There you are, fretting over the state of your relationship, or worrying about an upcoming meeting at the office. Those voices in your head are back. It’s the usual chatter that has no rhyme or reason and keeps you totally confused and without real answers. It’s called the monkey mind, and it leaves you feeling as though you’re spinning in circles.
A good way to counter the frontal lobe free-for-all is to practice meditation. This gives you the chance to counter the noise by moving beyond thought. You can become the noticer- aware of your thoughts rather than thinking them. It sounds like the same thing, but there is a difference. When you notice your thoughts you can allow them to move on by without taking you with them. That calms the feeling of being pulled in so many directions. Concentration is key here. It will let you slow down the thought process and keep your attention on observation of those thoughts.
One method of working your concentration “muscles” is by paying attention to your breath during meditation. When the monkey mind begins its cranial chorus observe your thoughts and then return your focus to your breath. Breathing meditations differ. Some have you focus and the inhale and exhale and the movement of the abdomen. Others have you concentrate on the sound of the breath. Then there’s focusing on a candle flame as a way of reigning in the mind. Soften your gaze as you notice the color, shape, and movement of the flame, all the while trying not to blink. You can vary this by closing your eyes though you want to keep watching the flame in your mind.
It seems counterproductive when you realize that quieting your mind for meditation actually provides fertile soil for the mind chatter to take hold. Just remember to be kind to yourself and don’t give up. Meditation is often called “practice”, and continued practice will help you keep monkey mind to a minimum.