Eliminate the Monkey Chatter in Your Head

monkey chatter

Eliminate The Monkey-Chatter in Your Head

There are only 79 days left in this year. Have you reached your goals? Are you any closer to writing that book, losing a hundred pounds, finding the love of your life or getting that promotion at work?  When you think about what you did not accomplish what do you say to yourself?  Who would buy your book anyway? I have lived alone so long I would not want to compromise. Why try I will never have a perfect body. I would have to go back to school for that job and I can’t afford it. “

 

We all have negative voices in our head.  For some they are subtle, passive, and even deceive us into thinking they are there to protect us and keep us safe.  For others, they are much more aggressive, and downright mean.  Sometimes we are aware of their words and influence of the monkey chatter.  Most other times we are oblivious to their destructive messages , and they impact our beliefs, sense of self, motivation, and happiness.

 

One of the best ways to become savvy to the negative inner voices in your head is to practice mindfulness: to notice what you notice.  To be more mindful means to be more aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment.

The problem with not being mindful of our thoughts is that we treat our thoughts as facts. We just simply accept whatever comes into our mind as truth without giving it a second thought. And we have these thoughts so often that we believe them as fact. But really a thought is not a fact.  A thought is just a thought. And when they are destructive (which they mostly are), they have very negative ramifications.

You may have the thought “I am no good at this,” or “I’m fat,” or “I’m not smart enough,” or “Nobody understands me,” or even “I don’t deserve love” Does thinking it make it so?  Once or twice, probably not. But if we think it enough, our mind will accept it as truth. It will affect your ability to take consistent actions toward your goals. It will keep us stuck in the status qua.

Changing our thought begins with noticing what you notice. Being simply present and aware. To improve your mindfulness, try this activity.

Activity: Notice What Your Noticing

Start this activity with mindfulness of your breath.  Focus specifically on your breath –slowly in and out. Pay attention to how it feels as you inhale through nose. Does it tickle? Is it cool or warm?  Speak the words in your mind. “I breathe in deeply, filling my lungs, and then exhale slowly, emptying my lungs.” Do this three times.

Then as you continue to breathe, allow yourself to notice any thoughts that come into your head. Pay attention to these thoughts without judgment. Thoughts are just thoughts – it’s whatever is going on in your mind at this particular moment.

It may sound like this:

“This is different – O.K. I’m going to do this.  I can hear the ambulance going by. There is spider crawling down the wall.  Breathing in, exhaling out.  Ouch, my neck hurts.  I should just get back to work.  There’s me thinking about work again. This is stupid. Give yourself a break for a minute.”

Then it may go to something like “I’m sitting here thinking of my thoughts…  O.K.  It’s a beautiful day.  My stomach is hungry.  I have to grocery shopping. How am I going to get the kids to the dentist and back to work on time? Hmmm, I can’t do this very well.”

These are all valid, normal thoughts. And very often they are all over the place like the example you just read.  Allow yourself time to think about your thoughts. Don’t rush, don’t judge, and don’t stop.  Find curiosity, interest and even humor in your thoughts.

Imagine yourself lying on the grass watching your thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Notice each passing thought and then the one that comes after it, and then the one that comes after that. You may notice that just at the moment you become aware of a thought, it passes and is replaced by another thought. That’s what happens – thoughts come, and they go.

Finally, to end this exercise bring yourself back to the awareness of your breath.

The value in this exercise is to realize first how little attention we pay to our thoughts, yet how extremely powerful they are.  Learning to notice what we notice can lead us to better control our thoughts and ultimately serve us better.

Please share how you eliminate the monkey chatter?

Dream Big, Live on Purpose, Be Unstoppable

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