Ever since my teenage years, I’ve lived with anxiety.
Part of that deal is a typical “monkey mind”: racing thoughts – especially at night – on what can (read: probably will) go wrong, and what I need to do to fix it.
When I was younger, I tried to calm my monkey mind by telling it to be quiet! For obvious reasons, this forced regime didn’t work (try not to think of a pink elephant!)
Instead, it only turned up the volume of the chatter and added an extra layer of stress and frustration: the failing strategy meant that I had yet another thing to worry about!
I would be lying if I told you that I’m no longer the sometimes frustrated and sleep deprived owner of a monkey mind. It still happens and it can still keep me awake for quite some time.
But I can tell you that I have learnt how to deal with it without going nuts or making it worse – and that definitely counts for something!
If you ever experience a monkey mind, here’s what you can do:
🐵 Don’t try to force anything. Just observe. Notice what’s going on. Turn yourself into a spectator that tells the story of what it sees happening:
“Right now, I have this thought that is telling me that I’ll never land that client tomorrow. How interesting – I wonder what my mind will come up with next!”
🐵 For every new thought that comes up, just stay in that observing state. Don’t judge or try to quiet your mind. Just notice what’s going on.
🐵 When you stay in that observing state, the energy will subside, and so will the negativity and the chatter.
🐵 If you don’t feel that happening right away, don’t worry. It may take time, it will take practice and it won’t always be perfect. That’s OK too.
Your thoughts are just thoughts. They are not the truth. They are simply your brain trying to keep you safe. It’s a misguided but well-meant habit that has kept you safe for a long time. Recognize that fact so that you can be kind to your monkey mind. Because once you are, you can be kind to yourself too! 💜
PS. If you find yourself stuck, getting external support can be helpful. As your business coach, I am your strategic sounding board that helps you: get out of a loop, clarify the path forward, and replace that chatter with focused action. Book your free clarity call with me here.