Are you tired of the constant chatter in your mind? Is it bringing you down or keeping you distracted? What is it and where is it coming from?
Many people, including Zen Buddhists, refer to this constant chatter as our Monkey Mind. And it’s coming from your past and future and doing all it can to keep you not present.
People may experience this chatter as:
- Your mind reading off a laundry list of to-do items.
- Your mind listing its fears, both real and imaginary.
- Your mind recalling hurtful things that have happened in the past.
- Your mind judging the present.
- Your mind creating catastrophic “what-if” scenarios of the future.
With all this chatter, it’s so difficult to remain present, peaceful, joyful and focused. Taming your monkey mind, however, may support you in the following way:
- It will give you clarity of mind.
- It will allow you to focus on the present and on the task at hand.
- It will improve the quality of your sleep.
- It will increase your sense of calm and of well-being.
- It will make you happier.
So how can we tame it? Well, the first step to calming down all the chatter is simply knowing that it’s possible to do so and remembering that your thoughts don’t rule you. You rule your thoughts. Other ways to tame this wild monkey in your head is to:
1. Talk to it!
Ask it what it’s trying to communicate to you and why? Or be an observer of all that chatter. Sometimes your monkey mind just needs to be heard and once you allow it to run its course and/or observe it, it tends to calm down.
Create a regular journaling practice and write down all that your mind is chattering about. Sometimes getting things out and on paper is healing and forgiving.
3. Meditate and Deep Belly Breathe
Sitting in silence and focusing on your breathing is one of the most effective ways to calm the mind. Inhale slowly and expand your belly. Exhale slowly and release all tension. Our breath is our greatest gift. I encourage you to take some time every day to acknowledge and honor it.
4. Stop Assigning Meaning
Have you ever considered that your thoughts might not mean anything? In other words, we give meaning to things based on our past experience.
5. Recite a Mantra Repeat a positive phrase or quote that brings you peace.
6. Play the Game of Fives
Once you notice your mind is creating chaos, pause for a moment and come back to the present by noticing 5 things in your environment using any of your 5 senses. Hear them, smell them, touch them, look at them or if you’re having a meal, take a little bit longer to chew and fully experience all the flavors in your meal.
Acupuncture is well known for creating balance in body, mind & emotions. Where there is balance there is peace and good health.
Calming your mind and staying present has so many benefits. Trust that it takes time to tame those wild monkeys in your head, but anyone on this planet can do it. As Buddha says,
“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all,
one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind
he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come