Dealing with Mind Monkeys
What are Mind Monkeys?
The “monkey mind” concept was first taught over 2,000 years ago by the Buddha. He described the human mind as being full of drunken monkeys, constantly screeching, fighting, chattering, distracting, and generally creating mental chaos.
Mind Monkeys are what I call the things that you say to yourself in your head – your self-talk.
Often, self-doubts or low self-esteem can cause us to talk to ourselves in a negative and judgemental way. This, very often, makes us see ourselves in a much worse light than necessary. It’s unlikely we would speak to others the way we speak to ourselves. Negative self-talk fuels self-doubt and leads to a negative mindset.
For example, Louise felt she was disgusting to look at because she had put on some weight and her skin was spotty and red. When asked to write down things that she thought about herself her was her list;
- I am fat
- I am spotty
- Nobody likes me
- I am ugly
- Why would anyone want to be friends with me?
- I am stupid
- Nobody cares
- What is the point
- I am rubbish at everything.
Because Louise was feeling low about the way she looked she then started to question other areas of her life and she ended up think the worse of everything. Louise was in a negative mindset.
What is Mindset?
Your mindset is what you believe about yourself, and you’ve been adding to these beliefs since you were a child. It’s made-up of your experiences and what others have said to you. Our core beliefs are formed when we are children, and they are stored in our unconscious mind.
Once formed, these beliefs become ingrained in us, and we believe them- even if they’re not true.
What we tell ourselves is so powerful. If you think about sports people at the top of their game, they are confident, motivated and they know how good they are. They have to believe in themselves 100%. By telling the world that they are the best, they are telling themselves that they are the best and the more they do this the more they believe it.
How many books have you read by elite athletes who speak about mindset?
If it works for them, it can work for you.
Taking control of your Mind Monkeys.
You are in control of 2 things: your actions and your mindset.
By controlling these you can change your beliefs which then enables you to change your mindset, which will make you happier.
A good place to start is to acknowledge that you have this internal dialogue, and if you are not already listening, start. This is the only way you are going to change your mindset. Then start writing your thoughts down and reading them.
By writing down this chatter, it does 2 things: it removes these thoughts from your mind, and it allows you to see exactly what you are telling yourself.
You need a pen and paper about 15 minutes and somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted.
Close your eyes, breathe deeply, relax and just listen. Allow your thoughts and your chatter to come to the surface, they might come straight away, or you might need to give yourself some time to hear them but, they will come.
Once you become aware of them open your eyes write them down.
You may find that as you are writing more thoughts and chatter will come into your head. Let it flow and write them all down. Most people have between 10 and 20 comments/thoughts when they first start the process.
You will also find that this chatter becomes very loud when you are asked to do something you don’t like, or something that is new or really pushes you out of your comfort zone, write these down straight away if you can.
When you read these thoughts back, some may be positive and these are good, you don’t need to do anything with these. It’s the ones that are not so positive that you need to address.
You need to change any negative statement into a positive statement. For example, ‘I can’t do that’ should be changed to ‘I’m going to try’, or ‘I’m not good enough’ to ‘I am good enough’.
Some statements might need a steppingstone to get you there. For example, ‘I’m good enough he likes me this way’ – your internal chat cannot argue with you as other people do think you’re good enough and other people do like you.
Now you have these statements, allocate a few minutes first thing in the morning or last thing at night and write these positive statements every day for least 30 days, or, even better, say them out loud in the mirror. It takes 30 days of consistent work to change your habit at the conscious level and this is what we’re doing.
Put them on post it notes around your house. Use them as a screensaver or a password. Make them visible so that you read them and repeat them to yourself. It will start to change your mindset and reduce the negative chat in your head thus ensuring you have a positive, or growth mindset, which will enable you to be happier, more motivated, healthier and have more self-esteem. When you have a positive mindset, it is easier to find your sunshine and what makes you happy!
If you need help finding your sunshine and feel Mind Monkeys are holding you back, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org