Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Remember Dreams

I've been interested in dreams for a long time.  Remembering them is an important first step in studying ones own dreams.

The best way is to keep paper and pencil, or a recording device by the bed so that when you wake up in the night you can record a quick impression of what you were dreaming about.  Later, the details can be filled in as you recall them, cued by your notes.  Dream-journaling can be fun and rewarding, and I have filled pages with long descriptions of dreams. At other times, it seems a written description can't quite capture the feelings and utterly outlandish happenings in the dreamworld. 

Not wanting to interrupt my sleep for long writing sessions, I found a way to incorporate mnemonic devices into my dream-recalling strategy.  I would just remember one element of part of a dream and repeat it over and over to myself.  Later, on waking up again with a new dream in my mind, I will select an element from that and add it to the first one which I can usually still recall.  In this way, I build a list of smaller elements, each of which triggers the memory of the dream that contained it.

When a dream is just beyond recall, I find the best way to remember it is to try to go into the feeling of emotion that was associated with the dream.  If I can feel that feeling from the dream again, sometimes I can remember the whole dream.

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