Dream journal and lucid dreaming (Benefits and How-To)

In this article, I am exploring the meaning and purpose of keeping a dream journal, especially in relation to lucid dreaming.

Documenting your dreams can be a powerful and empowering experience. As we will see, keeping a dream journal could greatly improve your experience as a lucid dreamer.

Dream journal and lucid dreaming: general questions and FAQ

dream journal

What is lucid dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon in which a person becomes aware that they are dreaming while they are still in the dream state.   

This can allow you, the dreamer, to have some control over the dream, such as the ability to change the dream's plot or manipulate the environment.

What is a dream journal?

A dream journal, also referred to as 'dream diary' is a personal record of your dreams.

While in the majority of dream journals people keep track of night dreams, some also make note of waking dream experiences and personal reflections.

Does keeping a journal help with lucid dreaming?

According to many, keeping a dream journal is greatly beneficial for lucid dreamers. Daniel Love from Thelucidguide.com states that a dream journal is a 'core component' and 'indispensable tool for any lucid dreamer (1):

A lucid dreamer without a regularly updated journal finds themselves in a position no less impaired than a cartographer without pen and paper, or a scientist without a means to record data.  

In this article, I am going to explore some of the benefits lucid dreamers can get from the practice of keeping a dream diary.

Dream journal and lucid dreaming: main benefits

Remembering Your Dreams

One of the most obvious and immediate benefits of keeping a dream journal is that it will help you remembering and recalling your dreams.

Most of the times, upon waking we are able to only remember fragments of our dreams. These fragments could be of great importance because they might contain insights and revelations about ourselves:

Researchers believe that dreams may show what is going on in a person’s life, especially regarding highly emotional experiences. Keeping a dream journal may help a person become aware of anxiety nd other emotions that need to be addressed in their life (2).

Being able to recall our dreams could help us explore our thoughts and emotions. Each dream might hold a 'hidden' message waiting to be understood. By keeping track of our dreams, we send a signal to our subconscious that these 'messages' are worthy of our attention.

Each dream could hold a message, a fragment of the psyche yearning to be understood. Through the act of documenting our dreams, we signal to the subconscious that its messages are valued and worthy of attention.

Deepening Self-Awareness

Remembering and better understanding our dreams could also help us learn more about ourselves in an ongoing process of self-discovery and introspection

For example. the practice of documenting our dreams could help us identify recurring patterns and themes. This could give us some great insights about our thoughts, emotions and ultimately our own subconscious mind.

In this sense, the dream journal becomes a mirror into our inner world. Each entry of our dream journal could peel back the layers of our subconscious. Ultimately, through this process of self-exploration, we gain a greater understanding of ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Facilitating Emotional Healing

Exploring the emotional aspect of our dreams could also help us with our healing and inner growth.

As such, the dream journal becomes a safe space to explore and process emotions that arise during dreams.

Recording your dreams can offer new insights into personal relationships, work conflicts, health concerns, spiritual questions, and other dynamics (4).

By writing down our feelings and reactions to our dreams, we gain insight into underlying emotional patterns and triggers, allowing us to address unresolved issues and work through our emotional challenges.

Fostering Creativity and Inspiration

The dream journal could also serve as a canvas for capturing the creative and imaginary characters, objects and landscapes populating our dreams.

By recording dream experiences and exploring their creative potential, we can tap into a rich source of inspiration for artistic endeavors such as writing, painting, music composition, and more.

By allowing ourselves to play and experiment with dream imagery, we can unlock new realms of creativity and innovation, enriching both our artistic practice and our personal growth.

In this sense the dream journal could serve as a repository for incubated dreams, allowing us to capture and explore the insights and inspirations that emerge:

From artists and authors to scientists and songwriters, many people attribute their creative accomplishments to their dreams. In fact, people who are good at remembering their dreams tend to be more creative in general (4). 

By reflecting on dream content related to our creative intentions, we can gain valuable guidance and inspiration for our artistic endeavors, fueling our creative process and fostering innovation and self-expression.

Dream journal and lucid dreaming: specific benefits

Cultivating Lucidity

Keeping track of our dreams can also help us lucid dream. At the heart of lucid dreaming lies the awareness that we are actually dreaming.

Achieving a state of lucidity is not easy and requires practice and dedication. The dream journal plays a very important role in this process, serving as a repository for our experiences and insights.

As we record our dreams in the journal, we train our minds to recognize the themes, patterns and subtle nuances of the dream state. With each entry, we strengthen the connection between the conscious and subconscious mind, priming ourselves for lucidity.

Recording every detail you can remember about the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of your dreams helps you become familiar with your unique dream world, which may help your subconscious mind more easily recognize that you’re dreaming (5).

Tracking Progress and Growth

By documenting our dreams and tracking our experiences, we can also gain a deeper understanding of our growth and development as lucid dreamers.

Keeping track of our lucid dreaming experiences allows us to set realistic goals and measure our progress over time.

Whether it's increasing the frequency of lucid dreams, prolonging the duration of lucidity, or mastering specific dream control techniques, setting clear objectives helps us stay motivated and focused on our lucid dreaming practice.

Moreover, the dream journal serves as a tool for self-assessment, enabling us to identify areas for improvement and refine our techniques accordingly.

By reviewing past entries and analyzing trends in dream content and lucid dreaming success, we gain valuable insights into our strengths and weaknesses as lucid dreamers, guiding our ongoing development and growth.

Enhancing Dream Control

The dream journal could also serve as a sort of guide for mastering dream control.

As I wrote earlier, documenting our dreams and reflecting on our experiences could give us valuable insights into into our subconscious. This could be very helpful when it comes to controlling our dreams.

Dream control includes a wide range of abilities, from manipulating the dream environment to interacting with dream characters and altering the laws of physics.

Techniques such as visualization, intention setting, and mindfulness can enhance our ability to exert control over the dream world, allowing us to create and shape our dream experiences according to our desires.

Experimenting with different techniques and documenting the results in the dream journal could allow us to refine our skills and develop personalized approaches to dream control.

By observing which methods works best for us and adapting our strategies accordingly, we expand our range of dream control techniques and deepen our mastery of the dream world.

Dream journal and lucid dreaming: how to dream journal

The following is a step-by-step guide for all those who would like to start and keep a dream journal:

  1. Find the journal (that suits you best) - Some people prefer pen and paper, others choose to record their voice, while many choose their phones note or a specific dream journal app. The key takeaway here is that it needs to be a medium that fits and suits your personality and lifestyle.
  2. Write down your dream as soon as you wake up - It goes without saying that the sooner you write down your dream, the better. Writing it down right after you wake up generally helps with remembering a great deal of details about your dream, which is still fresh. Having said that, if you wake up in the middle of the night after a dream, also make sure to write it down right away.
  3. Be specific - You want to write down as many details as possible about your dream including colors, emotions, sensations, and dream symbols. Also make sure you take notice of the intensity of your emotions and whether you experienced positive or negative feelings.
  4. Write in the present tense - Writing in the present tense is generally considered helpful as a sort of way for re-living your experience. If you are unsure on where to start from, ask yourself the following questions:
    1. What is happening?
    2. Who are you with?
    3. Where are you?
    4. What do you see?
    5. What are you doing?
    6. How do you feel?
    7. What thoughts are going through your mind?
  5. Make note of any recurring pattern or common theme - This is key to get a better understanding about what is going on with your subconscious mind.
  6. Compare your dream to your waking life - Ask yourself if certain recurring pattern, themes, objects, people or landscapes are trying to tell you something about your waking life.


Remembering dreams not only enriches our understanding of the subconscious but also fosters creativity and problem-solving skills. Many groundbreaking ideas and artistic inspirations have emerged from the depths of the dreamworld, making dream recall a valuable asset for individuals in various fields.

Additionally, keeping a dream journal can have therapeutic benefits, providing an outlet for processing emotions, exploring fears, and uncovering unresolved issues. By capturing our dreams on paper, we gain insight into recurring themes and patterns in our lives, facilitating personal growth and self-awareness.

As we reflect on the insights gleaned from our dreams, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. We recognize the interconnectedness of our inner and outer realities, and we embrace the transformative power of lucid dreaming to shape our lives and fulfill our deepest aspirations.

For many, remembering dreams is a skill that requires honing. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a tranquil sleep environment, and setting intentions before sleep can all contribute to improved dream recall.

However, the cornerstone of remembering dreams lies in the act of recording them. The dream journal serves as a vessel, capturing the ephemeral essence of our dreams before they fade into the recesses of memory.


Featured image by Evi T. on Unsplash.com

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