Guest Post by Wendy Foster
Did you know you have a monkey mind? We all do. And, if you think you don’t have a monkey mind … that little voice that is telling you that IS the Monkey Mind!
Zen buddhists believe the human mind is filled with “drunken monkeys” flinging themselves from branch to branch, jumping, screaming, chattering non-stop, and causing all kinds of confusion, fear, and havoc in our lives.
Sometimes the monkey mind can be fairly quiet and unassuming, often just whispering suggestions in your ear. Other times, it can be totally distracting, knocking you off course, and clouding your sense of reality.With all this chattering of the monkey mind, it’s nearly impossible to slow down and enjoy the present. Frustration, overwhelm, confusion, sadness, and anxiety can easily set in. You can falter at work, lose sleep, and suffer ill health. It affects your ability to concentrate, has a negative impact on your behavior, and interferes with your ability to interact well with others. It is very stressful.
There are 5 simple steps you can use to manage the monkey mind and gain clarity, presence, peace, and joy.
1. Become an Observer.
Watch your actions, words, and tone, without judgement, and notice how you react to any situation, good or bad. Were you consciously doing so or was monkey mind in control?
2. Know that you are in control of your thoughts. They are not in control of you.
You can’t control monkey mind by fighting with it, ignoring it, or yelling back. The only way to tame it is to talk to it.
3. Talk to your Monkey Mind. (Get out of your own damned way and just do it!)
Listen to it. Have a conversation with it. Be curious and question why it’s making such noise. Is it trying to remind you of something? Is it anxious about something in the future? Is it resentful over something from the past? Once it’s heard, it will settle down.
4. Engage your mind.
Meditate. Train your mind to become still and take back the power and control over your thoughts.
Find other activities that engage your mind (journaling, writing, reading, watching a movie, gardening, etc.)
5. Focused Breathing.
When you focus on your breathing, you occupy your mind and leave little room for monkey mind to interfere.
Focused breathing can be done anywhere at any time. To keep it simple … just stop, sit or stand in a comfortable relaxed position, and take a long, deep breath – in through your nose. Then exhale slowly through your mouth while releasing a gentle sigh. Focus all the while on your breath as you breathe in and out. Repeat until you feel calm.
Become an observer of your life.
Step outside of your thoughts and emotions and see with “fresh new eyes”. Challenge what is “real” and what is “imagined.”
Practice Gratitude. Continuously take moments to notice and acknowledge all the great things in your life – from the miracles of your body, breathing, heart beating to the simplicity and magic of nature, to the relationships and connection to all in the universe.
Be Kind to Yourself. Sometimes you’ll master the monkey mind and sometimes you won’t. When you don’t, be compassionate, breathe, and stay curious. These are learning experiences and opportunities for growth. Repeat the 5 steps and take back control. Embrace your Monkey Mind and live the life you truly want to live.
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Wendy Foster has over 30 years of experience, education, and training in various fields. She is an Empowerment Coach, Motivational Speaker, Trainer, Entrepreneur, and Author. She is also the creator of The G.E.M. Project (Giving Empowering Moments), a global movement for expressing gratitude, acknowledgement, giving/receiving, and paying it forward. Wendy has a dynamic personality, high voltage energy, and extreme passion for teaching others. Wendy is a mirror for others to see and embrace their own greatness and she is the catalyst for leaping out of comfort zones, busting through hidden blocks, and creating big, bold, delicious lives both personally and professionally. firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to Wendy’s Get Out of Your Own Damn Way podcast interview HERE.