Brain dumps are an essential mindfulness practice for mental clarity. It’s like a reset button for a clear mind, allowing you to be intentional with your day without distractions or brain fog getting in the way.
What’s going on in your head right now? Maybe you have several thoughts running through your mind at once, resulting in a sense of overwhelm, stress and panic about getting everything done. Where do you start? How do you fit it all in? This influx of thoughts may even keep you up at night, or hinder your ability to focus on conversations on projects. Your mind is overloaded and you need to dump it all out to get some clarity. This is where a brain dump can be an absolute game-changer.
So what exactly is a brain dump?
A brain dump is a simple practice of downloading and decluttering your thoughts - placing from mind to paper. Not only does it release these thoughts from your mind, but it can help you gain perspective and focus on things that need doing. It allows you to organise your priorities and effectively assess where you need to put your time and effort. A brain dump is a great mindfulness technique to help you feel more productive, calmer, and organised.
How do I start a brain dump?
You can get started anytime, anywhere - even right now! All you need is a piece of paper, a pen and a quiet space with little distraction.
Keeping your brain dump somewhere safe and where you can easily refer back to, such as your Flourish & Fulfilled Journal or Gratitude Planner, is a great way to acknowledge the tasks you need to work on and help you look back and assess your patterns and habits.
Once you’re equipment ready, just write and let it all out. All of it. Every little thing that is consuming your mind right now - write, scribble, or draw it all down onto that piece of paper. It doesn’t need to make sense and it doesn't need to be in any order - the important thing is to transfer all your thoughts, to-do’s, and worries onto that piece of paper and out of your mind.
This is the first step - the ‘discard’ stage. We will get onto the ‘tidy’ stage shortly. For now, you need to just let go. Maybe you have a friend to call, or a huge pile of washing you need to put away, a bill that’s creeping up, or a project that you keep putting off. List it all out!
- Call Sophie
- Start mindset course
- Pick up this week’s groceries
- Clean bathroom
- Start a savings plan
- Organise stationary
- Write new blog post
- Read a new book
- Plan camping trip
- Clean car
- Plan healthy school lunches
- Iron uniforms
- Pay utility bills
- Create workout playlist
You get the idea.
This list can be as short or as long as you like. Remember, it’s for nobody’s eyes but yours (unless you want it to be). If you’re stuck on what to write down, here are some prompts to help you get started:
- What have you been worried about?
- What do you keep forgetting to do?
- What do you keep putting to the bottom of your ‘to-do’ list?
- What would make you really happy?
- What tasks never seem to get done?Is there an upcoming special occasion?
- Is there someone you keep meaning to call or reply to?
- Are there any big goals you keep putting off that would make a big difference to your life?
- What’s bothering you?
So, after you have emptied your mind, now what?
Now we organise. All those thoughts and tasks need to be tidied up and actioned so you can stop letting them take up prime real estate in your mind.
Go through each item you have written down and start organising - this could be as simple as adding to your daily to-do list or weekly calendar. Set an action date for each task and tick it off once it is completed.
Setting yourself a realistic and time-bound goal for each task will keep you accountable. You may find that some things you wrote down may not need to be added to a calendar or time-frame, they simply need to be let out of your mind and ‘let go’ for your own happiness. Simply embracing the thought and emotion and then letting it go was enough to free your mind of the issue.
How often you brain dump is entirely up to you - it could be daily, weekly, monthly. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or like you have a lot on your plate, brain dump it out. You’ll be surprised how much calmer you feel afterwards. This mental health maintenance is an incredible way to self-reflect, understand your habits and gain more self-awareness.
Just by simply writing down your thoughts or a to-do list you are helping to reduce stress and anxiety – because it is a mindfulness exercise. And now that you have organized and planned all those tasks you will be much more productive too. Other benefits are that you free mental energy to put towards other things.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Find out what works for you and practice that - your future self will thank you for it.
I'd love to know how you go with your brain dump. Did you learn something new about yourself? Let me know in the comments below!