Give the Monkey Mind a Banana!
You’ve heard about the “monkey mind,” right? It’s what we call a mind that is "unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.” (Wikipedia)
The monkey mind is the nonstop chatterbox that starts up the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the moment we close them at night, and sometimes it fires up, most unwelcome, in the dark hours of the night.
It is easily distracted but remarkably persistent when something is bothering it, like a monkey that sees a tiger lurking in the tall grass. It is NOT going to stop shrieking until the tiger is gone. The problem is, though, that some tigers are real and some are purely imaginary. So the monkey may well be shrieking and ranting about nothing!
The worst “mind monkey” is fear. Fear is the howler monkey: loud and persistent. The howler monkey is the loudest land animal and fear is the loudest emotion.
You can’t fight the monkey mind. It’s like yelling at monkeys to go away. You know what it’s like when you try not to think about your problems…
But you can give the monkey mind a banana and soothe it. I want to share some tips with you that work - and you can do these anywhere, anytime you want your monkey mind to chill.
1. Quiet your mind instantly with this simple trick: inhale loudly through your nose - literally drown out the mental noise - and then relax yourself physiologically through a looooong slow and very deep exhale through the mouth. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until you feel calmer. This is a quick chillout tip you can use anytime. Deep breathing will relax you, and audible breathing through the nose/out through the mouth will help calm the monkey mind.
Phew! Now that the monkey is happily munching on its banana, you can start to tame it and train it to focus on what can go right, instead of what can go wrong.
2. Sometimes, you have to cuddle the Fear Monkey. Just giving him that name makes him cuter and fuzzier, doesn’t it? Gently soothe the monkey with one of my all-time favorite self-soothing tips: “I will figure it out.” I repeat this mantra, sometimes a lot, whenever I’m overwhelmed or scared. I’ve learned to trust this mantra because it works. I always figure it out... or the situation resolves itself.
Your mind is going to chatter anyway, but you can train it to be more positive. Chances are your mind is already trained to be scared or grumpy but you can train it to be happier. You can use MindPT to practice training your mind to think more positively so your mental chatter inspires you instead of making you want to hide. 10 minutes a day of MindPT will quickly give you lots of bananas to quiet the monkey mind!
How does this work? One reason is that MindPT activates the Galatea Effect - a type of self-fulfilling prophecy based on inner belief of self-worth, abilities and potential. When you tell yourself, “I will figure it out,” you acknowledge that you’re smart, resilient, creative, adaptable, clever and tough enough to come up with a solution that you don’t see right now. What a great confidence boost!
The Galatea Effect is just one of the many ways that MindPT helps you quiet the monkey mind and develop the mindset of success… a preference for happiness… and a graceful resilience under pressure.