Well that was a leading question wasn’t it. What did you answer in your head when you read it? We are ever rarely at our best, We have aims, we have dreams and we strive to accomplish them but do we ever give it our best?
Sadly we live in a time that we all dream but we don’t do what’s needed to reach them. We have great intentions, we even plan (a bit) but after a short while, when things are not quite working out…We give up.
Life gets in the way and our motivation dwindles and then we just sit back and do what we were doing before. Don’t worry it’s not just you. it’s a very big percentage of the population. Just to clarify that. Hands up if you have an exercise bike in your bedroom or spare room which is now a clothes hanger. or who joined a gym, went a few times then well just lost the motivation. Yep we have all done it, but why? Why do we lose the motivation, the drive, the ambition. I will tell you. We listen to that inner critic, that little voice inside our head that tells us we are not good enough or that we can’t do something. Some call it that jabbering monkey mind.
So what is it? According to Buddhist principles, the “monkey mind” is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused. Writer and Buddhist Natalie Goldberg, who teaches many writing workshops, suggests that the monkey mind is the inner critic. It’s the part of your brain most connected to the ego, which contends that you can’t do anything right. It’s also the part of you that stifles creativity and prevents you from moving forward with your passions. The monkey mind insists on being heard, and sometimes it takes a lot of self-control
to shut it down. It is also the part of your brain that becomes easily distracted, so if you want to get anything done in life, your challenge will be to shut down the monkey mind.
So can we calm it down or even shut it down. Well yes we can. As a hypnotherapist I do get a lot of clients come to me to say they don’t feel good enough, or they self criticise, and they can’t accept praise. This is all common of our friend monkey brain doing what he does best. putting that person down.
Now that voice may have started out as a parent, a friend or a teacher who put you down in some way, made you feel that you couldn’t achieve and then over the years that voice become your voice. suddenly it wasn’t your parent or your so called friend or a teacher putting you down it was you. You’ve heard the saying you are your own worst enemy.
Taming your monkey mind will do all of the following for you:
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.
The first step in your quest to calm your monkey mind is to know that it’s possible to do so. It’s very likely that up until this point you’ve allowed your monkey mind to run wild. But now you’re going to put an end to that. After all, your thoughts don’t rule you. You rule your thoughts.
Talk to Your Monkey Mind. When your monkey mind is in full swing, calm it down by having a conversation with it. Stop for a moment and listen to what your monkey mind is saying. Why is it upset? What’s all the shouting about? Then, do the following:
- Is your monkey mind trying to remind you of something that needs to be done? If it is Make a note of it and schedule the item so that your monkey mind doesn’t need to worry about it any longer.
- Is your monkey mind anxious about something in the future? Reassure your monkey mind that everything is going to be fine. Conduct a worst-case scenario with your monkey mind, and come up with a contingency plan.
- Is your monkey mind voicing resentment over something that happened in the past? Realize that you need to create an action plan for dealing with your past so that your monkey mind stops bringing it up.
Sometimes your monkey mind just needs to be heard. Once it feels that it’s been allowed to voice its grievances and concerns, it will settle down.
Play a Game of Fives. The moment in which you hear the first monkey howling in your mind, you’ll know that it’s very likely that your mind has wandered off and that it’s no longer in the present moment. You can get the tribe of monkeys in your mind to quiet down by bringing your mind back to the present.
One way to bring your mind back to the present is by playing the Game of Fives. Pause your train of thought and notice five things in your environment. It can be five things you see, hear, or smell. Then, fully experience the sight, sound, or smell. You can do this by pretending that it’s the first time you’ve ever experienced that sight, sound, or smell, and by adopting a sense of awe.
The moment in which you do this all of your attention will be placed on the present moment, and your monkey mind will be silenced.
Engage Your Mind. I’m sure that you’ve experienced moments when your mind was completely still. Perhaps you were so involved in a book, or in a movie, or in your writing, that the monkey mind went silent. You just experienced directly what was going on, without your mind chatter giving you a running commentary of events, as they occurred.
This is because one way to silence your monkey mind is by engaging your mind. The next time your monkey mind is driving you nuts, look for an activity that draws you in completely, so that all of your attention is placed on what you’re doing, and there’s no attention left over to listen to the monkey mind.
As was stated in this blog, taming your monkey mind has many benefits. Although calming your mind will take some practice, it can be done. The strategies and techniques explained above are a great place to start. Live your best life by taming your monkey mind.
If you need help come and see me or drop me a message.
Hypnotherapy is a great way to silence that inner critic.
Until next time