Another Way To Journal A Dream

Sometimes dreams don’t have a discernable story or scene. They’re too disorganized or minimalistic to put into words.

When this happens, the SOM format doesn’t work. How are you going to make or tell a story if there’s no story? Try this alternate dream journal method.

What to do

When this happens, simply make a list of the components of the dream.

You’ll want to date the entry and title it as well.

Depending on the complexity and your memory, this may be a long list or one thing.

The one thing may have details to it, things that make it different from or unnatural to your waking life. Write the best, most complete, most accurate description you can.

When this happens, it isn’t either good or bad. It simply is what it is. Your subconscious may have felt the need to highlight one symbol to you. One major thing is occupying your attention. Your subconscious is relating it and processing the idea succinctly.

For some people at some times in their life, having a dream without plot or story or activity may be common. Others, not so much.

Objects and Meaning

When you have your list, write what each object on the list represents to you. As always, there’s a reason why you dreamed what you did. When you take the time to understand what the items on the list mean to you, you’ll have learned something about yourself.

If you know it’s going to be one of those chaotic, seemingly unorganized dreams you can simply make the list on one side of the page and your interpretation of the items on the other.

Jimmy Buffet turned a hit song and common aspiration into a business empire. Thinking about this inspired a dream in which Buffet was sitting in a chair and the words “stepped on a pop top” echoed.

An example:

Items in dream Meaning to me
Jimmy Buffett Singer/businessman who built a lifestyle brand, and wrote lifestyle songs. Recently died and there was an amazing amount of news about it, out of proportion to the attention he seemed to get recently (to me) before he died.
Step on a pop-top A phrase from Buffett’s song “Margaritaville.” His way of illustrating a small problem and how you’re always going to have them, but that’s better than having a big problem. Life without problems isn’t interesting and that shouldn’t be the goal.

Why did I have this dream?

I’ve always enjoyed Buffet’s work and never had taken the time to acknowledge it to myself or anyone else.

I’ve made sure to play some of his oeuvre on Spotify.


Also on the blog:

How to dream


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. One often underestimated way to do this seems to be recording and understanding your dreams.


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