If you’ve studied meditation at all, I am sure you’ve heard the term “monkey mind” which refers to the near constant state of the mind to jump from one idea to the next, to the next, to the next in a restless, insatiable sort of way. One goal during meditation is to gain control of the monkey mind. Personally, I would LOVE it if there was only one monkey jumping around in my mind. For me it’s more of a troop of hundreds of monkeys – a really loud, agitated, screaming troop – all of whom want me to focus my singular attention on them.
We’ve all had those times in our lives when the noise in our head is so loud, so all-encompassing, so disorienting that we literally can’t do anything but shut down. Because my brain seems to be always set at eleven this happens to me at least 3-4 times a day. (You should see what happens when I’m actually stressed.) There are moments when the sound inside my own head is so loud, I am almost blinded from too much internal stimuli. I literally can’t figure out what I am supposed to do or where I am supposed to be and I can’t make even the simplest of decisions.
Thankfully, I have figured out a way to silence the monkeys. I visualize it as handing each monkey a banana or draping a blanket over their heads which immediately causes them to sit quietly. It takes a while to get to all of the monkeys- they sit on lots of tree branches and sometimes jump away just as I inch my way out to them, but eventually I quiet them all down. Only then can I begin to work with clarity, purpose and calm.
So, in no particular order, here are the many things I’ve discovered to calm the troops:
- Write down everything that’s bouncing around in my head
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle
- Play my guitar
- Take a walk with my earphones on and the music up loud
- Watch the birds on my feeders
- Stroll through IKEA without buying anything
- Browse through a bookstore
- Sit on my back steps and study my field for animals, birds, etc.
- Take a long drive with my music playing
- Sing at the top of my lungs
- Stand on the deck in the dark, breathing deeply with my arms outstretched while looking at the stars
- Tackle an organizational project
- De-clutter something
- Work on a crossword puzzle or sudoku
- Pat my dogs
- Follow a yoga video
- Ice Skate
- Sit by the water (bonus points if I can get out on a boat)
- Make something crafty
- Fold laundry
- Wander through an antique shop
How about you? Add to the list in the comments below.
Regina Verow is a life coach and workshop presenter who believes we can change the world one tiny creative step at a time. For questions about coaching or to receive a free, no obligation coaching session, email her at Regina@ReginaVerow.com.