When I was in college I took a Psychology 101 class, mainly to see if I was at all interested in becoming a psychologist. Listening to people, talking to them, and helping them work through problems seemed just as interesting to me then as it does today. Of course, school is a bad example for real life and having to learn about Freud, Jung and Wundt soured me to the whole idea. I mean, four years of that would be incredibly boring and a painful practice in memorization. So I decided to take the easy way out and major in Computer Science, those classes were cake (or pie anyway, I don’t much care for cake).
There were two things I took away from my psych class though that were useful. First, when you’re told you can work with someone else in the class to write the paper, what the teacher really means is you can do a little research together, but you can’t actually work together to write the paper. Got my first “F” with that misunderstanding, but rewriting the paper fixed things up.
The other actually useful thing we did was a project on dream journaling, which was incredibly interesting. I only wish the teacher had returned the journal at the end of the class. In case you’re interested, here’s the process.
Get a spiral bound notebook and pen/pencil. Keep them both right on your nightstand, the closer to you the better. Just before going to sleep write down the date and time and what you ate for dinner (I’m not sure why this last part is relevant, but I did it anyway).
Any time you wake up grab the paper and pen first thing and write down what you were dreaming about. When you wake up in the morning do the same thing.
If you wake up in the morning and can’t remember your dreams just write something like “I don’t remember what I dreamt about”.
For the first week or two you may rarely remember having any dreams. Some people in class got so frustrated with that that they just made up their journal.
Over the month I began to realize just how much I dreamt, and how clearly it was remembered when I wrote it down right away. I began getting up multiple times in the middle of the night and writing for about a minute or two, then going right back to sleep.
At about the time you begin recalling and writing down your dreams, you’ll also recognize that you have one heck of an imagination. Things may make no sense and can only be described as your brain having fun while your body is out.
Tonight I begin dream journaling again. Anyone else up for it?