How to train the monkey mind

The biggest downfall to growth, finding resilience and getting through change, is when we fall prey to and allow the monkey mind to take over. When we become stuck in this mindset, we doubt ourselves, we fire a stress response and we think of worst case scenario’s. From that moment on we will look for safer ways to get right back into our comfort zone. Sound familiar?

The monkey mind can be explained as a deviation. When we shift out of the present moment into the past, where we might reflect on what we could have done, maybe grieving, longing or over thinking past scenario’s. Or we can deviate our focus into the future instead, where we typically over think to ‘make sure’ we are ok, we can over plan and forget to enjoy the moment and now.

When you are entertaining the monkey mind, focused on the past or the future, you are typically stressed. From this place your body can be perceiving threat and will divert to powerful subconscious programs that we learned from the past. We are not typically expressing our best selves feeling like this as we go into old patterns that may be fear based.

When you are in the moment and present, it is great feeling. That is why Bruce Lipton calls this ‘the honeymoon effect. Remember how it feels when you are in the moment, falling in love is a great metaphor, as the other person is typically also expressing their best self, in the moment. There is so much magic about this state. It is also a state where your brain can create something new, a new habit, response and eventually a new pattern. When you can change your mind about old thoughts and ideas, you shift into possibility. Because what you are focused on is connected to what you will notice in your environment, thanks to our Reticular Activation System, you will be able to see your life through new eyes.

As opposed to being in autopilot, where we live when we are stressed. We lack in energy and feel just ‘beige’ about everything but cannot explain why. Your soul will scream at you wen you are living in this state and eventually thanks to the brilliant design of the body, a physical symptom may present to get your attention. Have you ever driven home and as soon as you arrived, you realise that you cannot remember any streets you turned into or how you actually got there? That is an example of an autopilot state. Another example is when you are stressed, perhaps taking it out on someone close to you. You can hear and observe yourself expressing bad behaviour, but it almost feels out of your control. But it is not, there is always a choice to reassess and alter your response. How amazing is the subconscious brain and its ability to keep us functioning, even when we shift out of conscious awareness?

We must leverage this power part of the brain to change what we believe and what is possible.

To keep the body in balance your body is perceiving its environment not only externally, but internally too. We forget that our inner mind, our thoughts and emotions are also an environment our brain will get feedback from too.

How you are thinking and feeling will determine:

  • How happy and healthy you are

  • Your behaviour and actions

  • How kind you are to yourself and those around you

  • How big you will play in the world

  • Your ability to change and problem solve

  • Your ability to be innovative

  • Your ability to build resilience

How do I train the monkey mind?

  1. Catch yourself when you divert to thinking of the past or future and bring yourself back into the present moment. I like to use a Bend Like Bamboo wristband that I give my clients to help them to remember this.

  2. Meditate daily to exercise your Qi building the muscle of being in the now.

  3. Journalling morning and night helps you process difficult emotions, enabling you to reassess your reactions and if your current ‘story’ is real or old. Feeling and thinking negatively can be often be an old habit, so giving yourself morning and evening ‘check in’ rituals allows you to change your mind to rewire your brain promoting repair and positivity. You want to get into the habit of focusing on the positive and what you want, rather than what you fear or what you don’t want.

  4. Remember that we live in a world of polarity and the comparisons we are faced with allows us to give birth to new ideas, a better way, evolving into our greatest potential.

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