Do you ever find yourself trying to read a book and realize that your mind is some place else? Maybe you have to reread the same page or paragraph a couple of times to understand what you read. Or maybe you are laying in bed at night trying to fall asleep or have woken up and your mind is just jumping from topic to topic about things that you need to do or about things that happened during your day? If so, you can thank the little monkey in your mind.
That’s right. That distraction and background noise is from what is referred to as your “monkey mind.” That part of your mind is what makes you feel restless and unable to concentrate at times. It’s a little part of you that will continue to distract and keep you focused on it until you can find a way to settle it.
That “monkey” is also the part of your mind that may prevent you from doing certain things. Maybe you want to apply for a particular job but then start to question whether you really have the skills for it. Then the doubt kicks in and you end up not applying. Thank the monkey for that. He will do everything he can to be heard and unfortunately, you will listen. There are many ways to help calm the chattering monkey and no, feeding it a banana is not one of them.
Let’s start with meditation. Meditation is a way to calm your mind and ground yourself. It helps you to be in the present moment and focus on just that. You don’t have to spend hours meditating just minutes will do.
There is a great app for meditation for both experienced and beginners. It’s called Headspace. Headspace has both guided and unguided meditation. If you’ve never meditated before, start with the guided series. You will follow an instructor who will “guide” you on your breathing and what you should be focusing on. They will help you redirect your mind as it wanders, and it will, but that’s okay. Meditation takes practice.
Another way to calm the mind is to just talk to the monkey. Sounds funny, I know, but it helps. Remember that the monkey wants to be heard and he will continue chattering in the background until you focus on him. So, instead, address him. Talk to him. Ask questions. If he’s chattering about all the things you need to do, then make a list. Write them down.
Write in a journal every day. I personally have found this to be very helpful. Taking 15-20 minutes a day to just write down all of your thoughts or concerns. This can be done first thing in the morning or at the ending of your day. If feels good to just purge your mind and there’s just something about visually seeing your thoughts on paper that helps.
Will the monkey continue to chatter even after you have tried all of the ideas above? Of course, but you now have some tools in your arsenal to push back. If all else fails, make friends with the monkey. Don’t be afraid of him. Confront him and maybe offering him a banana will work after all. 😉