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Melissa Portan LMSW, MEd

Writer & Sexologist

Melissa is a 5th generation spiritual guide who specializes in helping others find their own spiritual path. She is also a sex and relationship therapist practicing in NYC.


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How to Remember Your Dreams

Dreams can be described in many different ways; the firing off of neural networks, the state between wakefulness and unconsciousness, the hidden psychological impulses and needs brought to consciousness, or glimpses of another world. However you define dreams, if you are curious about what is going on in your head, dreams hold a vast amount of pertinent information. If only you could remember the details of that very insightful's how:

Dream Journal. The most effective way to recall your dreams is to keep a dream journal. A dream journal can be a simple notebook or any type of elaborate journal. Pick something that you like and that will draw you back to using it over and over. Once you have your selected journal, keep it by your bed with a pen at the ready. Whenever you have a dream and you wake up, record it in your journal. If you've never kept a dream journal and do struggle to remember your dreams, then you'll want to write your dreams down immediately after having them. Once you build this habit, you might notice that you have an easier time recalling your dreams. When you feel you don't have to write your dreams down asap, then it might become more of a morning routine (great opportunity for meditation/self-reflection).

How to record and recall your dreams:

The detailed record. Write down everything you remember. Write what you saw, how you felt, what you said. Mentally trace your steps through the dream. Start from the beginning and write it out to the end of the dream. This method will really work your memory as you're focusing on details and chronological order. It can, however, be time and energy consuming.

The bullet list record. Instead of writing out every single detail of your dream, write a bullet list of the main moments. Things that might be important to record include recognizable people you saw or interacted with, emotional reactions to said interactions, emotions felt during the dream, and any animals. These things can give you the basic information need to accurately interpret your dreams. Animals are often symbols for environmental factors affecting our waking mental and emotional states. For example, having a dream (more like a nightmare) where you are surrounded by crawling snakes can indicate that you feel you are surrounded by untrustworthy people out to get you.

The drawn record. Draw it out. If you don't like writing and prefer visual mediums, then go ahead! You can draw a specific moment from your dream in your journal, or if you're more technologically inclined, through various apps on your phone or computer. Perhaps actually seeing aspects of your dreams while fully conscious will result in greater insight.

Whichever method you choose to record your dreams, the more you do it the easier it will become to recall them. You might also notice patterns in your dreams that may be pointing to further insight. You have a rich inner world, go ahead and explore it.

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