I was out with my friend the other day, and we were discussing some of the research I’ve been doing on stress relief methods before bed. She had heard about them before but wanted to know more about them because of her experience.
A few weeks ago, she was studying for a test and felt she couldn’t focus on anything. So she started writing everything down that she needed to remember in a notebook, and by the time she was done, she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She was able to focus much better after that and got an A on the test.
After hearing that story, I wondered whether there is an actual method of stress release by journaling, and if so, how does it work? and I found out it is called “Brain dump journal.”
As anyone who has ever tried to sleep after a long day of work knows, sometimes the brain won’t shut off. After tossing and turning for what feels like hours, you might be tempted to give up on sleep altogether.
But before you reach for another cup of coffee, consider taking up a journaling habit. Brain dumping can help you sleep better by releasing the pent-up stress and anxiety that can keep you up at night. The next time you can’t seem to fall asleep, try this brain dump exercise:
Grab a notebook and write down whatever is on your mind, no matter how trivial it may seem. Then, close the notebook and put it away once you’ve cleared your head. You may find that you’re finally able to drift off to sleep.
What is a brain dump journal and how can it help improve sleep quality?
The idea is that by writing down all your thoughts and concerns before bed, you can clear your mind and relax, making it easier to fall asleep.
How to create a brain dump journal?
The first step is to choose a time each night before bed to write in your journal. It can be helpful to set a reminder, so you don’t forget. Then, start writing.
There is no need to focus on grammar or sentence structure; just let your thoughts flow onto the page.
Once you get into the habit of writing in your journal, you may start to sleep better and feel more relaxed. You can follow the following basic steps.
Choose a method for recording your thoughts
Brain dumps are a great way to unload all the junk occupying space in your brain. It’s like decluttering for your mental health. And, just like decluttering your home, brain dumps can be cathartic and freeing.
But how do you brain dump? Some people prefer to use a notebook or journal specifically for this purpose. Others use a blank document on their computer.
Some people brain dump by listing everything on their mind, while others brain dump by brainstorming solutions to specific problems.
There’s no right or wrong way to brain dump, so do whatever works best for you. Just set aside some time each day (or week) for a brain dump session. Otherwise, all that junk will start to weigh you.
Choose a time each night before bed to write in your journal
If you’ve ever had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea only to forget it by morning, you know how frustrating it can be to lose a great idea to the ether.
Luckily, there is a solution: setting a reminder to do a brain dump. A brain dump is simply when you select a timer for a certain amount of time and then start writing down everything that comes to mind, no matter how half-formed or random the ideas may be.
Just get all of your thoughts out of your head and onto the page without focusing on the grammar or sentence structure. Once they’re out of your head, you can start to organize them into a more cohesive format.
Write down everything on your mind
Trying to hold everything in your head all at once is a recipe for disaster – or, at the very least, a headache. So instead of keeping track of every little thing floating around in your head, do a brain dump and write it all down. This can be in regular notes, a mind map, or even just half-formed ideas.
The important thing is to get it all out of your head and down on paper (or digital equivalent).
This will help to clear your mind, but it can also be therapeutic to see everything laid out in front of you.
And if you’re worried about forgetting something, don’t worry – you can always refer back to your notes. Just don’t forget to place worry with action.
One of the main reasons people can’t sleep at night is because they’re worried about something. Whether it’s a looming deadline at work or a fight with a friend, worrying about a problem can keep you up. However, there is a way to stop it and get some rest.
Review your journal entries
If you’re anything like me, your mind is a never-ending tornado of thoughts – some concrete, others more abstract and challenging to capture. That’s one of the things I love about bullet journaling:
It helps me slow down and process my thoughts more methodically. After a week or two of writing in my journal, I always make a point to look back over my entries.
This helps me identify any patterns or recurring thoughts that may keep me up at night. And while I can’t promise that journaling will help you lose a few pounds, I can say with certainty that it will provide some much-needed peace of mind.
If you find yourself lying awake at night, worrying about the future or replaying past events in your mind, it may be time to give your brain a little spring cleaning.
One way to do this is with a brain tornado. This is simply a brain dump, where you capture all of the abstract thoughts and concerns swirling around in your head and get them down on paper.
This can help lessen your mental burden and give you a sense of clarity and control. If you’re not sure where to start, try bullet journaling. This is a great way to organize your thoughts and track your progress over time.
Just remember, don’t try to solve everything at once. Small steps toward resolving your concerns will eventually lead to significant results.
What to include in your brain dump journal?
A brain dump journal is the written equivalent of a mental cleanse. Every day, capture everything floating around in your head onto paper. This could include worries, to-dos, goals, ideas, or any other thoughts on your mind.
This can be done in by dividing it into four columns as
We all have those days when we feel stuck in a rut. We’re just going through the motions, unsure how to break out of our current routine. Sound familiar?
If so, you’re not alone. Bullet points are a great way to get new ideas down on paper and help you move on from feeling stuck. For example, if you’re thinking about starting a new fitness routine, jot down a few ideas of what that might look like.
Maybe you want to try a new exercise class or start running again. Once you have a few things down on paper, it’ll be easier to choose one and get started.
To do things
I’m willing to bet that some of your thoughts were about things you need to get done. Probably something you’ve been putting off for a while or things you’re anxious about doing. Re-write any thoughts that fall under this category into this box.
It’s incredible how much the written word can help to ease our anxiety about getting things done. Seeing our thoughts down in black and white (or violet and turquoise, if you’re into the color-coding system) can make them seem much less daunting than when they were floating around in our heads. Plus, we can use sticky notes to remind us of what needs to be done and when.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to take a minute to appreciate the good things. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of it too.
We get so focused on nail things that we’re grateful for we forget to stop and smell the roses, as they say. But taking a minute here to write down 3-5 positive things that you’re grateful for can make a big difference.
It’s a way of acknowledging the good in your life, even when it feels like everything is going wrong. So, take a big breath and think about what you’re thankful for. It might just be the thing that gets you through a tough day.
Top 3 Priorities
We all know that feeling of having too much to do and not knowing where to start. Our thoughts are swirling around in our heads like a never-ending tornado, and the pressure seems to be mounting by the second.
In cases like these, it can be helpful to choose the three things that you need to get done today.
This will help give you a little more clarity and focus on how your day will go, as opposed to blindly trying to figure out what to do first. It’s like opening a pressure valve – suddenly, the sense of overwhelming disappears, and you can stop chasing your tail in circles.
The goal is to get everything out of your head and onto paper, so don’t hold back. This will help you to declutter your mind, but it can also be therapeutic to see your thoughts in written form.
Plus, it’s a great way to capture those abstract thoughts that always seem to slip away when you try to write them down later. So go ahead and give it a try – your mental energy will thank you for it!
How long should a brain dump take?
Okay, so maybe you’re not the journaling type. But even if you don’t pour your heart out onto paper on the reg, you could still keep a journal dedicated to brain dumps.
A refillable writing journal works wonderfully for this. Take 10-15 minutes to write down every abstract thought in your head.
It doesn’t have to make sense, and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Just capture those thoughts before they escape your brain forever.
How to use your brain dump journal for better sleep quality?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. For example, some people find it helpful to write in their journal every night before bed, while others only do it when they feel particularly stressed or overwhelmed.
Experiment to see what works best for you. You may also want to try using your journal with other relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.
Clear your mind
Keeping a journal can be quite helpful. This simple practice can capture negative thoughts that might otherwise be lost, and it can also help improve sleep quality.
One way to do a brain dump is to set aside 10-15 minutes each night before bed and write down whatever is on your mind.
This can include things you need to do, something you’re worried about, or anything else on your mind during the day. Then, once it’s all written down, you can forget about it and relax before bed.
You can also do a monthly brain dump, where you set aside some time each month to write down everything that’s been on your mind.
You get free from anxiety.
A brain dump journal is like a written version of a mental spring cleaning. The goal is to get all of the nagging worry and comparison thoughts out of your head and down on paper. This can be particularly helpful if you’re struggling with anxiety or perfectionism.
Once it’s written down, you can address each worry one at a time, rather than letting them swirl around in your head all day long. Plus, seeing your concerns written out in black and white can often help you gain perspective and realize that they’re not as big or daunting as they seemed in your head.
If you’re struggling to get started, try setting a timer for 10-15 minutes and write non-stop until the timer goes off.
Brain dump notes make you relax.
We’ve all been there before. You feel overwhelmed by everything floating around in your head, and you need to get it all out. That’s where a brain dump comes in.
The main goal of a brain dump is to get everything written down so you can relax and stop worrying about forgetting something important.
Even if it’s just a few things, getting them out of your head and onto paper (or into a digital document) can be incredibly freeing.
And once you’ve written everything down, you can start to organize it into more manageable chunks. So the next time you’re feeling stressed out, try doing a brain dump. It just might be the thing that helps you get back on track.
It improves your productivity.
When you feel overwhelmed with thoughts swirling around in your head, it may be time to use a brain dump. This simple productivity tool can help you improve your focus and get more done.
To do a brain dump, grab a piece of paper and write down everything on your mind. This can include anything from a grocery list to upcoming deadlines at work.
Once everything is out of your head and onto the paper, you’ll be able to see things more clearly and start working on what’s most important.
In addition, you may find that some of the items on your list are not as pressing as you thought, which can help you to relax and feel less stressed.
Brain dumping will improve your mental recall.
As any student knows, trying to remember everything can be challenging. You can keep everything in your head, but eventually, all those thoughts will start to jumble together.
Or you can start a new habit of writing down information as soon as you learn it.
When you need to recall the information, you can flip to a new page instead of struggling to remember everything. Plus, once you get in the habit of writing down information, you may find that your mental recall improves.
It supports your problem-solving
The brain is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a bit of a Scrooge when giving up its extras.
You know the things I’m talking about – those nagging little bits of information that you can never remember when you need them but which always pop into your head at the most inconvenient times.
Whether it’s a phone number you can’t find, an idea for a blog post that won’t leave you alone, or that pesky to-do list rattling around in your brain for weeks, we’ve all got our mental Scrooges.
But there’s good news! Finally, there is a place where you can finally give these extras the attention they deserve.
It provides to do list opportunity.
If you find some free time and a need to get things done, consider making a to-do list. This may seem boring to spend your time, but it can be pretty therapeutic. I like to call it a brain dump. Getting all of your thoughts and tasks down on paper (or in an app) can help you feel more organized and less stressed.
Not sure where to start? Check out some of the popular productivity methods, such as bullet journaling. Once you have your system set up, you can start tackling those essential tasks.
Maintenance tasks, such as laundry and grocery shopping, may not be the most exciting items on your list, but they are essential to keeping your life running smoothly.
Alternative methods for brain dumping
The NSDR method is another way to help clear your mind and relax before bed. It stands for “nightly self-discovery review.”
To use this method, take some time each night to reflect on your day and identify any positive or negative moments.
This can help you to identify any patterns or areas of improvement. Additionally, the NSDR method can help to boost self-awareness and self-esteem.
Visit the Sleep Organization website for more information on how to get better sleep. This website provides helpful tips and tricks on improving your sleep habits, including how to create a bedtime routine, establish a sleep schedule, and reduce stress.