Got Monkey Brain? Learn how to Take Control!

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Techniques to Tame Your Monkey Mind

The most powerful part of you is your mind. Your thoughts, negative or positive, will influence the way you live your life. In this blog, you’ll learn that when thoughts are swayed negatively it may cause high-stress levels which are detrimental to your health. However, sometimes it’s hard to control racing thoughts, known as monkey brain.

What is monkey mind syndrome?

Natalie Goldberg, Buddist and Award-winning Writer, suggests that the inner – unsettled, restless, or confused – “monkey mind” is the inner critic keeping you from your goals. It’s the ‘self-talk’ of the conscious mind providing a running monolog of your everyday life. Think of it as a big mixture of conscious thoughts and unconscious beliefs your brain uses to interpret and process daily activities. This talk can either be negative or positive. 

When self-talk is cheerful and supportive, it can be beneficial as it boosts confidence and mood. Negativity can be self-destructive and defeating. Unfortunately, humans are more prone to negative self-talk, including assertions like “I can’t do anything right” or “I’m a waste of space” when stressed. A negative thought can leave you feeling stressed and creating more cortisol (which makes things worse in abundance). What a vicious circle!

It takes a lot of control to shut-down a monkey mind because it’s the part of the brain connected to the ego. Monkey’s mind keeps you distracted and paused in your tracks from moving forward. The constant monkey business makes it impossible for us to slow down and enjoy the present moment. The commotion creates our unhappy, angry, and negative moods, which hampers our ability to connect on present times. You might even stop having positive interactions with your peers. Good news! There are ways to calm the barrel full of monkeys swinging around in your lovely head.

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go. If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside of you. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” – Natalie Goldberg

Tamed monkeys are not impossible, but understanding is the first step

Do not be afraid. Taming the monkey mind is not impossible, but understanding this concept is essential. Start by understanding that your thoughts do not need to rule you and your life. Zen Buddist reminds us that the constant chatter – flying and flinging drunken monkeys in mind – can only be shut off by controlling your account better once you are mindful.

Monkeys in the Mind need a reminder to stop swinging

Choose to have an (awkward) conversation with yourself to calm down a monkey that is in full swing. Understand why you are having such a hard time listening to the thoughts. You might try to journal or speak to a guidance counselor about recurring feelings. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you feeling this way? Try Gabrielle Stone’s “Thought Onion” method to peel back emotions and get to the core of your thoughts, sometimes even Monkey Mind. It’s a tool to help heal your life!
  • What is your mind trying to remind you of? Dreams (even daydreams) have a way of telling you, “Hey, let’s get with the program!”
  • Are you anxious about something in the past or future?
  • How can you address past feelings? You can create an action plan for dealing with self-resentment by speaking to an Integrative Health Counselor.

Practice Piko-Piko for Happiness Breath

Allow YouTube influencers to teach you about the practice that connects us to embodying, feeling, and expressing happiness somatically (physically) known as Piko-Piko. As an effective breathwork practice, you will open your mind, body, and heart in powerful ways. Attempt this method for about 1-3 minutes a day for an effective monkey-mind remover. 

Let go of the branch and grab a pen

Journal practice is another outlet. That little monkey in your mind just might need to be heard. Once you allow yourself to voice your concerns, it might settle down when used deliberately. Set a sturdy time – perhaps 15 to 20 minutes – aside to address what’s going on in your noggin.

When you’re journaling, try to ‘brain vomit’ everything that comes to mind. It’s helpful to pay attention to anything that comes to mind repeatedly. When the timer beeps, tell that monkey to swing on someone else’s branch and keep your promise to not address any more worries until the next journaling session.

If your monkey tries to come back, try to say: “The session has ended. You must wait until tomorrow to speak of your worries, and I will listen then.” Soon, you will keep your worries about your monkey appointments. It’s a great way to handle stress when it comes to mind.

Interrupt a noisy monkey with a Mantra

When your monkey keeps ‘oo-ee-oo-ee-ing’ all the negative vibes, stop him/her mid-sentence with a powerful mantra. You will draw attention to a sound or phrase that will create peace within your mind. Recite these mantras allowed for better peace of mind:

  • I am doing my best.
  • It’s okay to have problems; struggling is part of being human.
  • I love and accept myself for the way I am right now.
  • I am enough.
  • I am human and make mistakes.
  • The past is in the past; I cannot change the past and will not choose to live there.
  • I will always strive to be better.

It’s always a good idea to check out Pinterest for more Powerful Self-loving mantras.

‘Grounding’ your Monkeys from Jumping on the Bed

When there’s a whole slew of monkeys playing around in your mind, it’s hard to bring yourself back to the center. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique known as “Grounding” to bring back a wandering account. You can do this by pausing your thought process and taking notice of things in your current environment. Ground yourself by naming the following this aloud:

  • Five things you see around you (example: cat, door, picture, yoga mat, and refrigerator)
  • Four things you touch (example: feel your hat, stomp on the ground, run fingers across the railing and coldness of ice in your drink)
  • Three things you hear (example: cars driving by, fan on the ceiling spinning, and cat licking himself)
  • Two things you can smell (example: corn chowder soup cooking for lunch and a vanilla-scented candle)
  • One thing you can taste (for example coffee in your cup)

Utilize this Technique when you are feeling stress, anxiety, or an abundance of overwhelming emotions. If fear is something that you cannot control, speak to a professional for additional help! There’s no shame in getting the help that you need.

Distract the Monkeys in your Noggin’

Not always in a perfect world, our minds go silent because you choose to engage your account in an activity that draws you in ultimately. For me, it’s reading an engaging book or watching a cooking show. Pay attention to when your mind has cut off the monkeys; you may need to engage in them more often.

Go ‘BANANAS’ for Meditation Motivation

Yoga With Adriene will calm the tribe as she offers meditation for inner peace in this video. It might be the most effective Technique! You can check out her YouTube channel for more yoga practices to regain your thought processes’ power and control. It’s a daily thing in our house to help rid our backs of wild monkey brains!

Self-shaming, negative thoughts cause high-stress levels, which you know are detrimental to our health. As we’ve learned from this article, stress can lead to a weakened immune system resulting in digestive problems, nutritional deficit, heart issues, and blood-sugar irregularities. When your body is stressed, you are more susceptible to getting an infection or becoming ill. Taming your monkey mind takes practice, but with these tips above, you’ll be ready for your own game of barrel full of monkeys! Practice these methods and report back to Wilco Wellness. We want to see how you are doing!