Have you ever been so worried or anxious that you can’t focus or sleep?
I’ve definitely experienced this sensation – more than I care to admit! It could be worrying about a big presentation at work, an upcoming exam, or meeting my wife’s parents for the first time.
Instead of ruminating on the topic all day and night, I’ve tried a few things to try to alleviate the issue. I’ve tried meditation, going out for a walk, and journaling. They have all helped to some degree, but the best thing for me has been a brain dump in Notion.
So what’s a brain dump (🧠💩 – too much…? haha!)
What Is A Brain Dump?
A brain dump means unloading all the thoughts in your mind onto some medium. Keep going until your mind feels unclogged. Then you will have achieved a brain dump.
For me, that’s writing in Notion. Fire up a new page and type freely.
Don’t get me wrong, you can go as simple as pen and paper. Occasionally I still use the Notes app on my phone when Notion is offline.
I find that simply jotting my thoughts down helps to release the stress or nagging thoughts that have been bothering me. Keep writing until you feel the burden ease up and that’s when you know you’re done. There’s no minimum or maximum time limit.
This way, ideas, and thoughts are not lost. You’re simply taking the proverbial barbell off your shoulders at the end of the session.
How To Do A Brain Dump
So you’d like to try a brain dump out?
Grab some pen and paper or fire up Notion.
If you have been procrastinating about something over the last couple of days, just write it down. Planning a trip? Write it down. Applying for a job? Write it down.
You could have a few strands of thoughts and some of it is not even stressing you out. Write it them all down.
Once this is done and you’re feeling better, you can stop. Park it and go about your day until you are ready to tackle the problem.
By taking the break, you’ll come back with a clear head to assess your issues. You might come back and find that the issues were not even worth you stressing about!
But if that’s not the case, then you have a couple of choices on what comes next. You can try to identify the root cause of the problems you’re having or simply make a to-do list and tackle what’s ahead of you. Then you just need to put in the work to get the tasks completed.
Why Does It Work?
I have found that writing down my thoughts and acknowledging them, it’s enough to clear my head. Another benefit is that I am able to free up my mental energy and 100% focus on my current task.
The power of the brain dump is that it lets you capture abstract thoughts and turns them into something tangible. It’s effectively a mindfulness exercise.
As you see your thoughts on paper or screen, you are able to organize and prioritize the tasks or thoughts. You can turn them into an actionable to-do list (if needed).
Get Into The Habit
Keen to try it out? I suggest starting off small. Some people turn it into a daily or weekly habit. I personally do it once a week during my weekly review.
Next time you have something on your mind, grab a pen and paper (or phone) and just jot it down. Let the pen freely flow.
You can write about anything – here are some ideas to get you started:
- What have you been worried about this week?
- What tasks haven’t I completed this week?
- What’s making me feel anxious or stressed?
- What do I want to learn?
- How do I know I’m on track with my goals?
- What am I procrastinating about?
Try it out! You might find that as you continue the habit of jotting down your thoughts, the next time you are overthinking, a quick five-minute brain dump will be enough to release that stress. Maybe use a habit tracker to keep track of every brain dump when you’re first starting out.
I hope this helps calm your mind and gives you some mental clarity.
Thanks for reading!
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