How I calm my Inner Monkey Mind
I pride myself on being emotionally resilient. Happy, smiley, bringing sparkle into people’s lives.
There was a time when I lost my sparkle and it felt like I’d never get it back.
Why? Because I have an inner monkey mind.
I’ve decided to call him Pete. No idea why I chose Pete or why he’s a he, he just is.
Pete’s job is to keep me safe.
Ahhh you might say, how cute! Well, it’s all very admirable keeping me safe, but when he’s stopping me from doing something I really want to do, his incessant chattering can be very, very annoying.
He’s been quite busy in the past trying to keep me safe when changing schools, sitting exams, starting a new job or giving a presentation. Really, in the face of any change or potential risk – or more importantly perceived risk – to my safety, he’s been there keeping me safe and afraid. If I’m afraid, I won’t leave my safe comfort zone. However much I don’t like it there.
In the past, if I didn’t want him to put me off trying something new, I either put him in a cage or ignored him. Both of which just gave him even more to say when I eventually let him out, or he escaped.
Pete kept me particularly busy in the run up to exam time, telling me there was no point in studying because I would never do as well as my sister, friends, or anyone really. I resorted to studying at night, when Pete was tired after a long day chattering. When it came to exam day, Pete continued to chatter that there was no point in me sitting the exam, that I would get brain freeze and so would fail anyway. The combination of my lovely friend coercing me into the exam hall and my determination to get the exam over and done with somehow got me through. Until the next exam. Coping with my Inner Stress Monkey often exhausted me.
Over the years I kind of got used to him and even believed that maybe I should just accept that Pete’s constant chattering was part of me. After all, my mum had one too, so maybe it was just in the genes.
It was when it was clear that his constant chattering and ‘what ifs’ were affecting my health and then my ability to have a family, that I started to question my beliefs. So, I went in search of and discovered treatments that help to change my thinking and my life: reflexology and acupuncture.
I believe that the combination of these treatments and having a forum to voice Pete’s anxious thoughts helped me let go of my stress and feel more relaxed – about having a baby and life in general.
Not surprisingly, life as a new mum gave Pete lots of opportunities to chatter and with little time or inclination to book an acupuncture/reflexology appointment or go to classes, I felt those stressful thoughts starts to re-surface.
Thankfully, I’ve always been curious, so I embarked on an adventure to find techniques that I could use myself. I read a LOT of books, like ‘You CAN Heal your Life’, ‘The Journey’, watched ‘The Secret’ and tried out affirmations and meditation, all of which did help me – and Pete- start to heal.
The technique that helped (and continues to help) me the most is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) also known as Tapping. Unsurprisingly, as a combination of acupressure and modern psychology, it has a lot of similarities to acupuncture and reflexology, with the added benefit of being able to tap myself. Discovering tapping set me free from the need to try to get an acupuncture or reflexologist appointment at short notice when Pete’s chattering started to overwhelm me.
The sensation of feeling my breathing return to normal, my shoulders become less heavy and my head clearing, was, and continues to be, nothing short of a miracle for me.
It even felt safe to let Pete out every now and again, allowing him to express his doubts and fears while I went on a bike ride, a run, a walk, did some gardening. Once my mind felt clearer, creating affirmations and meditating felt so much easier, less of a struggle. We felt happier, smiley, sparkly even.
Then suddenly and without any warning, Pete escaped again.
I had been neglecting him for a while. Life took over; I was juggling a bit more than usual and didn’t take time out for me, or Pete.
Having not been let out for a long time he had a lot to say, mainly because I was just about to step way, way outside my comfort zone.
I finally relented and let him out. He chattered for a long while, ranted, he even swore a bit. It wasn’t always pleasant and sometimes I wanted to shut him back in a cage.
But by gradually acknowledging all his fears and anxiety, yes, while tapping, we got to the good bit – inspiration on how we could move forward.
Using calming techniques every now and again, even once a week, isn’t enough for me (and Pete). For the same reason that one-off diets never worked for me either. And why meditation apps/articles/experts recommend meditating every day.
It’s the daily self-care that brings about real change and resilience to cope with life’s challenges. Sometimes all it takes is 5 minutes to acknowledge, let go and move forward.
And although even the words ‘self-care’ still bring up some feelings of mum-guilt, I realise I need it – for my own and my family’s well-being. I need to take time out to acknowledge Pete’s chattering and thoughts, so I can let them go and move towards thinking happy, sparkly thoughts again.
Pete and I still get triggered. But that’s ok; we’re enjoying being perfectly imperfect. We’ve realised that it’s the consistent and daily practice that helps us face daily and unexpected challenges.
Now that we’ve taken the pressure off ourselves, we’re enjoying having a quiet mind (most of the time), leaving us open to inspiring thoughts and even writing blogs like this.
If you feel stressed what would it feel like to give your stress a name, a character?
How about taking some time out for you to do something simple you enjoy, like going for a walk, painting, gardening or dancing to your favourite feel-good song?
Just a short time of self-care might help you feel a little calmer.
If you’d like to try something new that’s quick and easy and so very calming, I invite you to try out this easy yet powerful heart-breathing exercise for just 2-5 minutes. Pete and I use it every day. It might just help you with your inner monkey mind, get you through a challenging day, or even ease any feelings of guilt at the sheer thought of self-care.
Slow down your breathing to the count of 6 and imagine breathing through your heart – SLOWLY – in to the count of 6 and then out to the count of 6. You could even try putting your hand on your heart to help you focus.
Continue this for 2-5 minutes, (I recommend setting a timer to help you relax and enjoy the heart-breathing).
How good does that feel?
Wasn’t it worth taking taking that time out to breathe and re-focus?
Self-care doesn’t have to be difficult or take a lot of effort.
Why not try it for a few days and see how different you feel? You might even get some inspiration on how to move forward.
Just taking 2-5 minutes to sit, heart-breathe, tap and let go of any fears about the day ahead, helps Pete and I to be free (of chattering) to set a positive intention for the day.
When we spend a little time in the evening to let go of any thoughts or events that took up way too much of our thinking during that day, we both sleep so much more soundly.
Apart from feeling much calmer, Pete and I finally set ourselves free from exam nerves, so we could take that exam, qualify as an EFT (& Matrix Reimprinting) Practitioner and help others set their inner monkeys free.
If you’d like to find out more about quick easy-to-learn methods to quieten your monkey (or zebra, chimp or even lion) mind, find me on Facebook & Instagram (BAmazingU) and Twitter @bamazingu.
If you’d like to work together 121 to let go of fears, anxieties or limiting beliefs that are holding you back, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a package of individual sessions tailored to you.
I also run webinars and group workshops. Find out more at http://www.bamazingu.com/.
Get ready to let go of your stress (monkey) so you can
Be Amazing Be You!