Writing can be a way to release your feelings of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19. It can serve as a way to seek clarity, decrease anxiety, and feel freedom and peace in a time when things may feel out of control at times. The technique brain dumping is a term popularized by David Allen’s book called Getting it done. This technique is one where you can download your thoughts onto paper. By doing this think of yourself like a computer. When you clean your space in your mind you will feel a decrease in overwhelming feelings.
Ways to Decrease Overwhelming feelings
One technique that can help clients during COVID 2020 is a technique called a brain dump. This technique is one that they can do at any time. I advise my clients to do this to start their day or before they go to sleep.
Some strategies to brain dump are to free write. When you free write make sure to not censor or erase what you are thinking. Simply write how you feel. You can put a timer for 5 minutes or even 10 minutes and write whatever is on your mind.
Benefits & Why To Brain Dump
Some benefits of brain dumping are:
1. A way to let go of negative thoughts and patterns.
2. Helps to sift through your thoughts in a safe manner
3. Helps you sort through your perspectives
4. Helps you to pack and explore thoughts, feelings, and experiences3.
5.. A safe place to jot down your thoughts and emotions when you feel overloaded.
6. Encourages creativity and ways to solve a problem.
7. It may turn into poetry or a song that ends up helping others.
8. Helps you remember things you may need to remember later.
9. Provide focus.
10. A good place to dump or download your dreams or goals.
10. Brain dump can be something you can take to your therapy sessions and share with your therapist.
12. Provides clarity and insight into your next steps.
13. Prevents brain fog
Where to Brain Dump
A few places you can brain dump are:
1. At the therapist’s office. You can ask your therapist if you can brain dump and then discuss with him or her what is going on in life. Sometimes a pen and paper is a safe way to communicate.
2. Brain dump on your phone.
3. In your planner.
4. In your Journal.
5. On a random piece of paper.
6. On google doc
7. On the Procreate App
8. On Workflowy.
Strategies to Help you get started:
Some techniques to help you get started with the process of brain dump:
1. Brain dump and write down all your frustration, feelings, or thoughts on the paper. There is no right or wrong way to brain dump. You can brain dump by writing out your thoughts in bullet lists, write a song, or writing an essay on how you feel. Some ideas and ways on how to get started in doing a brain dump are:
A) What am I worried about
B) What situations, places, people, or things affected my peace today.
C) People who bother me
D) What made me happy today/this week?
E) What am I learning in my life right now?
F) What do I want in my life?
G) What can I change in my daily routine?
E) How can I be a more compassionate partner or employee today?
F) What is my goal for this month or year?
G) How can I improve in life?
H) What I am grateful for?
I) What is COVID 2020 teaching me?
J) Reflect on what is brings me joy (relationships, school/work, experiences)
K) What is my role during the Pandemic? How can I make life better for others?
L) What skills do I want to learn during the pandemic and why?
Feedback if Struggling to Brain Dump
If you are judging yourself. Please stop yourself and do a breathing technique. When you are ready you can come back to your writing space and clear your mind. A therapeutic exercise I recommend to clear the mind is to participate in a breathing technique for about 2 to 5 minutes. To calm down your nervous system which creates the anxious feelings please put your hand over your stomach and take a breath out to the number 5 (count to 5 as you breathe out) and then breathe into the count of 5 (count to 5 as you breathe in).
As you breathe in, direct your thoughts to things or images that bring you peace. As you breathe out, direct your thoughts to anxiety or thoughts that you would like to leave you. Repeat this process for about 3 minutes to about 10 minutes.