dreams and plants a unconscious intention: to associate that particular picture with remembering dreams.

How To Keep a Dream Journal

Keeping a dream journal may sound pretty simple, and it actually is! But there are a few things to note when starting one:

1 – Find an empty book and dedicate it to recording your dreams. Always keep it within arm’s reach ready for when you wake up. Dreams fade from memory rather quickly so you need to write them down as soon as you wake up!

If you do get up, walk around and start talking to other people about non related things, it will cause the motor neurons to become active in your brain. This is what wipes out your memory of the dream. So be ready to start writing down your dream first thing.

2 – Write down the date of your dream. Then proceed to write down everything you can remember. When writing about your dream always use the present tense (eg “I am running along a beach and see the sun shining”). Putting it like this helps you to remember your dreams because it puts you right back in the moment.

3 – Identify your dreams themes. Take a moment and go back through your journal. Look at all locations, characters, sensations, sounds, objects and emotions of your dreams. Using a highlighter, highlight key themes that may help with interpreting your dreams (eg, “I am running because I need to get somewhere before another person”).

You may want to analyse the themes and fully interpret your dream, there are many free resources online to do this. It’s not important however at this stage so you can ignore it and continue to write down all the memorable details in your dream journal.

Anything that you can associate with established neural patterns however is important (eg, you feel worried about the tide). This may be a dream symbol or concept that represents an issue in your day to day life.

4 – Something that I always like to stress, especially to people who worry about this kind of thing, is don’t worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar. As long as you can read it and make sense from it then you are fine.

5 – Add some sketches of any major images from your dream. Again, you won’t be loosing points if your sketch looks more preschool than Academy of Classical Design. It doesn’t matter if you’re not an artist, just as long as you know what it is you drew. Sketching is just another way to help you better visualise your dream later on.

6 – When you’ve finished writing and sketching, note down any major life issues that you are struggling with at this moment. For example, you may be suffering with an overbearing employer. As time goes on you will be able to link your unconscious dream symbols with your real life issues.

7 – Give the dream an appropriate title. No flashy Hollywood names, just something to remember it by. If you do became lucid at any point in your dream, write an “L” for lucid in a circle by the title. Try and identify the exact moment in your dream where you became lucid and put a star by it. Try and see if you can remember what caused you to become lucid (unless it was just a WILD moment).

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