Does that monkey in your mind run
away with your thoughts?
You’re not alone! We all have that
‘mindless monkey business’ going on
in our heads. If you feed it, it will stick
around; if you take the approach
shared in this article, that monkey will pack its bags and go.
If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably noticed that as you
go through life, your mind often engages in a continual stream
of internal chatter, known as self-talk. It’s like having an internal
narrator commenting on all your thoughts. There’s nothing
inherently wrong with this, especially when your self-talk is
positive and supportive. Other times though, like when you’re
under stress, your self-talk just adds fuel to the fire.
Have you ever talked to yourself and made yourself feel worse
than you were already feeling?
Do runaway thoughts keep you awake at night?
This is the type of self-talk you probably want to eliminate.
The interesting thing about unwanted self talk is that the more
you don’t want it, the more you have it. Resisting self talk,
causes it to persist. So in general, a useful way to eliminate
unwanted self talk is to stop feeding it with your attention. Your
attention is food for your self talk. A parasite needs the optimal
conditions for it to exist. Similarly, thoughts and self talk require
nourishment in the form of your attention for them to reside in
your consciousness. Removing your attention causes negative
thoughts and self talk to vacate.
Our approach is not to try block thoughts or distract ourselves
from having them, but rather to change the way in which
we are aware of them. Instead of focussing our attention on
the content of our thoughts and creating stories out of them
or criticising ourselves for having such thoughts, we shift our
perceptual frame of reference through opening the aperture
of our awareness. This results in the unwanted thoughts or self
talk loosing energy and thereby disappearing.
Victor Frankl said: “Between stimulus and response, there is a
space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose
our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
The skill of Peripheral Awareness facilitates an opening of our
perceptual frame of reference and creates ‘space’ around the
thoughts. The spacial awareness that this skill cultivates creates
distance between the thinker and the thoughts, thereby
enabling one to identify less with the thoughts, which in turn
helps one to not be affected by one’s thoughts or self talk. With
practice, the space becomes progressively more easy to tune
into and the thought stream tuned out of. With relative ease
one can achieve the ability to drop into that serene space at
the mere intention to do so. This is a welcomed ability in stressful
Peripheral Awareness does not obliterate thoughts or emotions,
it enables us to be less identified with them so that we can learn
from situations, understand ourselves better and respond from
a broader perspective. From this space we are less controlled
by thoughts and emotions, more able to think creatively and
resourcefully or transcend our thoughts completely for the
purpose of meditation.
Don’t let that monkey get away with your mind anymore!
On the following URL is a free training video where NLP Trainer
& Coach Jevon Dangeli teaches the life enhancing skill of
Peripheral Awareness –
Jevon provides NLP and Authentic Self Empowerment training
in Cape Town, Johannesburg and via distance learning. His
How To Overcome Monkey Mind Syndrome by Jevon Dängeli
Does that monkey in your mind run