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How to Dream Journal and Interpret Dreams

Updated on April 11, 2013
Dream Journal
Dream Journal | Source

Personalized Dream Journals

There are a few other things you can do to personalize your dream journal. Make it your own by putting together your own journal or designing the cover. Draw pictures within of what you saw in your dreams and never worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar. Keeping a dream journal that is completely free and all yours is what helps make it fun and easy to maintain. Don't worry about what anyone else would think if they saw it. It's a diary just for you, about you.

Keeping a Dream Diary

Dream journals (or diaries) are records kept by people in order to document their every dream and their personal reflections or related waking experiences. They are usually kept in order to lucid dream but are also used to improve future dream recall. Some people have experienced "false awakenings" when using a dream journal in which they make one or more recordings of dreams before actually waking up.

When it comes to learning just how to keep a dream journal, the first important lesson is to understand that it will take patience. Don't pressure yourself to immediately remember every detail about your dream. Your first entries may just be that you had a stressful dream or that you remember you saw a certain color or image. Like I said already, dream journals help us to improve dream recall. Even if what you recall at first might seem insignificant, write it all down and let yourself build up to more details over time.

The next thing to remember is to make dream journaling a habit that will last. The most common way people do this is to have a specific pen and notebook handy just for the purpose of their dream diary. Don't skip out for any reason. No detail is stupid or insignificant. Some stop recording because they have a dream that they felt was too inappropriate and made them uncomfortable to acknowledge. Dreams are symbolic and a part of you. Don't take them too seriously or be afraid of your own subconscious.

Here are some additional quick tips for keeping a dream diary:

  1. Pick your journal carefully. It doesn't have to be fancy, just something that you feel comfortable keeping next to your bed every night and writing only dreams in.
  2. Keep it handy. Keep your journal and pen right next to your bed on the nightstand or wherever is within reach upon waking.
  3. Record dreams every morning. Don't skimp out on your dream journal for any reason. Once you have decided to do it, make sure to write in it every morning. Even if you don't remember anything, record that.
  4. Make a detailed account. Be as detailed as you possibly can about your dreams. Include your emotions during and after, what happens,your thoughts on it, and/or anything else you find relevant.
  5. Name 'em. Naming your dreams gives them a lasting message or them for you to think about whenever you refer back to that dream. They sum up the dream and can even give you additional insight into the dream.

How to Interpret Dreams

Dream journals are essential to interpreting dreams. Many believe that dreams give us insight into our subconscious and that this insight is essential to keeping ourselves whole and in complete understanding of the world around us. Here are a few common themes in dreams that may help you better interpret your own dreams.

Dreaming of Dogs
Dreaming of Dogs | Source

Dreams About Animals

There are many different animals that come into our dreams, whether they are pets or part of a fear. The most common animals that people dream about are snakes, wolves, spiders, cats, and dogs. Like many symbols within dreams, animals can act as guides, warnings, or insight into our own selves.

  • Snake: Snakes usually represent hidden fears or worries. A dream involving a snake may, therefore, be a warning about something that you aren't aware of in your waking life. On the other hand, the snake is also a sexual symbol that may represent temptation, sexual empowerment, or a threat to your sexuality.
  • Wolves: Seeing a wolf in your dreams can signify a great many things, including beauty, solitude, and survival. On the positive side, a wolf means that you can keep yourself together in social situations and blend in but that you are a loner by choice. On the negative side, a wolf signifies hostility and aggression and may represent an uncontrollable situation or force in your life, such as obsession or addiction.
  • Spider:Spiders represent feeling an outsider in a situation or the desire to be kept away from a temptation. It represents an overbearing mothering force and feminine power but also a protection against your self destructive behavior. Killing the spider in your dream is bad luck.
  • Cat: Like any other symbol in dreams, cats have a good meaning and bad. On the good side, it symbolizes independence, feminine sexuality, creativity and power, while on the bad side it means misfortune and bad luck. Its significance also depends on whether or not you're a cat love. It could indicate someone isn't trustworthy, you have problems with (or are afraid of) your femininity, or that someone is malicious.
  • Dog: Dogs symbolize many things, including your strong values and good intentions that will bring you success in the world. It may also signify someone who has these same qualities. A dog in your dream may appear to help you remember a skill you have forgotten or not used. If it's vicious, it indicates an inner conflict or betrayal. If it is dead or dying, it means a loss of a good friend.

Meaning Behind Naked Dreams

Naked dreams are extremely common and usually involve someone walking into an everyday situation, only to find that they are missing clothes. There are three reactions to this: embarrassment, the realization no one cares, or pride in your own nakedness. Each of these reactions help give more insight into your self.

Embarrassment shows that you are feeling vulnerable. In your waking life, you may be trying to hid something about yourself or be someone else but now, without clothes to shield you, you are completely open to everyone around you. Nakedness may also signify anxiety about a situation in which you are trying to impress people, such as an interview or presentation.

When you're naked and no one seems to notice or care in your dream, it means that your fears of judgement or rejection are unfounded. When you stand proud and have no fear of your nakedness, it means that you don't hide who you are and that you aren't ashamed of it either. However, it may also mean you are drawing the wrong kind of attention to yourself.

What do you dream about?

Which of these dreams do you more commonly have?

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Chase Dreams

Chase dreams are more common among women than men. They usually involve being chased by a monster or another scary person or they involve the dreamer chasing someone or something else.

When you dream of being chased, it usually signifies the desire to avoid a problem in your life. The pursuer may be a representation of that problem, so look back and consider just who or what they were. You may want to try confronting them in your dream instead of continuing to run. Also consider the distance between you. If it is short, the problem may be unavoidable. If it is long, you may be successful in avoiding it for now.

Chasing after someone or something is all about ambition. You may be running after something you want or you may be running to catch up to everyone else.

Teeth Dreams

Teeth dreams are pretty stressful, as they involve teeth breaking, rotting, going crooked, or any other type of scenario in which they are ruined. One theory about these types of dreams is that they have to do with your own focus on your appearance in waking life. Teeth are important to maintaining an attractive appearance. Losing them may signify a fear of rejection, sexual impotence, or old age.

A second theory is that teeth dreams are about a fear of embarrassment and that they act as an over-exaggeration of your worries. Other theories include: it represents a poor diet, that you're telling lies, someone in your family is sick, and that it symbolizes money (since when you lose a tooth, the tooth fairy comes and leaves you money).

Flying or falling?
Flying or falling? | Source

Dreams About Falling

Falling dreams are terrifying, but there is less to fear than you may realize. Contrary to popular belief, you will not die if you don't wake up before you hit the ground.

Oftentimes, we wake from these dreams with a jerk or twitch, which is due to the fact that the dream occurs in the first stage of sleep that is accompanied by muscle spasms, called myclonic jerks. It is believed that this is a mechanism that is meant to keep you alert and aware of your environment while asleep.

Falling dreams have a lot to do with insecurities and anxiety as you lose control and plummet. It may reflect how you feel in a relationship or work environment where you feel like you can't keep up or that you are failing. Freud would say that you lack indiscretion and that you are just contemplating giving in to a sexual urge or impulse.

Dreams About Flying

Flying dreams usually fall under the category of lucid dreaming because you usually become aware that you are dreaming when it occurs. Since we cannot fly in our real lives, it may symbolize that you feel like you can do anything and that you are strong, free, and successful. There are three reactions within a flying dream, flying with ease, flying with difficulty, and fear while flying.

Flying with ease means that you have risen above something or gained a new perspective or insight. This gives you control over your obstacles so that you feel liberated. Flying with difficulty means a lack of power and helps you identify your obstacles based on who or what is in your way. It may just be that you lack confidence and need to learn to believe in yourself. Fear while flying means that you are afraid of that next step and achieving success.

© 2012 Lisa


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    • CandyTale profile image

      Gabriela Hdez 

      6 years ago from Valencia, Spain

      I have kept dream journals since I was a tenager. I have 20 years of dreams there and I am really happy I did. Now I am using these dreams as inspiration for short stories, essays and hopefully a few novels someday.

      Something else that is worth doing is keeping clipings of pictures, of materials (like cloth), of colors or things (I usually take a picture of said things) in your dream journal. It helps you remember better and also avoids the difficult task of trying to describe to the most detail how that dress felt, how bright its blue color was, how it suited the person who was wearing it (you get the idea). Of course this turns your dream journal more like a scraping book but it is useful.

      Thanks for sharing this article.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Interesting information and discussion of dreams. I support keeping a dream diary - I think it is a great idea because we can learn so much about ourselves from our dreams. I really enjoyed reading what the different dreams mean. Right now, I have teeth dreams, and flying and falling dreams. Oh dear, I better get interpreting! I love the topics you choose to write about! Very eclectic!

      You are such a good writer - I love your style!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Falling drems are my number one experience. It seems logical as I have many insecurites of late. You are correct - I have often hit the ground in my dreams and I'm still here to write about it.

      There is another talented hubber such as yourself who shares your interest in dream journals. His name is Olde Cashmire and I think you both would enjoy each other creative, informative and unique articles.

      I so enjoyed this. It kept my attention from beginning to end.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      When I was in high school I loved the whole idea of keeping a dream journal and I did for awhile. I even got to the point where I would be recording several dreams thorughout the night as I would wake up and record them when they were finished. Unfortunately, it is hard to read when you are writing in the dark and asleep. They were very interesting and it really taught me alot about myself. I used a specific book I found at the library as a guide. I wish I could remember the name of the book as I would love to read through it again.

      That being said, recently I had the craziest dream. It would be difficult to go into big detail, but to summarize it, we were in the middle of a zombie apacolypse. However, the zombies did not eat the humans, they broke into your house and colored on the walls with crayons. I remember I was pretty freaked out when I woke up. Still trying to figure this one out!

      Interesting hub - thanks for sharing your information!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Interesting hub - very informative and voted up. I have a recurring dream that I am drowning or, more accurately, about to drown. Wonder what that means?

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to keep a dream journal but then at some point I stopped dreaming or stopped remembering my dreams. Found your hub very interesting though.

    • danidaydreamer profile image


      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I really enjoyed reading your take on Dream symbolism. I have the same proble as starstream in that I have a hard time remembering my dreams. I usually jump out of my sleep and I know that I have been having a dream but I cannot recall any of the details. I'm a very visual and imaginative person, but it seems what goes on in my sleep likes to stay locked up. I wish I knew the key to unlocking the answers.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Wonderful hub. Your explainations of differing types of dreams is excellent. Keeping a dream journal is indeed important. Up and awesome.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      I do not remember my dreams very often. The details are often lost to another realm. Interesting hub and worth thinking about those dream memories and symbols.


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