SHUSHING THE MIND CHATTER
April 28, 2012
Mind chatter is the mind noise that never stops. It is the inner conversation or inner monologue that constantly goes on in the mind.
We are often unaware of this mental noise, because it has become a deeply embedded habit, something we may consider to be just a part of life.
Mind Chatter is like an inner voice that constantly analyzes everything about our lives, surroundings and the people we know. It is a voice in the head that just keeps talking and talking! It starts sometimes before we even open our eyes in the morning making a mental list of what we need to do, and follows us through the day, and is even with us when we close our eyes in bed, wishing something different had been done or said. It happens when we gossip, or think negative thoughts about others.
These thoughts can loop, go round and round, over and over. How lucky we are if this “broken record” thought is a positive one! What a struggle it is if it is a negative thought filled with worry, stress, anger or frustration. How horrible to have that noise chattering away inside our head all day long. We really could do without it!
The first step to quieting this chatter, is to realize it exists! Then we have to sort out if it is our True Self talking, or is it our sub-conscious? Often the cause is fear, in some form: the “what ifs”. This chatter tries to bring some sort of order from the perceived chaos: we have to consider all the options so we will be safer.
When we get wrapped up in this noise, while we are focused on it, listening to it, we are missing out on life going on around us.
We need to stop the Mind Chatter by learning how to stop our unconscious mind’s habit of “running off at the mouth”. Pay attention to what it is saying. If you hear negatives: “I can’t”, “I should, “what will I do?”, stop the dialogue. Make the conscious effort to change your thought process: tell the chatter to “STOP”, say ” I can”,” I am OK”, “I can handle this, I can figure it out”. Take control. We need to repeat this every time the negative chatter gets going, until there is a natural replacement of positive, rather that negative dialogue.
We will always have this mind chatter going on. Our mind loves to be busy. We can, however, change the topic! We have to be careful because when our mind chatters, we listen, and we remember. If our chatter is negative, guess what we remember? Information is continually being recorded and stored for future reference.
Brian Tracey says, “Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself, and believe. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you, that determines your thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue, or “self-talk,” you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life.”
Remez Sasson offers these insights on what mind chatter is :
- Thoughts that repeat themselves like a tape that keeps playing the same tune.
- Reliving negative past situations or visualizing fears over and over again.
- Dwelling on the past or fearing the future. This prevents us from enjoying the present. The past is gone, and the future is the product of our present thinking and actions. The only time that exists is now, the present moment.
- Compulsive inner monologue that disturbs our peace and makes the mind busy.
- Never being here. Always thinking on something else, instead of what we are doing now. If we always think on something else we never enjoy the moment.
- Constant analysis of our and other people’s situations, reactions and behavior. Analyzing the past, the future, things we need or want to do, our day, yesterday and the distant past.
- Almost all involuntary thinking and daydreaming are some sort of mental noise. This is often a constant background noise, which often intrudes into foreground in the middle of everything we do.
How do we gain control? Through some hard, thoughtful work and patience.
We have to be aware of this noise. Then we have to understand that it is our brain’s attempt to protect us from the unknown by pretending it knows what will happen. First we have to tell that noise, the chatter, to STOP. Then take the negative thoughts and turn them into positive: “I can’t do this…” to, “ I can do this”.
Breathe, count to 10, sing a favorite verse of song…let your mind know you are not interested in the negative chatter. Learn to “see” the chatter, imagine it written on a blackboard and watch as it is erased and the see the board clear and clean and blank……and then keep the board blank, do not let anything else be written.
We can also work to change the chatter, and make it useful and powerful in a positive way. Begin a routine of beginning your day with positive thoughts. Instead of “oh, I HAVE to take a shower”, turn it into “The hot shower will feel good.” Replace “I have so much to do today”, with “I am going to accomplish a lot today”.
Mid-day, find a few moments and slow down. As thoughts creep in…erase them. Be still. Pat yourself on the back, “I’ve made progress”, “I am handling things well”.
At the end of the day, tell your mind to STOP chattering. When it starts up, divert and recite a poem, sing a song, do a multiplication table! Do not let it get chatting….
Some ideas of how to quiet your mind chatter include this from
- Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Do not make excuses, “I am busy then.”, “I already have plans.” Make a conscious decision to say the absolute truth, or what you actually mean. The absolute truth doesn’t have to be harsh or hurtful, you can do so compassionately and authentically, but firmly. When you own what you say, no one can reject it, even if they don’t like what they hear; because you are telling the truth and you mean it. Make a conscious commitment to yourself to mean everything that you say, and not to make empty promises that you cannot, will not, do not intend to fulfill. Do not tell someone you will call if you know you won’t. Telling the truth prevents the mind from having something to chatter about!
- Don’t say to anyone unless you can say to everyone. “Make a commitment to yourself, that you will not say something to one person, unless you can announce it to the world, to everybody. Make a commitment to stop the spreading of drama and bad energy.”
- Don’t say inside, what you cannot say outside. When the chatter starts, especially when the thought is full of negativity like “I am so stupid”, or “I feel like a failure”, say to yourself, or even out loud: “STOP! From today forward, I choose to let this thought go, for it does not uplift me. I am exposing this thought as being false, for you are not real! From today onward, I am free from this thought.” Whatever thought you are not able to say out aloud to people (anyone), don’t even bother entertaining inside your head. Keep your inner space clean. While you may share your self doubt with others as a means of processing, you would never go around introducing yourself as “stupid” or as a “failure”, so stop your mind chatter from saying it to you.
Don’t let Chatter say it unless it is true, useful or kind. Be conscious of what you say and only say it if any of the following is true:
Is what I’m saying …
- True to me? An authentic statement from my heart?
- Useful or helpful to someone or some situation?
- Kind or compassionate? Such as a compliment, or an offer of help.
Don’t let your spoken words run rampant either. Be conscious of what you say out loud. Your mind chatter will begin to reflect that, and you will not have to battle the mind chatter caused by speaking meaningless, gossipy, hurtful words.
Another interesting site is: http://www.aquietmind.com/2011/09/28/day-1-quiet-mind/
It offers simple, short, day by day suggestions to slow and quiet your mind chatter through attainable steps.
As we change and grow and move towards fulfilling our potential, free from mind chatter that slows us down, we also begin to change those around us. And one by one, the change spreads. You are good, and strong, and kind and of value. Make sure your mind chatter is telling you the same thing, or else tell it to STOP, so that you can GO forward.