Feeling overwhelmed? Laundry, dishes, homework, quality time with your family, work obligations, back pain, plantar fasciitis
, elderly parents, fear of getting older, the future of your kids...all this gives me major anxiety. I don’t know about you but nothing makes me nervous other than dirty dishes in the sink before going to bed and wet laundry in the washer. I don’t even want to talk about how many sleepless nights I’ve had thinking about my kids’ futures.
We’ve all been there. We feel blah and not sure why. Well, we DO know why but are not sure how to get out of that miserable feeling. I find that reflecting and writing things out makes me feel better. It’s as if I am releasing my anxiety onto something else that will house my inner thoughts. The power of a brain dump!
According to an article by Develop Good Habits, “A brain dump is a (not so fancy) term for an unorganized list of the chaos that is going on inside of your head.” I make it a point to brain dump once a day so that I can focus on the important things. I am a planner so I ensure this is done in the morning before I start the day. Here’s how I structure my brain dump:
1. Unleash my feelings
Coffee in hand, I sit in front of the computer and take a deep breath before I start unleashing my thoughts aka rage onto my keyboard.
I go through what is bothering me and just type until my fingers and my brain tells me I’m done. It’s amazing how much your brain stores and how you feel so many things. Sometimes I find myself typing out feelings I didn’t know I felt.
I prefer typing because I have carpal tunnel and Trigger Finger Release so holding a pen or pencil s difficult for me. Typing can also be painful but I put on my finger sleeves to compress my digits. It looks odd but it really does alleviate the pain. Since the world decided to shut down in 2020, I’ve been on the computer more so I needed something that can lessen the pain. I’ve also invested in phone finger sleeves for when I’m using my phone or tablet since sometimes, my fingers get numb, and swiping aggravates it. I have issues, I know but it doesn’t stop me from getting things done.
Once I felt I’ve typed all that was in my brain that was bothering me, I take a moment to read what I’ve written, correct any grammatical errors I may have made, and put my thoughts in order. Thank goodness for Grammarly because I wouldn’t know half the things I’ve written if it hadn’t been for this tool.
I go through my draft and put things into like-minded paragraphs so it makes sense to me. I usually continue to brain dump additional thoughts or feelings about the section I’m editing. I make sure to let out everything and anything that’s on my mind about the particular topic until I feel like there is absolutely nothing else to write.
Once my paragraphs are created into topics that are bothering me, I access the situation. I read my thoughts out loud and ask myself “Self, what are we going to do about this?” I find that talking things out helps me understand the issue and come up with a solution quicker. Whether I am talking to my husband or to my fur baby, Cheerio, it brings into perspective the level of concern I should have for the issue I am having.
The point of this process is to find a solution to the problem. Some people dwell on the negatives but I am not one of those people. I dwell on the issue when I’m brain dumping but then I look for a solution afterward. There is no use in reliving a negative situation since it’ll just make me more depressed. I had a boss tell me one time, “Don’t come to me with a problem unless you have a solution”. That was harsh when I first heard it but it made total sense. I need to move past the problem and search for solutions.
For each issue, I create goals on how to mediate a solution. For instance, if my issue is that I am always in pain, I think of ways I can lessen the pain. Earlier, I mentioned that I use finger sleeves when my fingers hurt. That’s a way that I counter the pain. In addition to this, I set goals for stretching and exercising my hands. I make a list of YouTube videos or websites that focus on hand strength and dealing with hand pain.
4. Create a Plan
After going through each topic and innovative solutions, I set a date to check in on how I am feeling. I created a Goal Tracker so I can be accountable for my actions. It’s simple yet straight to the point since I am not one who has time to shift through the fluff when logging in my steps. I just need something to look at every day as a reminder and then check off once completed. You can get a copy of my Goal Tracker by subscribing to The Structured Approach, if you want a simple yet powerful tool to reach your goal. I am a visual learner so I have this Goal Tracker open each day as a reminder to act.
Brain dumping lets me ease the weight on my shoulders and create a plan of action to deal with whatever I am facing at the moment. I can see the day clearer and not dread each moment because I have a plan.