The thoughts swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit, and howl. Elizabeth Gilbert, author
I’m sick of cooking dinner. My daughter hasn’t called me lately—I wonder if she’s mad. What’s that beeping noise? I wish I hadn’t posted that last remark.
For centuries, Buddhist scholars have called this type of worthless mind-chatter “monkey mind.” If you’re having this experience, here are a few suggestions from signs posted on the monkey cage at the zoo:
Watch but don’t stare.
Don’t fixate on one thought but let it flow through and out of your mind. This is how meditation works.
Don’t take pictures.
Holding on to negative thoughts gives them power. Endlessly focusing on a thought is called ruminating, a set up for a negative mood or worse.
Don’t feed the monkeys.
What we pay attention to grows. Feeding the darker side of monkey mind leads to more. Stop paying attention to these thoughts and they will diminish.
Affirmation: I can tame my monkey mind.
Coaching question: What will you do to tame your monkey mind?