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5 Steps to Remembering Your Dreams

For as long as humans have been around, dreams have represented a realm of mystery and mysticism. According to psychologist Carl Jung, dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting yourself with the unconscious. Since we don’t normally have access to the unconscious in our normal waking state, our dreams can reveal what is going on “below the surface”. They have the ability to guide the waking self, offering solutions to problems we may be facing in our lives.

Understanding the meaning of a dream is a process of decoding the symbolism, and it can vary greatly between individuals. The first step to interpreting your dreams is, of course, to remember them. This can certainly be difficult, so here are some tips to help you get there.

5 Steps to Improve Dream Recall


1. Focus your intention

What you focus your attention on will grow. Therefore, if your intention is to remember and record your dreams, focus this intention and your dream life will begin to expand. Before going to sleep, think to yourself or say aloud the following affirmation or something similar. (Keep in mind these are particularly powerful if said as you are drifting off into sleep.) “I am a dreamer. I remember my dreams in detail. My dreams are here to help me. My dreams will reveal to me the elements of my life I am ready to see and handle.” In addition to these affirmations, visualize yourself awakening the next morning with full recall of your dreams from the night prior. If you meditate, include these affirmations and visualizations in your practice.

2. Know you are safe

One reason dreams may be difficult to remember is because of an unconscious resistance to seeing what they might reveal about yourself. Maybe there is something in your life you know you need to confront, but are avoiding doing so. If this is the case, you can remind yourself that nothing emerges in your mind or life that you cannot handle. Allow yourself to be open to remembering your dreams without fear.

3. Wake naturally

Whenever possible, wake up naturally rather than to the sound of an alarm clock. It enhances dream recall because it is more conducive to dreams lingering into our conscious mind as we slowly rise out of REM sleep. If you cannot live without an alarm clock, take advantage of down time in your schedule. The best time to practice dream recollection is during a weekend or a vacation, when you can maximize your opportunity to awaken with your body’s natural clock. You can also take advantage of extended naps. During naps longer than 20 minutes, the brain goes into the REM stage of sleep, the stage of sleep when dreams happen. If you are able to wake soundly from an extended nap, take advantage of this time to also recollect dreams.

4. Write down your dreams

Recording your dreams is probably the most important and effective way to improve your recollection. The best time to remember your dreams is 90 seconds after you awake. You probably won’t feel like it, but write down your dreams immediately upon awaking. Even if you don’t have much time in the morning, write down the key themes or recite the dream to yourself while in the shower or getting ready. If you can only remember a fragment, whether it be a single image or a single thought or feeling, still write this down. Sometimes just a small detail can jog your memory. Over time, you will remember more and more details. This will become the raw data you can later analyse.

5. Try Nutritional support

If you’re still having trouble remembering your dreams, or if you want to enhance recall and dream imagery, herbs can be of assistance. Mugwort is a plant that lives in Northern Europe, Asia, Alaska and North America. Its active compound is Thujone and it’s often described as a ‘stepping stone’ to lucid dreams. You can smoke it or brew its leaves to make tea.

More on dream recall:Dream On! 6 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Dream Recall

More on Carl Jung and dream analysis: Carl Jung: Dream Theory


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