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Ep. 94 Brain Dump Method for Managing Stress

by Claudine Sweeney
September 15th 2021

Last week we talked about ways to minimize and manage daily stress. This week we talk in depth about one method that has proven to be efficient and effective when dealing with daily stress and anxi... More

This is episode 94, the brain dump method for managing stress. You're listening to the rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and Shine podcast. Mm Yeah. Hi everyone welcome back with Claudine and Ashley here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. Today we are going to be talking about brain dumping. I know it's a little weird of a word but some of you may have heard it before. Um Brain dumps are so crucial to help us minimize and manage our stress which we know a lot of people in our own conversations and our coaching clients, we are helping other women trying to help manage their stress because stress is inevitable.

But some of you might be wondering well what is the difference between journaling and a brain dump? Is it the same thing? I know right. And first of all I've got to say, I do not like that phrase brings up, I do not like it, but actually it's in Webster's dictionary. So here's Webster's definition, the actor and instance of comprehensively and uncritically expressing and recording one's thoughts and ideas. So a brain dump is different than a journal because a journal, we're just kind of talking through may be our feelings or our day or whatever. A brain dump is literally sitting with a piece of paper and dumping everything on that piece of paper, emptying our brain our mind and getting it all on paper, Right? So that's a complete sentences, right? It doesn't. And like I wouldn't journal, I wouldn't journal about fix my flat tire, which I currently have or go to the grocery store. I don't put things in my journey. I don't journal about that, but a brain down actually. I prefer thought download, but we'll keep our topic bringing down shoes, but I prefer thought download.

I'm going to download it all out of my mind onto a piece of paper, but that's where we just put everything that we can think of, right? And I was thinking it's like a list, but unorganized. So don't get caught up in thinking, oh my gosh, I have to organize this list. That's not what a brain dump is. A brain dump literally is like, imagine if you're taking out the trash can, right? You're dumping it in your big dumpster, You're just dumping everything out. You know, there's no rhyme or reason, there's no organization, what's whatsoever. So a brain dump is exactly the same thing. You just shot down. Anything that's popping up in your mind. You might not even know where that came from, but it's really, really uh, such a crucial tool, So beneficial for us. Well, our brains are not wired to hold onto lots and bits of pieces of info, but that's what we're doing every day, right? Especially when you have young Children at home, then you're holding onto all their info and all their bits and pieces, right As you do. You use to overwhelm right? And bring down, helps clear out that mental clutter, it helps take the chaos out of our brain, our lives maybe a little bit chaotic, but at least our brains don't have to be when I can share.

Even personally. Just yesterday, I recognize that I woke up in the morning, we had a couple activities on our day for planned for the day that we're knew that weren't in our usual schedule and I woke up and trying to get the kids ready for school. I felt a lot more anxiety than usual, but knowing now what I know, you know, I had to stop and kind of listen, okay, I'm feeling more anxious this morning. What's going on? What does the day look like? And I had to kind of think about some things and I realized, okay, there's a bunch going on today, I'm struggling just to remember everything and I get stuck. A lot of my anxiety can come if I'm thinking if I feel like I have too much on my list, but I'm worried I'm going to forget something and that's one of the nice things about brain dump is that it frees up that brain power so we can think and we can plan rather than just keep trying to remember because when we're just trying to remember, it's like we're trying to keep everything on this plate and not drop anything.

We're spending so much time worrying about that that we're not focused. We're having a hard time that we might get irritable. You know, we might feel more anxious. So the brain dump was fantastic And I knew that. So yesterday, what I did, I wrote down everything, I wrote down all the stuff I needed to do. Just get it out of my head. No, no, no organization, but just get it out of my head and then I can put it again into a more of a strategic manner. And I went hour by hour. Okay, these are the things we have to do and if there were, my daughter picked up band now she's a part of band. So that was new in our schedule and you know, we have to take her to horses right after that. And then okay, we need to make sure we have our boots and we need all the little things that especially moms have to, that we have to keep together. So the brain dump was so helpful because it really minimized that anxiety level that I was feeling just by doing that, which is again why we want to talk about this because it is so helpful and I should have done it on sunday because I had one activity after another after another and I was so overwhelmed and I started a renovation project while my husband's out of town because I thought oh this will be a good time to take on a big building project while my husband's not here.

I don't know why I thought that. But anyway, so sunday was church. I had an impromptu breakfast meeting um then I had another meeting. Then I had the single women coming over for dinner and this closet renovation all at the same time my brain was fried. In fact someone noticed that I was texting a lot during the meeting when in fact I was actually doing notes to myself about all these things, I was trying to get it out of my brain so I could focus on the meeting and put it down on paper where I could return to it later. And that's one of the benefits of brain dumping. Is it frees up the mind to be focused and to be present instead of having all this stuff swirling around because I was really hard for me to focus that day because I had all these things swimming in my head. So actually I was doing a mini brain dump during this meeting. But it made me think of this scripture which I know is more about how we received the message but in Matthew 13 22 says the seed that fell among the thorns is like others they hear the message, but then the worries of this life and the false promises of wealth crowded out.

They keep the message from producing fruit and that's what I see this as I feel like our thoughts in our minds when they're all swirling around they're like the thorns there like the thorns and thistles and they crowded out and you can't even hear the message, whether it's God's message or any other message. It's really hard to be present and focused with all this stuff swirling in our brain. So huge proponent of getting it out and getting it down and cloudy. Don't you find that when those thoughts are all swirling around our head unorganized and we're getting ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed that it seems everything is equally important. I have to get all of this done right now. And so it shows it's more of an emotional place just wrestled place rather than tapping into our prefrontal cortex. That helps us with planning and organizing because that's kind of like I'm on hold right now. So that's why the brain dump is important because it helps us to switch on that part of our brain to actually organize.

So true. Yeah. And research has shown they had studies where the brain activity is actually impacted by doing a brain dump, like lessen stress that gets calmer and who does not want to reduce their stress. I do hand lift it up me to write, especially, I mean in any stage of life, I can say, especially as a mom, but any stage of life, I think some of us tend to put more stress on us than we need to. Maybe we've decided to take on a little too many home projects not to name names or anything. But the beauty of this, like there's some great advantages from a brain dump, you know, it doesn't mean, oh, I, I really shouldn't be doing this right now. It's no, let's just find a better time. Right? So let's just brain dumps or thought download is a little more, but not in Webster's dictionary. So true. But then, you know, some things can be held off for tomorrow or maybe next week or next month, you know, I think we get a lot of times we get so excited and we just Oh yeah, yes, yes, yes.

Right. You know, so you just did it right. Yes, yes, yes. And one of the things I learned even personally yesterday that because yesterday it was a newer day, it was monday, but we had a new activity on our schedule. I had a meeting, a coach call and so I realized, okay, maybe this particular meeting and it was coffee with a friend. Right? So that was a fun one. My coaching call, Obviously that's a weekly thing. Um, but the coffee with a friend, you know, maybe my hangout time for fun needs to be at the end of the week and so and if I did not thought download right brain dump, I would not have figured that out. I just would have been stuck in all this stress and overwhelm and oh my gosh, I'm trying, I'm doing too much too much in one day and I got great insight that day because I realized, no, it's not that it's too much. I let's just get better at planning and organizing. You know, like it's not, no, I can't ever hang out with a friend and have coffee. Let's just move it over to friday rather than monday and so and really helps us to plan and organize.

So our wheat goes better so we feel better so we can show up the way we want to show up and not get in that rut, feeling burned out and overwhelmed. And a brain dump also includes, it concludes includes thoughts we have about our relationships, not just a to do list. Mine tends to be a pretty heavy duty to do list, but it's also anything I could be thinking like why didn't she call me back? Why didn't you know all the wise the house, the winds, you know, it's great to get those out of our heads because we've talked about this before, but it's like our cell phone when we have all the apps open, it drains the battery really quick. So my husband taught me years ago, you gotta turn off all your apps. I think at one point looked like Windows. Yeah, I had like 20 apps open and he's like, ok, that's why your battery's dying in two hours. So like our brains. But we have all these thoughts like why didn't you return my call? The funny thing is for me anyway, when I put it on paper all of a sudden the emotions out of it and it looks rather silly like why did she not return my call?

Maybe she just had a really busy day, but when it's in my brain it's like now my feelings are hurt and it becomes very emotional as opposed to putting it on paper. It's like here's the fact my friend didn't return my phone call the emotions out of it. It's just a sentence on paper and that's really all our thoughts are there just sentences in our head. But somehow when they're stuck in our brain, there's a lot of emotion attached to it and that's draining one then it helps us to let go of certain things. Right? So really a friend not calling back, that's not, you know, you can now more logically process that. Okay, well maybe they it wasn't a good time. Yeah, it's not a personal thing. It's okay. It's you know, I can try back later. They'll probably call me back tomorrow or you know, you can use that logical and reasoning part of the brain. But in our brain is so emotional. It's all about us, isn't it? So what everything spins around me in my brain, so yeah, putting it on paper really helps. So let's talk about some practical is Ashley. Okay, so the first practical is to set a timer.

So the point of this is not to have another daunting task, right? All you need is five, maybe 10 minutes just to get anything and everything out of your brain and onto that paper. Yes. And once it's on the paper then it's it's a great opportunity to categorize. Like some of them are just thoughts, right? Some of them are two DUIs some of them are I don't know what I think most of you can control things. Yeah. Yes. That's a great one for me. A lot of my intend to be to do. So I tend to carry a lot of to do lists in my head, which definitely is overwhelming and stressful, mental checklist. They seem efficient but really not. No, it's not. And then it's always there and we'll forget something. Yeah. And you're right, it seems like everything is important. So once we put it on paper then we categorize then the last step at least for me is to prioritize. And I think about what Stephen Covey teaches with the quadrants and there's urgent and important, so you better get to this. So like, you know if I have a work deadline or my Children need to be picked up at three that's probably pretty urgent and important unless I can find someone else to do it.

I don't want to leave. You know my kids when they were little standing out in the street by themselves then there's urgent and not important so it's a high priority but super not as important as the other one then there is important but not urgent and then there's not important, not urgent. Those are things we can just put away. Like I don't need to be thinking about that and I think about the scripture, take captive of every thought and some of them we can release like I don't need to think about the things that aren't important or urgent like it's maybe time to let that go. I remember for years on my mental to do list was paint my dog's cage a certain color. Like years. I kept thinking I need to paint her cage, I need to paint her cage, I need to paint her little carrier and it just took up a lot of affordable care. Yes, you wanted to paint it. Yes. And I finally did after like five years but literally it was it was a weird little thought but every time I saw her carrier I thought I need to paint this. So I was always running in the bank, I'd be at the store and I'd see pink paint, I'm like I need to pink paint because I need to paint, but literally literally didn't do it for five years.

Like I probably, if I had just brain dump that I could have forgotten about and realize this is not important or urgent, I can let this go. I think so, yeah, totally. What, you know, that's a funny one, but then there's urgent things, you know, those are things that I don't want to forget and that's the hard part because we have all this mental clutter and then it typically it is the really urgent or important things that we forget, like, oops, that was important. I didn't need to return that call and I didn't, you know. Yeah, absolutely. So it really is very simple. There's not a ton of practical is usually we have a lot more, but it's really just get it down on paper, set a timer categorize them and then prioritize them. What's really important, what do you really need to get done today? And what can you just toss to the site? What are the thorns that are choking out the message and ultimately is a christian, so christian woman, I do want my life to be so uncomplicated that I do have time to sit at jesus feet and I think sometimes my mind so cluttered even in the morning to try and read my bible or to pray, I'm like, oh, but I got to go to the grocery store, but I can't even focus on what's really important, you know, I want to be married.

But the truth is I'm a lot of Martha but if Martha would brain time she probably would have been okay. I'm thinking that's just an opinion. But I'm thinking she had this handy tool. She might have been able to join her sister and sit at the feet of jesus. Just a thought he meant to that, that was a great point. So a fancy Well no, so uh odd little name for a very practical tool. I hope this has been helpful. I know it's very helpful for me and for Ashley and we hope this is just one more little tool to help you rise up and shine. All right, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rice. I've been shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode and while you're at it share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com are links are in the description.

We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Ep. 94 Brain Dump Method for Managing Stress
Ep. 94 Brain Dump Method for Managing Stress
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