Bye Bye Monkey Mind: 6 Proven Ways to Calm an Overactive Mind

Jillian Halliday
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“Did I switch the laundry over? What should I make for dinner? Why hasn’t the vet called me back? I’m so worried to present at the meeting next month. Wow, her shoes are cute . . . I want those shoes. It’s 9 p.m. already?!”
 
Do you suffer from the all-too-common overactive “monkey mind?”
 
While seemingly harmless on the surface, this hyperactivity in the brain can leave you feeling extremely anxious, mentally drained, and undeniably stressed.
 

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

 
To combat the side effects of an overactive mind, try the following six proven methods to give your brain a rest and calm even the most restless of minds.
 

Here Are 6 Simple Ways to Calm Your Racing Mind, Anytime:

 

1. “Piko-piko” Breathing

“Piko-piko” Breathing is a form of deep belly breathing that can calm the release of stress chemicals in your body and also help oxygenate your cells. According to teacher of Huna (Metaphysics) Philosophy, Serge Kahili King, Ph.D, “it is a Hawaiian breathing technique that simultaneously relaxes and energizes the body.”
 
Based on the Hawaiian word “piko” meaning “navel” or “center,” this technique includes centering your attention on one location as you inhale, such as the crown of the head, and then centering your attention on a different location as you exhale, such as the navel.
 
This art of systematically moving your attention from point-to-point automatically results in deeper breathing, increased circulation, and tension relief.
 

2. Meditation

Meditation is the act of resting your mind and consciously controlling your thoughts while shifting your focus to the present moment. Meditation has many proven benefits to both the mind and body, one of them being reduction of rumination.
 
According to Psychology Today, rumination is the “tendency to repeatedly think about the causes, situations, or consequences of our negative emotional experiences.”
 
Taking time to meditate in the morning, or even throughout the day, can help relieve stress, improve focus, and result in less upsetting emotional reactivity in the brain.
 
Read about these 10 Expert Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Meditation Time
 

3. Nature Walk

The next time your monkey mind is “buzzing” with endless jabbering thoughts, try taking a quiet stroll through your favorite park or woodland path. It’s no secret spending time in the calm serenity that is the great outdoors usually provides our minds with a mirroring peaceful essence, and now we have research to support it.
 
Gregory Bratman, of Stanford University, helped prove this theory in a 2015 study which found that people who partook in a 50-minute walk in a natural wooded setting experienced less anxiety and less negative self-thoughts.
 

 

4. Write Down Your Thoughts

When you find your mind repeatedly cycling through thought after thought, physically take a moment to write down the ideas pulsing through your busy mind.
 
Write down every event, appointment, project, experience, worry, conversation, etc. that you’re stuck on. Once complete, set your list aside and revisit it when you’re ready to address each thought, one at a time, with complete mental clarity.
 
After conducting studies on how writing heals and strengthens the mind, Psychologist James Pennebaker, Phd., states: “By writing, you put some structure and organization to those anxious feelings . . . It helps you to get past them.”
 

5. Consider Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a medically proven method for reversing negative thinking and overall improving your life.
 
First, CBT teaches you to recognize the recurring negative thought processes that cause your monkey mind to be so overactive (e.g. dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, feeling guilty, etc.).
 
It then encourages you to turn your ongoing inner dialogue into positive and constructive thinking, with the basic idea that what you think determines the quality of your life (i.e. better thoughts = better life).
 

6. Use Positive Affirmations

When you find yourself feeling stressed from a monkey mind stuck in overdrive, taking the time to recite positive affirmations can help relieve tension, leaving you better equipped to solve problems and be more creative with your thoughts.
 
Thanks to research led by David Creswell of Carnegie Mellon University, we now have evidence that self-affirmation, or the process of identifying and focusing on one’s most important values, can actually reduce the risk of damaging stress from problem-solving performance.
 
When you’re feeling anxious from an overactive mind, try reciting these 5 Powerful Affirmations to Deal With Life’s Challenges
 

Step Aside Monkey Mind – A Calm, Quiet Mind Is Here to Stay

Our busy, modern society seemingly glorifies having an overactive mind. When we’re constantly on the go, we have a million things to check off the to-do list, and trying be one step ahead of yourself can create a certain motivation and feeling of “put-togetherness.”
 
While this can be beneficial at times, it’s extremely important to take a step back and examine the quality of the recurring thoughts you tend to brood over. Oftentimes, you’ll find many of these thoughts are actually causing you to experience feelings of stress, worry, sadness, jealousy, and more.
 
Pick these negative thoughts out of the bunch – lovingly call yourself out on them! Use the techniques above to try and rid of your mind of any of the taxing thoughts you experience regularly, and with time, your mind will become more at ease.
 

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Jillian Halliday

Jillian is a Business Administration and Management Graduate with a passion for all things health and wellness. Growing up, she learned natural and holistic ways for overall health and healing and has since continued to incorporate these practices into her everyday life. She’s an exercise junkie, book worm, creative writer, and yoga enthusiast.

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