05/10/2013 12:09 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

The Best Book You'll Ever Read: Your Own Dream Journal

"Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever." -- Will Self

The most powerful, life-changing book you'll ever read is your own dream journal. And keeping a dream journal happens to be one of the best ways to build your dream-recall muscles.

So if you don't have one, get one!

If you are in a pinch, simply use a yellow legal pad with an ordinary pen (one with a penlight is preferred). You can have all the most magical, mystical, life-changing dreams, but because dreams take place in the part of the brain that controls short-term memory, if you don't write them down within the first five minutes of awakening, then poof they're gone. And, if you're going to do dream work, it all starts with remembering your dreams!

Place your dream journal and pen on your bedside table so that it is easy to download your dreams in the morning light. If you have to fumble, bumble, and stumble around searching for a scrap of paper to write on and a pen that still has ink in it, poof -- they're gone.

Even if you are married to your iPhone and your DreamsCloud dream app (my personal favorite), I still recommend you have a journal as well, as a place to keep track of your dream-related reflections, thoughts, and ahas throughout the day.

Here's a great journaling exercise to percolate your five senses and your dreaming mind before you go to sleep:

Sight: Envision a full moon in a starry sky, a baby's smile, a tangerine sunset at the beach, autumn leaves in all their splendor, looking into the eyes of someone who loves you. Write in your dream journal what you envision you will see when you are living your dream life.

Sound: Hear the roar of applause, children's laughter, a cat's purr, the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet, someone precious to you saying "I love you." Write in your dream journal what you will hear when you are living your dream life.

Smell: Imagine the smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon mulling spices, pine trees, the ocean mist, mint leaves, a new car's interior, your favorite perfume. Write in your dream journal the fragrance you imagine smelling when you are living your dream life.

Taste: Imagine biting into a juicy, crisp red apple, warm, buttery mashed potatoes. the minty fresh flavor of having just brushed your teeth, savoring a slice of pecan pie with whipped cream. Write in your dream journal what you imagine you will eat or taste when you are living your dream life.

Touch: Imagine petting a fluffy cat, walking barefoot across wet grass, the warmth of a crackling fire on a snowy day, diving into an icy lake on a summer day, wearing a warm and fuzzy sweater, dancing wildly to your favorite song. Write in your dream journal the texture of something you might feel or touch when you are living your dream life.

Some of the brightest minds of our time have been those that think and feel in a vivid and sensory way: e.g., Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Buckminster Fuller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Picasso, and Rembrandt, to name a few. Allow your dream journal to be a bridge to connect your nocturnal dreams with your real life... and ultimately with the life of your dreams.

Click here to discover more tips to build your dream-recall muscles!

For more by Kelly Sullivan Walden, click here.

For more on sleep, click here.