You know those moments when your brain goes into hyper drive? The things you have to do start piling up in your head. You start wondering about what the next week, month, year, or decade will look like for you. You question your past decisions, or that little thing that irked you last week suddenly seems like a much bigger deal.
If you have anxiety or depression, you know those moments. You dread those moments. You sometimes can’t control those moments.
But, there is hope! There is a nifty little tool you can use in those moments to alleviate some of the anxiety or the feelings of overwhelming hopelessness. And that tool is called the Brain Dump.
The Brain Dump is exactly what it sounds like. You want to take those overwhelming, swirling, encroaching thoughts that are pulling you further into your pit of anxiety and/or depression and dump them out of your brain.
Easy! Literally put those thoughts somewhere else. Write them down on a piece of paper. Send an email to yourself with those thoughts. Make a list on your phone of the things you don’t want to forget. You can even organize your chaotic thoughts in an Excel sheet if that’s your thing!
If you are lucky enough to have someone who supports you through your mental health journey, send them your thoughts. Text your best friend or parent or significant other and let them know, “Hey. I’m having these thoughts, and I know they are getting out of hand. Can you please give me a reality check?”
It doesn’t have to be that exact language, but if people love you (and people do), they usually want to make you happy. By telling them exactly what you need, they will try their hardest to provide you with that reality check or advice or encouragement or attention that you crave.
And I know that you don’t always know exactly what you need. But being able to sit down and dump all those thoughts and worries out into a physical space really does help. Subconsciously, your brain will think that you passed the responsibility of holding those thoughts on to someone else, and it won’t obsess over them so much.
This is a great trick to do right before bed or when you feel yourself spiraling in the middle of the workday. So give it a try, and let me know if it works!
As we move into colder weather (in most places), less sunlight, and the hectic holiday season, get to know the Brain Dump. You’ll be glad you did.