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🧘‍♂️ Note-taking techniques to reduce stress and anxiety

Here are some things you can do right now in your notes to improve your mental well-being.

Life can be stressful. But our notes are here to help!

In this email we are going to cover several note-taking workflows you can use to help reduce your stress and anxiety – right from within your notes. Feel free to use any note-taking tool you’d like, just note that certain features will make them easier.

#1 – The Mind Dump

Ever had that feeling that you’re forgetting something? Or maybe you’re just feeling overwhelmed with all of the things you need to do. Doing a mind dump of everything you can think of to do will clear your headspace for a calm and productive day.

How to do a mind dump:

(Note: you can also do this process manually in a notebook.)

  1. Start a voice note transcription.

  2. List out everything you can think of that you might need to do (in no particular order).

  3. Continue until you can no longer think of things to list.

  4. Use an AI prompt to organize the voice note into a todo list.

  5. Prioritize the list and eliminate what doesn’t need to be done.

Now you’ve extracted everything you need to do from your brain, plus you know the exact order to do things in!

This is a particularly helpful exercise to do at the end of a workday so you have a relaxing start the next morning. It’s also great to do on a Sunday evening before the week starts to reduce the infamous “Sunday Scaries”.

Watch a full video on this technique here:

#2 – A stream of consciousness

This is similar to a mind dump, except you're not just focusing on the things you need to do. In fact, there is no focus at all.

At its core, a stream of consciousness is the simple act of extracting everything that pops into your mind onto a page. We're often surprised by what is taking up our mental space in reality.

The process below uses a couple of AI tricks that will help you get more out of the note-taking workflow.

How to do a stream of consciousness:

  1. Go somewhere private (a solitary room, go for a walk, whatever you prefer).

  2. Start a voice note transcription.

  3. Talk about everything that’s on your mind: concerns, worries, things you’re thankful for, what you’re excited about, things you need to get done – everything!

  4. After it’s transcribed, you can use the “Stream of Consciousness” prompt in this sheet. It will extract insights, action items and some helpful tips to be happier and more productive in your day.

Do your stream of consciousness first thing in the morning to start your day off on the right foot. It's also a great exercise to do before bed to help you sleep.

Watch a full video of how to do this process below:

#3 – The Reframing Exercise

This will help you turn any negative thought into a positive one. By recording it in your notes, you solidify this as the reality. This will help you feel better in the moment, but over time it will also re-train your brain to think more positively about the events that occur around you.

How to do the reframing exercise:

  1. Write down the negative thought, exactly how it exists in your brain.

    ex. “I have a million things I need to get done for work today and I don’t know how I’ll do it all.”

  2. Force yourself to reframe the thought in a positive light.

    ex. “I’m very fortunate to have a career where I’m genuinely valuable and needed.”

  3. Quickly jot down how the best version of yourself would handle the situation.

    ex. “I’ll ruthlessly prioritize my task list, and move as efficiently as I can. That’s the best I can do!”

#4 – Gratitude journaling

There's nothing special to this one. Just write down the things you are thankful and grateful for in your life each day.

Find something no matter how bad of a day you're having. There is always something to be grateful for!

Gratitude journaling works great as a part of a stream of consciousness note-taking workflow, or paired with the reframing above. We did a video on this you can watch here.

If there are any note-taking workflows that you feel have helped you in your life, please reply and let us know 🫶

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