How to do a brain dump exercise:

Stephen Whyte
Dec 3, 2015 · 2 min read

Within the article, ‘Why I ‘paused’ from the 24/7 work-life culture’ I explained the importance of taking time out to rest and reflect. Doing so, I was able to relax my body, but mentally I was still too active and continued to push myself for that next challenge, task or project.

To help this, I practiced a simple exercise which I’ve often use when working within participatory environments or designing a new concept with a client. Carrying out a brain-dump, the aim is to free up mental stress by releasing the mental clutter and overload of information within my head, allowing me to relax.

This exercise can be carried out in 2 steps:

Step 1: Write down anything that comes into your head and a list of tasks that you feel needs to accomplished within the coming weeks.

Don’t over think this. What ever naturally comes up first, write it down. And keep writing until you can’t think of anything new.

Step2: Cluser and organise these thoughts into headings, then go again.
(I’ve found turning the headings into questions helps.)

The questions I asked myself where:

  • What are you thankful for?
  • What are my frustrations?
  • What do I want?
Brain-dumping exercise for self-reflection

Carrying out this simple action can release a lot of built up emotions, tasks and feelings which are hidden away from everyday thinking. It’s an exercise which has helped me to process my current thoughts and values.

  • Asking ‘What you are thankful for’ highlights the positive aspects of your life/ yourself.
  • Asking ‘What are my frustrations’ highlights what you want to change.
  • Asking ‘What do your want’ helps to set a future vision or direction of you can aim towards.

These were personal questions that I needed to ask myself. Try it, change the questions to something more personal or directed if needed.

I’ve found brain-dumping can be an effective tool to highlight inner strengths, weakness’s and give yourself an honest view of yourself, your thoughts and desires. It helped me to arrange my thoughts and clear confusion. There is no direct rule you need to follow, do what works for you.

Share your thoughts, get in touch: @steviewhyte /

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