The average person has about 20,000 thoughts float through their brain throughout the day. If you have an active monkey mind, then that number might top 50,000.
Many of the thoughts that happen in this state of mind are a reflection of anxiety. You begin to review the circumstances that occurred, wondering if you did something wrong.
Did someone misinterpret your comment and now has ill feelings toward you?
Was there a reason why someone else got the promotion instead of you?
The monkey brain can even cause racing thoughts to flood through your head as you try to fall asleep at night. You might begin to compose a list of the things that need to get done the next day, review the worries from previous thoughts, or even start to feel anxious about why you think this way.
If you’re ready to take control of these thoughts, then here are the ways that you can begin to calm down the monkey brain.
#1. Always Remember That You Are The One In Control
It takes about 90 seconds for your brain chemistry to reset after you recognize the monkey mind condition. Be patient with this process. If you begin to feel anxious about it, then you can trigger the neurochemical signals that started the racing thoughts in the first place.
If you experience a rush of thoughts all at once, then mentally tell your brain to stop. Take a few deep breaths to reduce the anxiety or adrenaline that is coursing through your body.
Then give your brain time to reboot. When you stay patient with this process, then it is easier to push some of those anxious thoughts away.
#2. Create A Plan for the “What if” Questions
The monkey brain likes to throw a lot of potential scenarios your way. These are the “what if” questions that people ask themselves in life.
What if you had chosen a different school? Or what if you had answered a question differently during a job interview?
You cannot change the results of previous decisions. They are in your history.
What you can do is prepare for the future encounters that you will have with these moments. Create a plan that says “then.”
“What if I find myself alone because my partner moved away?” Then think of what your next step will be to create peace once again.
“What if I lose my job today?” Then think about how you could take steps to find somewhere new to work.
These plans will take the fire out of the monkey brain because you are creating reasonable solutions for your worries. Give this process enough time, and it will eventually create some peace.
#3. Spend Some Time in Meditation Everyday
One of the easiest ways to begin training the monkey brain to think differently is to spend some time in meditation which we have recommended many times on this website due to its proven benefits.
You don’t need to be perfect. There is an excellent chance that your mind will rebel when you first get started.
It is the effort that is more important than the result. When you practice moving your thoughts from a surge of racing worries to a single focus, then your concentration levels begin to rise.
Your ability to focus increases.
This process makes it possible for you to tell the monkey brain to stop – and it will actually listen!
#4. Observe Your Own Thoughts
It is critical for you to begin living in the moment if you want to tame the monkey brain. For some people, that means an emphasis on mindfulness must become their priority.
Mindfulness is challenging to achieve if you have racing thoughts that spill out everywhere. It may be helpful to observe what your thoughts are before trying to move closer toward living in the moment.
Think about what triggers may exist that lead you to this state. Are there ways you can begin to control the outcomes by resolving the concerns your brain brings up during these moments?
Then try to catalog them into specific folders as you experience them. Place your worried thoughts in one area of the mind, your joyful thoughts in another, and then make sure to reserve a place for those creative ideas that come along too.
When you feel that your mind is becoming organized, then you can begin the shift toward mindfulness.
#5. Start a Journal for those Monkey Brain Thoughts
When you begin to take control of the monkey brain, then it may feel like things start to get worse instead of better during those early moments.
It can be a discouraging moment to feel like your brain is not under your control.
One of the ways you can wrestle away from this feeling when it occurs is to start keeping a journal. You do not need to list an itinerary of your day or write down every thought that you experience.
Only write when it feels like you are out of control. Note who you are with, what the time of day is, and then record your emotions and thoughts. This structure is an excellent way to begin identifying what triggers you.
Even smells and noise can become monkey brain triggers. Include everything you can in each journal entry.
#6. Accept What Happened in the Past as the Past
Traumatic events will cause the monkey mind to howl loudly whenever a reminder comes your way. Living in a world where you continue to experience these painful moments is not healthy.
If you are struggling to accept what happened in the past to move on, then a combination of counseling and personal contemplation can sometimes help to quiet the noise. Therapy is helpful because it allows you to express the thoughts that come in an environment which is safe.
You may need to make a conscious effort to slam the door shut on some painful thoughts. There will be times when the monkey brain brings them back again anyway.
Try to look toward the future. Spend time in this moment with yourself and the people you love. The mistakes that other people made in the past are not yours to own.
#7. Practice Yoga, Qigong, or Pranayama
When the monkey brain does not settle down for you at all, then it is time to shift your focus. Participating in a healthy activity will begin to give you some additional peace.
Yoga, qigong, and pranayama are all excellent activities to try if your racing thoughts continue to surge. If these options don’t seem preferable, then any form of exercise that features deep breathing and moderate activity levels can provide some relief.
The goal here is to prepare your body and mind to cope with the thoughts that will return when you stop moving. This time of peacefulness allows your natural coping mechanisms to re-establish their dominance to ensure that you can stay in control.
The monkey brain is normal. Everyone experiences the howl of racing thoughts.
It is up to you to take control of this state of mind to ensure that it cannot take over your life. When there is no peace, then it can be difficult to sleep, focus, or even make decisions.
You can make the monkeys begin to listen to you instead of the other way around. Start that process today by choosing one of the ideas listed here. Then face down the worst ones of all to quiet them down.
It is not always easy to face the monkeys. If you can discover the courage to do so, then the potential rewards you can find are well worth the effort.