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How to control your thinking? The Zen people call it training the monkey mind so that you can rein in those runaway thoughts that just seem to take over when you least want them to.

I was running a workshop on mindfulness this week and yet again the most common difficulty which people talked about was how the mind seems to have a mind of its own, and they felt unable to quieten it.

There are two main aspects to taking charge of your your mental chatter. The first is deciding that you want to take control (and understanding that you can), the second is actually learning to step in and stop unwanted thoughts. This entails retraining your mind. The more you do the first the easier the second will become. It won’t happen though unless you take charge.

The easiest way to think about not thinking is to start doing. Taking steps to become more aware of our physical experience is one way, which is why mindfulness training starts with focussing on breathing. If that doesn’t appeal to you there are many other ways to interrupt that background noise.

I’ve published a one-page handout which you can download below.

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One Response to “How to Still Your Mind”

  1. I love this, you make it sound so simple! Also your worksheet is clear and helpful. Thanks for the great post, I know it will give me more musings for my daily life.

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