Ever felt moody, restless and uneasy? When indecisiveness is the favorite song that constantly plays in your head. When there’s an uncontrollable whimsical urge to multitask EVERYTHING, only later to miserably fail at it? When all you feel is disappointed and tired to make that sandwich? When all you ever feel like is the Oxford dictionary approved, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? If you said yes, then congratulations. You are suffering from ‘Monkey Mind!’
So, what is this ‘Monkey Mind’?
No. It’s not a mind of a monkey. It is described as a mind that is easily agitated. To stay in a constant state of panic. It is a state where you want to achieve a lot more in a short amount of time. It is to stay in a state of constant distraction. It is a state of anxiety. It is a state of mind, you don’t want to be in.
Consider these examples, do you ever go through answering questions in your life like these?
What movie to watch? I don’t know, maybe I will stay home and watch a re-run of a stale TV show, only that I will end up watching mind-numbing stupid commercials instead.
Should I go to that party? I don’t know if all my friends are going. Maybe I should just stay home and do nothing.
Basically, all simple tasks feel like world changing life events.
How does a ‘Monkey Mind’ work?
Monkey Mind basically means that you have a problem to concentrate. Thousands of thoughts go through your mind at any given time. That chatter in your brain doesn’t stop. It keeps you awake that chatter and you have a hard time to think about important tasks like – pushing a door when it’s written ‘pull,’ or walking through that glass door and give yourself a bump in your head.
Do you know anyone like this? This could be YOU.
Update FB cover photo, click photo for FB cover photo, ‘Like’ this ‘Like’ that, ‘Share’ this, ‘Share’ that. There’s a road between potholes! I should ‘tweet’ that! Oh, that tweet’s interesting, I should ‘retweet’ that. I need to update profile photo for twitter. But first I need to click photo for twitter, what kind of photo shall I click? Which angle highlights my jawline? I am hungry, what to eat? Oooh did she just update her profile pic? Wow, she got so many likes! I need to update my photo too. Oh, I am yet to finish getting dressed, I am so late for work now!
So how to achieve a monkey mind?
Simple. By doing everything that you ever wanted all at once!
So if you got an exam tomorrow, you will play video games and read comics. You will do everything other than studying. And when you sit to study, thousand things will run in your mind, like that imaginary conversation you have with your favorite Naruto character. You want to tell Kakashi Hatake to forgive himself for killing Rin because he didn’t mean to kill her! That my friend is what ‘Monkey Mind’ is all about.
The best way to achieve ‘Monkey Mind’ is by adding your trusty old social media into the mix and voila! ‘Monkey Mind’ is served hot on your platter (figuratively speaking).
So now that you know what monkey mind is, how to attack it?!
Mindfulness. It’s opposite of Monkey Mind. It means, according to Wikipedia, “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” It essentially means that you slow down. You take each activity as it comes. You live in the moment. You notice each detail in your surrounding. Mindfulness is an important element in Buddhism. Mindfulness is strongly associated with the well-being of mental health. It has proven benefits that help calm down tense nerves. It is also important to remember you are not alone!
So try this for five minutes a day.
Feel your breath – as it goes out and as it goes in.
Your attention will then wander to other places.
When you get around to noticing this return your attention to your breath.
Don’t bother judging yourself or obsessing over the content of the thoughts.
Come back. You go away, you come back. That’s the practice.
It’s often been said that it’s very simple, but it’s not necessarily easy.
The work is to just keep doing it. Results will accrue.