We are now at a point in time where emotions are considered vital and important at the neuropsychological level. No longer can we rely simply on the pop-psychological approaches as
Cognitive Behavioral practices have been readily using thus far. It has become what UCLA’s Dr. Allan Schore calls an “Emotional Revolution.” Dr. Schore, UCLA clinical faculty of the Department of
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine reveals how the emotional importance of humans can no longer be dismissed. This in a way counters the behavioral model,
which focuses solely on cognitive behavioral therapeutic approaches, which in essence focuses on the behavioral outcome. This model eventually becomes a crutch or worse a simple band aid to cover
up our psychological wounds that come back with a vengeance or come out in other new ways.
“To feel, or not to feel”
Dr. Schore’s research and enlightening neuropsychological contributions reveal how the science of feelings can no longer be dismissed and placed in the “Old” or “Archaic” psychology. Thanks to him and his fellow groups we can no longer ignore emotions and the affects they have on our psyche. We cannot expect to become better within several sessions of positive or negative reinforcement. We can now look at a much more neuro-psychoanlytical model that uses the science of emotional revolution to take our cognitive world by storm.
Emotional climate in our dreamscapes:
Our dreams are vitally connected to our dream worlds. Carl Jung was famous for his dream work and his focus on dreams in his therapeutic work. Dreams cannot simply be seen as occurrences of our past day or past years. They carry many symbols and are closely related to our emotions. It doesn’t take a doctor to tell you after having foods that give you adverse reactions that your are allergic or just simply irritated by it. Same with dreams. When we have a night with countless nightmares, we awake distraught and our days seem like a long nightmare. Many mornings we awake refreshed and happy, and perhaps at the end of the day we recount a part of dream that might have been running in the park with our long passed dog “fluffy”. Nonetheless, our mood affects our dreams and rest. Days we are stressed, we have restless or sleepless nights. The climate of our dream and emotional world are one and the same.
Dream journals are wonderful tools to become aware of our dreams and our deep emotional states. One begins to remember dreams better, and eventually come to a point of charting our dream with our emotions. It is of ancient cultures like the Tibetan Yogis that would invest time into their dream work and most of this occurred through skilled mastery of their emotions and adept memory of the dreams. Now these were yogis that took to the life of enlightenment and for our purposes we just want to get by our next fatal emotional breakdown at a hard day at work, when we need to plan who picks up the kids while you need to stay over time and make it to dinner with the in laws who are just going to throw in their two cents on what an absent parent you are.
So what does a dream journal or dream graphing do for us? Jung was skilled at working with dreams with his clients because he was well aware of his own dream landscape, as he wrote about and illustrated in his “Red Book.” A dream journal gives us a tool to become mindful of our sleepy times, which after a while gives us the tool to become mindful during our sleepy moments throughout the day. Similar to when you leave work in a rush to pick up dry cleaning and then the kids not knowing how you even got there and how you even stopped at the big red stop sign. We need to become more aware of our thoughts, emotions and our physical situations. We need to start to connect these 3 worlds in a better and less mechanical way. Then we can pass the world of sleep-like routine days and start to practice mindfulness that we continue hopefully into our dreams and upon awakening.
Tools for dream journal:
Pick a journal you really like, even an expensive one, or one where you just fancy the feel of the paper. If you don’t care write them on an old scratch book that is falling apart, as long as you write it.
Same with your pen, if your tactile you might want to invest in a good pen if not grab the one that’s running out of ink whatever!
Next write every single morning immediately after awakening! I mean immediately because you remember the most right when you wake up. You can lay there recounting the dream and write. Even if you don’t remember anything write down “I don’t remember a thing!” it’s the practice of the writing itself that will give commitment to the process. (you eventually will, believe me people start recalling vividly even colors and songs within dreams)
If you’re not into the writing, well then use a tape recorder, your smart phones can do it!
Next every two weeks review your dreams, look for patterns, similarities and repeats of the same theme. You will be surprised how connected they are to your emotional landscape. Hopefully it will get you to a point of solving the riddles to your own emotional rough patches. Sleep will become better and so will mood.
The affects of music have been proven to help the mood, and white noise or classical, world, Zen, meditation or whatever type of music that puts the mind to relaxation mode is the one to put on getting ready for bed and up till your in bed perhaps half hour after. Some have said that waking up and playing these same soothing tunes help them start the day. And it goes without saying how helpful mediation is, especially before sleep (for some it can help in order to fall asleep).