I don’t know if this ever happens to you but there are times that my brain just seems to freeze up. I have so many thoughts swirling through my head that I get overwhelmed. We have 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Some just pass right on through without notice and others are more intrusive. Some thoughts are helpful. And others are negative and critical.
A thought download is a way to take the thoughts from your head and get them on paper. It can also be called a brain dump. It’s a helpful habit to do once or twice a day. Doing them in the morning can help you get clarity for the day ahead. Doing it at night can help empty out all the thoughts from the day and allows for a better night’s sleep. I am working on a practice where I also do it when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Three times to do a thought download
- First thing in the morning – this is a great way to clean out your mind and gain clarity for you day. You can start with just writing whatever comes to mind – plans for the day, thoughts that you woke up with things you’re working on today, etc. If you get stuck you can start with a journal prompt to get your thoughts rolling. Just write, don’t edit. Let it be messy.
- At the end of the day – dump out all the thoughts that have been bombarding your brain all day. Put anything down that’s on your mind. Again, let it be messy. Any successes you had today, anything you learned, anything that’s bothering you.
- When feeling overwhelmed – a great way to unravel all the stuff running through your brain to sort out what’s important now and what you can just put down on paper and let go.
Many times, simply doing this will be enough. It clears out your head and tells your brain that you’ve “dealt with” many of the thoughts it was trying to remind you of. Sometimes you may be surprised at the things you wrote down. Things that you didn’t even realize you were thinking. It’s like being able to be on the outside and view your own thinking. And you may decide that some of those thoughts are things you want to keep thinking. But some of them are maybe thoughts you want to question. They may be thoughts you want to do some mindset work on. You can do this by putting it through a process like the self-coaching model. You can learn more about doing that on my post The Ultimate Practice to Boost Your Mental Wellness.