You roll out of bed and think, “I have so much to do today!” After only a few minutes of alertness, your mind is already in overdrive. There are an infinite number of things racing through your head: are the kids awake, what meetings do I have, what should I wear, do I have time for a quick shower, etc.? You grab your coffee and check your phone. The number of emails and messages looks overwhelming. Where to begin?

More coffee! It’s too much!

You need to clear your head and take a deep breath. The To Do list is growing in your mind. Perhaps it’s time for a brain dump.

When your mind becomes worried, stress or overwhelmed, you need to clear it. Somehow, you need to take all those racing thoughts and dump them out of your head. Think of it like this. An over stuffed purse makes it hard to find anything. So what do you do? Dump out all the contents and search for what you need. Now, apply this to your brain. When it is overwhelmed with so much stuff, dump it out to find what you need.

Here is how a brain dump works:

Have a piece of paper by your phone, computer or coffee spot. Write down everything that comes to your mind to do. I actually keep a piece of paper by my computer so I can do this. Yes, there are lots of bullet points on that list, but I can check and add to it anything that comes to mind. Then I literally take those thoughts out of my head and put them on the paper. Include things that are on-going, but require some daily focus as well.

Doing this, I free my mind from being overwhelmed. All those thoughts are now on the paper. I can sip my coffee and think clearly. In fact, it’s good to take a five to ten minute break before you even look at the list. Then look. Think priorities and what can wait for another day. Or, is there something on your list that would bring  you tremendous relief if you tackled it first? Do it.

In addition, some things on my list are actually concerns that are cluttering my mind. They don’t require immediate action, but having them written down serves to remind me to pay attention later. I don’t have to ruminate on those concerns all day. They are written down to remind me. Include those concerns in your brain dump time.

And if you are fortunate like I am to look out your window and see nature, take advantage of the view. When the temps warm up, I grab my coffee and sit outside. There is something about being in nature or looking at it that calms down a driven and overthinking mind. And according to a number of studies, we get the added benefit of being more creative and less tired when we move outdoors. Something about nature revives us and lends to feeling better.

So, here are the two takeaways. Writing down worries can actually help free them from your mind. Second, nature provides the brain with relief and calm. Both are easy ways to do a brain dump. Practice them on a regular basis and you’ll be better organized, get back into a helpful routine and calm down your overthinking mind.

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