Training the Monkey Mind: Tips for Worrying Less and Doing More

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Think about all you think about in a day -- it’s a lot!

In fact, the renowned Cleveland Clinic says that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts in just one day.

That’s the Monkey Mind. Sound familiar?

We all go through it: thinking too much and feeling like we’re not doing enough. But the real question is, how do we change it?

The most important thing to remember is that mindfulness is a daily practice. It’s about more than flipping a switch and paying attention, it’s about being present, open, and aware.

Thankfully, we’ve got a few easy, everyday tips to help you clear your head and train that monkey mind.

1. Listen to What You’ve Got to Say

If a friend is asking for help, you’d probably ask what’s wrong. Well, you should do the same anytime you find yourself caught in a downward spiral of internal chatter. Listen to your thoughts and respond in practical ways. Jot down a few notes, check your schedule for upcoming to-dos, or create a plan of action for outstanding projects. The more you listen, the less you’ll have to scream.

2. Meditate

Now, that said, just because your mind talks doesn’t mean you always have to listen. Meditation is a simple, accessible way for you to become more familiar with you. Find a quiet place where you can sit still for five minutes. Plant your feet, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. As powerful thoughts come to your head -- like why was Smurfette the only female in the Smurf village or how many licks does to take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?  -- allow them to announce themselves then move on, never staying long enough to be explored.

3. Do Something

The best way to do more is to, well, do more! Like idle hands, an idle mind can lead to mischief. Turn off autopilot and get out of your head all in one go. Physical exercise, creative projects, and a good book are just some of the ways you can tame your overthinking. Find out what activities excite you and make a point to include them regularly in your schedule. The sooner you start training your monkey mind, the better it will perform.