How to calm your monkey-mind

Why is it so hard for us to appreciate living in the moment? When at work we keep fantasising about going on vacation; as soon as we’re there, all we do is stress about work. This is caused by our so-called “monkey-minds”.

According to Buddhists, our minds can be compared to hysterical monkeys jumping from branch to branch; from thought to thought. Every thought we have belongs to a different branch and different monkey going around, causing us to lose control over our thoughts and leaving our mind in chaos, causing anxiety, stress and anger. All of this will give us a hard time trying to live in the moment. It is up to you to take back the control over your thoughts and calming our monkeys for a second. Here are a few tips to calm your monkey-mind:

#1. Take control

One of the most important things is to understand that you can take control of your overly active mind. You can do this by just stopping what you’re doing, taking a deep breath and just thinking to yourself “STOP!”. This will distance you from your thoughts for a second and making them easier to manage.

#2. Meditate

Meditating does not need to be as difficult or time-consuming as most people think. Just take a few minutes to get fully aware of your breathing and you will feel so much calmer.

#3. Start a journal

Keep a journal with you for a few weeks. As soon as the monkeys in your mind are losing control, try to write down all your surroundings as specific as possible. This will help you identify your triggers and will tell you which situations to avoid in the future.

#4. Build your focus

The biggest part of staying focused is to have a plan and stick to it. A few things you can do to pay attention to your goals:
Imagine getting what you want (how does that make you feel?)
Stick to a strict time-plan
Start with a smaller task to kick-start your motivation
Reward yourself when you succeed

#5. Observe your thoughts

Try and be aware of your thoughts rather than just letting them go wild and uncontrolled. Observing your thoughts, good and bad, will make you question your thoughts and leave you wondering why you are worrying that much. When you are more aware, it will be easier to match them to your surroundings and live in the moment, calm your mind and improve your overall health.

Hopefully these tips will create some more peace and quiet for you and your monkey-mind. Now take a breath, relax and enjoy living in the moment!

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