How to Control our Mind and Stop Mental Chatter
The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence is the mind. - Caroline Myss
It is the incessant chatter that keeps playing in the background right from the time we wake up, or even before that, until we hit the bed at night. It does not allow us to enjoy the present; it makes us unhappy, angry, restless and anxious, and hampers our ability to concentrate as well. Yoga highlights the need to quieten this monkey mind of ours and offers various techniques and remedies to regulate our thoughts.
So, controlling the mind is the central problem. The human mind has a lot of capacity to concentrate, but the more intelligent the mind is, the more it remains distracted. Therefore, the mind requires training throughout the day with utmost discipline. There is nothing wrong in thinking, but we have to direct our thinking. It is about thinking of controlling this mind and governing the thoughts.
10 ways to control Mental Chatter:
· Become conscious of the mental noise. Many of us are not even aware that our mind is constantly thinking.
· Pause and arrest the thoughts. Believe that we are in charge of our mind and our mind is not in charge of us.
· Filter thoughts like a gatekeeper. Allow only those in that need to be attended in the present.
· Engage the mind and get involved in an activity that holds our attention completely. This will divert all our energy on what we are doing and leave no space to entertain the monkey mind.
· Be present, live in the moment, in the ‘now’! All we have is ‘now,’ so enjoy each and every moment.
· Doing practices like Trataka, gazing at one fixed point, also helps to take care of the mind in spite of all the activities going on around us.
· Regular practices of Asanas, along with becoming aware of breathing, will train the thoughts to remain centred.
· Pranayama helps too, as thinking and breathing are interrelated. By practicing Pranayama, the respiratory rate decreases, and so does the frequency of thoughts.
· Knowing and abiding by the simple yet profound principles (Yamas and Niyamas) of yoga can also help to cure mental diarrhoea.
Let us consider it in this way:
When you think of the sun, your first thought might be about the damage it can do. Too much can cause several kinds of serious health issues. But the small amounts, especially early in the day before it is at its brightest, can be good for you in some ways.
Zen Buddhists refer to the constant chatter of the mind as monkey mind.
The Buddha held that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys flinging themselves from tree branches, jumping around, and chattering nonstop. He meant that our minds are in constant motion. Typical mind chatter sounds like the following:
· Your mind reading off a laundry list of to-do items.
· Your mind listing its fears, both real and imaginary.
· Your mind recalling hurtful things that have happened in the past.
· Your mind judging the present.
· Your mind creating catastrophic “what-if” scenarios of the future.
As a result of this monkey mind, it is nearly impossible to slow down and enjoy the present. In addition, all that negativity affects our mood making us unhappy, angry, restless, and anxious; it hampers our ability to concentrate; it has a negative impact on our behaviour; and it interferes with our ability to have positive interactions with others. It is also very stressful to have a barrel of monkeys screeching in our head all day long. The good news is that there are ways to get the monkey mind to calm down.
Taming your monkey mind will do all of the following for you:
· It will give you clarity of mind.
· It will allow you to focus on the present and on the task at hand.
· It will improve the quality of your sleep.
· It will increase your sense of calm and of well-being.
· It will make you happier.
The act of breathing deeply centering the attention on one spot, and then automatically moving the attention to another spot will help you to calm your restless mind.
Using these Mindful Mind Hacks to quiet your mind and get it to focus on achieving what you want out of life.
This is a concept in Eastern philosophy. Meditation teachers coined the term “monkey mind” because before the mind is trained in meditation our attention wanders and our internal dialogue chitters like an excitable monkey. It is said this is our natural state.
The goal in meditation is to enable us to be quietly mindful of everything: The relationship of our body to the ground, the sounds we can hear, the feeling of our clothes against our skin, the movement of our breath in its rhythm, all the way down to the thoughts we are having moment to moment, then simply acknowledging the sensation or the thought and letting it pass mindfully.
The concept of monkey mind is the constant internal dialogue or chatter that we must slow down and examine in order to connect with ourselves.
What are the Tips to Silence It?
If you think that your thoughts are causing you problems, there may be a few ways to diminish the noise and feel a little more peace and quiet on a daily basis.
Some of these may include:
Exercise - Exercise allows you to focus your mind and energy somewhere else. Instead of allowing your thoughts to wreak havoc, you can pour all of your thoughts into your routine. At first, it will be difficult to switch gears. But as you continue to work out, your stressful thoughts will melt away and you will be left with a clear mind and fit body.
Meditation - This is the king of understanding your own thoughts. You will need a quiet space and just a little time alone … that is it! Sit quietly, listen to your mind as an observer, and let your thoughts roll through. Do no grab them and obsess over them. Just let them float from one side to the other until they leave. It takes a lot of practice, but most people who practice meditation find their thoughts calm down significantly and their life becomes more peaceful than ever.
Deep breathing - Deep breathing allows you to calm your thoughts in any moment. Do not have time to meditate? Cannot sneak away for some exercise? Just relax and take some very deep, slow breaths. As you breathe out, let the obsessive thoughts go with your breath. This is a technique that calms you down in a pinch when the chaos of your mind begins to spin out of control.
Thoughts are quite healthy and normal. But chaos in the mind? No one wants or needs that in their life. Use these tips to quiet the noise and beat the anxiety that comes with it. With some practice and self-care, you can find a little peace and calm to make everyday life better than ever.
“Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others will be possible.”– Thich Nhat Hanh
What is the mental noise?
It is the constant chatter of the mind that never stops.
It is the tendency of the mind to think nonstop.
It is the inner conversation or inner monologue that goes on constantly in the mind.
It is a sort of inner voice that constantly analyses everything about your life, circumstances, and the people you meet.
It is a voice in the head that just keeps talking and talking!
This inner chatter goes on and on in everyone’s mind. You might always be aware of it of this mental noise, because it has become a deeply embedded habit, and is considered as a natural and inseparable part of life.
This mental noise is like a background noise that never ceases, from the moment of waking up in the morning, to the moment of falling asleep at night. Often, it even prevents you from falling asleep.
When do you become more aware of the mental noise and find it disturbing?
When you need to focus your mind on a certain activity, such as studying, reading, solving problems or anything else. At this time, you become more aware of the buzz and constant flow of irrelevant, and often useless or distracting thoughts. This is the mental noise.
One of the characteristics of the mind is the habit of repeating the same thoughts over and over again, as in a loop, like a video or audio that got stuck.
If these are positive thoughts that is fine. However, too often, these are negative thoughts that intensify stress, worry, anger or frustration. These are thoughts that you absolutely do not need.
Calm Down the Nonstop Chatter of Your Mind
• Is your mind always restless? • Do thoughts about unimportant matters constantly occupy your mind?
Learn how to stop the constant chatter of your mind, free yourself from non-stop thinking, and enjoy tranquillity!
Do not misunderstand me. Thinking is a useful and important activity required for solving problems, analysing, comparing, studying, planning, etc. However, too often, the mind cannot be focused and it roams where it wills, occupying one’s attention with trivial matters and unimportant, useless thinking that wastes time and energy.
Perhaps your mind chatter is about grievances that occurred a long time ago. Give yourself permission to let go of past hurts. You have a choice to forgive and move on, or dwell in the past.
The Final Word on Quieting Your Mental Chatter
First, mental chatter means you have a normal brain. Your brain, like every other human brain, makes noise, never stopping for long. The thing to remember is to not let the chatter take over your life.
Second, remember, much, if not most of your mental chatter is nothing but random noise. The best thing you can do is to recognize it for what it is and let it go. This will let you get on with your life.
Finally, use the Mindful Mind Hacks you found in this article to help quiet your mental chatter.
“When the restless activity of your mind slows down, when your thoughts stop rushing like waves on a windy day, then you will start getting glimpses of the sweet taste of inner peace.”– Remez Sasson
Author: Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, "It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday." Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India. Trishna is an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a one on one basis in Mumbai. Trishna fancies the art of creative writing and is dappling her hands in that too, to soak in the experience and have an engagement with readers, wanderers and thinkers.