Are the “monkeys” running wild?

Are the “monkeys” running wild?

“Monkey Mind” is a term used by Buddhists relating to a mind that is restless, unsettled, confused, and indecisive. It happens when we have loads of ideas and thoughts swirling around in our head, often because we are constantly “switched on” and bombarded with so much information that it’s incredibly difficult to quiet our mind or focus.

As a result of these “monkeys” running around in our mind, we may not show up as the best version of ourselves.

  • creativity is stifled
  • we can’t concentrate on activities or tasks
  • worry or rumination can result in a loss of joy
  • relationships can be impacted
  • the quality of our work can be compromised
  • we can become very self critical

The good news is that we can train our mind to shut down the “monkeys” and gain control of our attention and thoughts.

Just like training a muscle, training our mind will also take some self control and practise, but the results are well worth it.

Start by being more mindful. Use your five senses to bring your mind into the present. What can you smell, see, hear, touch, and taste?   If you are one of those people who scoffs down a meal while scrolling through information, you might want to try eating mindfully and see what difference it makes. By engaging all of your senses, and remove devices and distractions, you can really savour a meal and this can calm the mind and bring a sense of satisfaction.  Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!

Make time every day for technology-free time.  Maybe go for a walk (without your phone!) or enjoy time with your family or friends, without the distraction of devices. Be in the moment, relish the conversations, and have some fun.   Setting boundaries helps you focus on the things that are important to you.

Savour the beginning and end of your day.  Connect with yourself and indulge in journalling, reading, listening, meditation, or even enjoy a nice warm beverage and sip it slowly and mindfully.

Find the positive. If your brain is constantly bombarded with information, try taking some time out to notice and appreciate the good things in your day and WHY they were good. Write them down.  Notice how they make you feel.

Learn to focus and hold your attention to something.  Set a timer, block out distractions and interruptions, and really REALLY focus on the task at hand.  Engage and hold your full attention for a period (the Pomodoro technique suggests 25 minutes), then take a break. Repeat as necessary, and you might be surprised at how much more you can get done.  It’s a brilliant way to be productive and avoid procrastination.

 

Don’t forget the fundamentals of self care, such as getting a good sleep, eating well, and getting enough exercise.  These all directly support our mental health and wellbeing.

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Carley Nicholson
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