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  • Writer's pictureMagda

5 ways to tame your Monkey Mind

Monkey mind is easily explained as the constant chatter in your head. I can’t do this; What if it doesn’t work; What if they say no, Give up, etc, just a few examples of what you occasionally hear it say. I often hear people say “I’m sorry I overreacted”, “It wasn’t me, I was just so frustrated” – immediately regretting their reaction to someone or something.

In this blog post I will focus on management of your monkey mind and explain the main principles of how to learn to control it. If you want to be happier, increase your sense of overall well-being and sense of calm and be more focused, read on below:

1. Know that you are in control of your monkey mind and that it can be tamed

Imagine your body is a car: who is driving it - you or the mind? Every time I speak about this principle I bring up the simple equation of E+R=O, which is EVENT + REACTION = OUTCOME. You can’t change the event but you can change your response, which will change the outcome. The Car. when driven by the mind it is prone to outbursts, immediate reaction based on emotions and surroundings, when driven by you, you have the full control. Your mind is also lazy and will always take the path of least resistance, unless you start guiding it and taking ownership of your reactions.

2. Your monkey mind is like a puppy – you need to train it

If you ever had a puppy, you know what it’s like to constantly have to take it out. It goes to the toilet in your house, and you take it outside, 2 hours later it tries it in the house again, you take it out that. The story continues for days till the puppy remembers that the toilet is outside. Your mind works in the same way - it’s not going to miraculously stop thinking, however you can train it to the point where you are aware of your thoughts, know they are there, appreciate them and let them go. To the point when they will no longer bother you. It’s like the stages of learning, as an example let’s think about driving:

a) Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetent - you basically have no idea what to do on your first lesson, everything needs to be pointed out

b) Sage 2: Conscious competent – you know what to do however you’re not yet ready to do it by yourself

c) Stage 3: Conscious competent – you’re ready to do it by yourself, but still think of when to turn on the indicators or other controls

d) Stage 4: Unconscious competent – you no longer need to think of your next step, it becomes embedded within you.

3. Meditate

Meditation is the best way to train your monkey mind. The peace, quiet and tranquility of meditation allows you to appreciate and acknowledge that the thoughts are there in the first place. If you are new to meditation and don’t know where to start try apps such as Headspace which has a fantastic 10 day 10 minute process of introductory meditation.

4. Distract your mind

It’s not something I would recommend to do every time as acknowledging your thoughts is important, however if you find yourself in a situation when your monkey brain chit chats and just does not want to stop, try different distraction techniques. Occupying yourself with a task can be a good way for a distraction – read a book, write or go for a walk or a jog. Physical activity releases endorphin which are proved to reduce stress and feelings of pain. My personal favourite to distract my monkey mind is counting my breaths 1 to 10 – 1 for the inhale, 2 for the exhale, count to 10 and repeat until you feel that it’s enough. If your mind wonders off, just bring yourself back and begin where you left off or start again.

5. Relax and trust the process

Buddha compared the brain to a tree with drunk monkeys swinging off of it, jumping, swinging and screaming constantly. By allowing ourselves to release certain emotions and learning how to control them we can slowly learn to live in peace with our monkey brain which in turn will let you live a much happier life. It will also allow you to focus on the present moment, help you be more focused and in general will increase your sense of well-being.

“Remember: you can’t use your Chimp as an excuse. If you had a dog and it bit someone, you couldn’t just say, ‘Sorry but it was the dog, not me.’ You are responsible for the dog and its actions. Likewise, you are totally responsible for your Chimp and its actions. So no excuses!”

― Steve Peters, The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness

Love & light,

Mags x


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