Do You Have a Critical Inner Voice? Learn How to Calm The Monkey Mind

 / 

, ,
Monkey MIND

Our critical inner voices are all those negative thoughts we have for ourselves and others. These nagging “voices” are the root of self-destructive behaviors. Let’s find out how to calm the monkey mind.

Do you have an inner voice that hinders your success?

According to Buddhist principles, the “monkey mind” is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused. Writer and Buddhist Natalie Goldberg, who teaches many writing workshops, suggests that the monkey mind is the inner critic.

It’s the part of your brain most connected to the ego, which contends that you can’t do anything right. It’s also the part of you that stifles creativity and prevents you from moving forward with your passions. The monkey mind insists on being heard, and sometimes it takes a lot of self-control to shut it down. It is also the part of your brain that becomes easily distracted, so if you want to get anything done in life, your challenge will be to shut down the monkey mind.

The Critical Inner Voice
Do You Have a Critical Inner Voice?

Related: How To Build Your Inner Nurturer: 3 Strategies

The Critical Inner Voice – How to Calm the Monkey Mind

The first step in doing so is to become grounded and calm the mind—that is, remember to be in the here and now. Being present in this way is called mindfulness. It is an essential state for inspiring the best writing because it taps into the messages of your heart and soul. Being mindful encompasses awareness and interconnectedness between your inner and outer worlds. If you are more awake and alert, you can more easily receive messages from within as well as from the universe.

The Critical Voice In My Head: How To Calm It

In her book, The True Secret of Writing, Natalie Goldberg reminds us of the importance of mindfulness as we move about our days, whether we’re writing, doing errands, or engaging in interpersonal relationships. Some of the characteristics of mindfulness also include being nonjudgmental, patient, accepting, trusting, and letting go.

Related: 3 Secrets For Silencing Your Inner Critic

When considering how to quiet your mind, try to sit still for a minute and think about what calms you. Contemplate how you can incorporate these activities into your daily life. Even just a few minutes of walking meditation or mindful breathing can bring you into the present moment.

In addition to incorporating mindfulness into your day—even when standing in line at the bank—it’s wise to practice mindfulness before sitting down to write. My day always begins with a meditation, sometimes even before I have my coffee. Sometimes I do a shorter meditation later in the afternoon to give me a boost of energy.

In her Zen writing retreats, Goldberg reminds her students to anchor their minds to their breath by using paper and pen to write. This helps them stay in the moment, as does the mantra: “Sit. Walk. Write.” She calls this the “true secret.”

Even though the mind is a wonderful thing, it can sometimes get in the way of creativity, mainly because the voice in our head can get in the way of what our heart wants to say. Sometimes this voice turns dark and can lead to feelings of fear, guilt, anger, sadness, envy, and resentment, instead of a sense of lightness of being. This voice might seem like a nagging parent or spouse.

The ego has the ability to create false thoughts, which is the inner chatter we hear most often. In fact, it is the voice in our heads that we sometimes tell to “shut up.” Otherwise, we can become overwhelmed by these thoughts or even lose touch with reality. This is one reason why during meditation it’s a good idea to let thoughts come and go, rather than becoming obsessed with them or focusing on anyone in particular. If we focus too intensely on our thoughts, there’s a greater chance that we’ll lose touch with the here and now.

On a recent trip to Maui, I attended a retreat led by Ram Dass, one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the past few decades. Even though he’d had a stroke a few years back, he still continued to relay his very important message of “be here now,” the simplest and best advice for being mindful. His book, Be Here Now (1971), was like a bible for many hippies (like me) in the 1960s.

Those who live in the present moment often come across as being more grounded. As Ram Dass said, “When you meet a being who is centered, you always know it. You always feel a kind of calm, emanation. It always touches you in that place where you feel calm” (1971, p. 46a).

The more we bring our focus into the present moment, the more we experience the bliss and joy of that moment and see what our true essence is. In this way, we can release the demons that come along with the monkey mind. My new book, Writing for Bliss, offers suggestions on how to calm the monkey mind as well.

Writing Prompt
Practice focusing on the here and now. Take a few slow, deep breaths, and focus on your belly. What are you seeing, sensing, hearing, or intuiting at this moment? Ask your body what you’re feeling. Do you feel discomfort anywhere? Does an image pop into your mind? This is body intelligence.

Writing Prompt
Describe the person your mind thinks you are. What do you look like? What do you believe? What is your connection with the universe or your loved ones? Have someone else write about you. Does this person perceive you in the same way you perceive yourself?

Related: 4 Kinds Of Self-Criticism You Must Put An End To

Your inner voice will either fuel your success or prevent you from reaching your goals. Whom will you listen to; your inner critical voice or the one that motivates you?

References
Dass, Ram (1971). Be here now. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Goldberg, N. (2013). The true secret of writing: Connecting life with language.
New York, NY: Atria Books
Raab, D. (2017). Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.
Raab, D. (2017). Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.
Raab, D. (2017). Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.

Written by: Diana Raab Ph.D.
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
Calm the Monkey MIND
Monkey MIND pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

7 Warning Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship And How to Rediscover Your Sense of Self

Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship

Are you starting to feel like you have lost yourself in a relationship? Do you have this persistent feeling that you don’t know who you are anymore? You know, that feeling when you are so caught up in someone else’s world, that you forget who you are? Well, these are just some signs of losing yourself in a relationship.

Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common feeling, and lots of people experience this. If you have ever felt like you have lost yourself in a relationship, then this article can be a godsend for you.

Let’s delve into the all those signs of losing yourself in a relationship, so that you can stop yourself from doing so (at least to some extent!). And not just this, we will also talk about what to do when you lose yourself in a relationship. So, are you ready to explore this? Let’s go then!



Up Next

4 Steps To Open And Hopefully Change Someone’s Mind

How To Change Someone's Mind: Useful Pointers To Remember

If you want to change someone’s mind, there are a few things you need to remember. This article is going to talk about some of the best ways to influence someone’s mind, but in the right way. So, are you ready to explore how to change someone’s mind? Let’s go then!

KEY POINTS

Starting conversations with respectful curiosity can open someone’s mind without evoking their resistance.

Our brains are very protective of how we think. Arguing with someone activates the fight-or-flight response.

Practice summarizing key ideas people share so they feel heard before you ask if you can share your ideas.



Up Next

Are You Struggling To Manage Your Emotional Reactions? 3 Important Steps To Take

Managing Emotional Reactions: Effective Steps To Take

If you are someone who struggles to control or manage your emotional reactions, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to talk about some of the best things you can do when it comes to controlling emotional reactions or emotional reactivity.

KEY POINTS

Emotional reactions are based on mental habits you can change if you want to, believe you can, and can commit to the steps.

Even when you know a new mental habit will relieve your stress, you must consistently override your protective brain while forming the new habit.

Start with small steps so you can see your progress and celebrate your successes.



Up Next

3 Zodiac Signs That Bear The Burden Alone With A Never-Say-Die Attitude

Zodiac Signs That Bear The Burden Alone

When life throws its toughest challenges the way, some are drowned by it while others manage to swim through. Below are 3 zodiac signs that bear the burden alone with extraordinaire calm and resilience.

One thing about these zodiacs carrying the burden alone is that they always handle the hard things in life all by themselves. They don’t vent their problems on social media, or cry about it. These people a determined and strong, and can handle anything without support from other people.

When carrying the burden alone, they keep silent and confront all their troubles – this is what really truly sets them apart. So are you one of those who don’t shy away from problems and face them head on? Let’s explore the zodiac signs that bear the burden alone!



Up Next

The Philosophy Of Forgiveness: What Is True Forgiveness And How To Forgive People

What Is True Forgiveness? Tips on How To Forgive People

Have you ever held onto anger and resentment because someone did you dirty? Most of us often become trapped by the weight of bitterness and make wrong decisions that affect us more than it affects others. This is where true forgiveness comes in. But exactly what is true forgiveness?

There is a transformative power hidden within the philosophy of forgiveness. True forgiveness has the potential to liberate us from the chains of bitterness, allowing us to heal, grow, and rediscover the joy of living. 

Let’s explore the depths of what is true forgiveness and learn how to forgive people so that we can be liberated from the pain and bitterness.

What is True Forgiveness?



Up Next

“Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone?”: 7 Signs You Might Be Dealing With Phone Anxiety

Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone? Signs Of Phone Anxiety

Do you ever find yourself rolling your eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh when your phone starts ringing or buzzing? Do you feel dread at the mere thought of having to make or receive a phone call and try to find out how to avoid talking on the phone? If you’ve ever said these words to yourself, “Why do I hate talking on the phone?” with frustration, you’re not alone.

There are many people out there who feel the same as you, and hate talking on the phone. And it turns out, there’s a very valid reason behind feeling this way, and that’s phone anxiety.

Today, we are going to talk about phone anxiety and the signs you hate talking on the phone, so that the frequency of you asking “why do I hate talking on the phone” lessens. So, are you ready to know more about this? Let’s get started, then.



Up Next

The ‘Sincericide’ Trap: How Being Too Honest Can Backfire

Sincericide: Dangers Of Being Too Honest

In the realm of human interaction, truthfulness is often described as a virtue—a foundation of trust and authenticity. However, there’s a phenomenon called “sincericide,” which denotes the paradoxical act of undermining one’s own sincerity.

Honesty is appreciated, but the idea of “Sincericide” – an oxymoronic pitfall that may lead to undesirable results through too much sincerity.

Trust is built on transparency but it’s also important to know how not to cross the line between being frank and rude.

In this article, we’ll discuss ‘Sincericide’, the secret killer of strong relationships — telling the truth without sugarcoating it. How do you communicate honestly without destroying you