Episode 31: How to Stop Your Mind Chatter

Episode 31: How to Stop Your Mind Chatter

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Our minds are absolutely amazing! The amount of information we keep stored and ready at a moment’s notice is incredible. But sometimes, we could use a little break from the pace of our thoughts and for the chatter to slow down a bit. Let’s talk about ways to help quiet the chatter of an over-active mind!

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Q & A: HOW TO STOP YOUR MIND CHATTER

A LISTENER’S QUESTION

Trish from Sydney, Australia wrote to us and asked:

“How do I let go of the mental mind of daily life?”

I love this question because so many of us have that incessant mind chatter and all too often it gets dubbed “bad” in the spiritual community. Mind chatter is not necessarily bad. We don't want to stop our minds from thinking at all times. We have a very powerful mind that has evolved over millions of years and the goal is certainly not to stop the mind from thinking.

The goal is to calm the mind and be able to be the observer of our thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts can spiral out of control and cause anxiety. So, what I heard in Trish’s question is, “How do I stop the daily tasks, the daily to-dos of life from chattering in the mind?”

BE THE OBSERVER

There's a simple answer to calming the chatter of the mind and that is to be the observer of the thought. But, what does that even mean? You might be asking yourself, “How am I supposed to be the observer of the thought?”

Well, for one, you want to look at what it is that you're thinking about. Oftentimes we will have things that are running in our minds over and over again, like the daily to-do list: going to go pick up groceries at the grocery store, making sure you don't forget to pay a bill or all the little tasks that you have to get complete for the day. Your mind is trying to hold onto those things so you don't forget them.

If you can observe the thought and realize your mind is trying to retain all that information in fear it’s something it might forget, the fix is quite simple: write it down! This chatter is saying “Hey, it's necessary for me to write this down so my brain doesn't have to occupy space in trying to remember to do the task.” Once you write it down, you can let it go for another time where you can invest in making a plan of action to complete that task. Keep it simple: write it down!

THANK YOU, GOOD-BYE

Now, you might have something that's not a to-do that keeps occupying your mind. Maybe it's a conversation you had with your spouse, a friend or a co-worker and this conversation keeps playing over and over and over in your head. Maybe you’re dwelling on what you said or didn’t say or how the person really hurt your feelings. Or maybe, it was just an excellent conversation that sparked so much inspiration that it’s chattering about in your head.

One of the things that you can do if you observe that thought is just say, “I see you. Thank you for letting me know about you. Is there anything that we can do to resolve playing this over and over in our head?” Basically, you're asking yourself this question to see if the thought just needs acceptance or acknowledgment to quiet down. You can ask the thought, “Are we done here? What else can I help you with?”

You might notice that you’ve picked up on that person's energy and that thought keeps playing in your mind because you're holding on to their experience and you're trying to process their pain. That's what empaths do. In that case, the awareness of holding on to someone else’s energy holds the solution: Let me clear my energy. Let me let that go.

Being the observer of the thought and then creating an action plan based on the thought is a very powerful exercise.

I AM AFRAID

Now, what if you observe the thought and acknowledge it, but it’s still playing over and over in your brain? It’s possibly time to take it a step further with the acceptance and face a fear! Maybe you're having a thought about fear.

Maybe you are afraid of flying and you have a flight booked soon. Maybe there’s a conversation you need to have and you are dreading it. Perhaps there are some lingering “what-ifs” surrounding certain situations in your life.

Whatever it is, we have to find acceptance around what it is that we're thinking about. Finding acceptance is going to be really, really crucial. So let's say you do have a fear that keeps playing over and over in your brain. Instead of fighting the fear, face the fear. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but let's look at the steps from fear to acceptance. I’ll use fear of flying as an example.

  • I'm very fearful to get on an airplane
  • But it's the method I need to use to get to the place I am going
  • I have to get on this airplane
  • I accept I am afraid of getting on the airplane

 
What I do for acceptance is SAY, “I know I'm fearful. I know I'm fearful of taking this action, but we can do this. I know that the fear is strong right now, but as we move closer to the date, I'm going to become more and more at ease. I accept that I'm in fear at this moment in time, but I know that nothing is going to happen except me sitting with this fear in this particular moment, in this particular time. If I accept this now, I will loosen the control it has over me.” This type of exercise takes a lot of discernment. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience. It's finding acceptance in whatever it is that you're thinking about can be really hard at times.

WHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?

When I am stuck in a loop of thoughts playing over and over in my head, I like to run through the worst-case scenario if something bad were to happen and I accept it as that. I have realized that if I run through the worst scenario with that fear, it's actually not as bad as just sitting there worried about it. I take the opportunity to show my mental body, “Ok, yeah, this terrible thing could happen. Yes, the airplane could crash. I could get rejected, or this person could get mad at me.” So I'll run through the worst-case scenario, so I can find acceptance within it as well.

It's a really powerful exercise because instead of all of the worry that the mind is sitting there chattering about, it has nothing more to chatter about. If you run through the worst-case scenario, the mind then has the ability to see and experience the worst-case scenario at that moment in time. Then it can start to loosen up its control over the worrying. It can let go of the reins and realize the worst case is not as bad as the mind was allowing it to be.

If this exercise creates even more stress and anxiety, dig a little deeper. Ask yourself what else you are fearful about so that you can find acceptance in whatever it is. Keep asking until you get to the root of the issue and take its power over you away.

TALK IT OUT

Another way to stop the mental mind chatter of our everyday lives is to talk to someone about it. When we're just thinking non-stop about a problem it can create a loop where you just can't get out of the echo chamber of that loop. But, if you have an opportunity to talk out loud with someone about what you're thinking about, it will allow you to release it. You also allow yourself to witness yourself speaking about it which often provides a completely different perspective on the situation than when it was stuck inside your head.

Not only is the other person listening, supporting you, and holding space for you but you're also witnessing yourself observe what it is that you've been thinking about. Having that banter back and forth, listening to suggestions, and hearing yourself, you can work it out in the moment. This is a great way to get what’s inside of your head out into the open for release.

USING YOUR SENSES

Another technique I use when my mind seems to be going crazy is to come back to the spiritual practice of mindfulness. The right here and right now. Mindfulness is practicing being in the moment based on whatever it is that you're doing. Say you have a lot on your mind and you are washing your hands……

  • Start to notice the temperature of the water.
  • What does this soap feel like on your hands?
  • How long do you want to lather the soap on your hands?
  • How long do you want to rinse the soap?
  • Does the temperature of the water feel different than when it first hit your hands?

 
This is being mindful and really in the present moment, bringing all your thoughts and attention to just the thing in front of you in that moment and time.

When you are cooking dinner, pay attention to the details your senses want to connect with. What does it feel like when I'm chopping up this zucchini? Can I hear the sizzle in the pan as I'm placing the food in a hot pan with oil? Allow your senses to become alive while you are practicing mindfulness. When all your senses come alive, it will shift your focus from what’s worrying you to what’s happening right here and right now.

MORE THAN MEDITATION

I've talked about meditation a lot. Practicing meditation daily is not the form of letting go of all your thoughts and completely emptying your mind. Your mind is powerful and will have thoughts going through it at all times. The key is allowing them to pass through and giving yourself permission to not fully engage in the thought. Once you catch yourself engaging in the thought, release the thought and say, ”Thank you, I'll come back to that later.” Or, “Thank you, I release you now.”

While meditation is one well-known way to bring our thoughts back to center, it’s not the only spiritual practice that produces and fine-tunes mindfulness. A spiritual practice is anything that you want to deem as a spiritual practice. It could be:

  • Reciting mantras
  • Coloring
  • Painting
  • Playing with your oracle cards
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Or anything else that calms your mind

 
Anything that is creative will quiet the chatter in your mind. You can do anything that you are guided that allows you to be in the present moment, that allows you to feel really, really good, and release those thoughts that have been creating a traffic jam in your mind.

WRITE AND RELEASE

So you have a lot going on. Your plate is super full, your mind even fuller and you are trying to keep track of things that need to get done. A journal, a pen, and a piece of paper are going to be your best friends. Write things down. Release them from the mind so it doesn't have to hold on to the flood of thoughts. If the mind has to hold on to the thought and keep coming back to the thought to keep reminding you about the thought, you're just wasting space for creativity, for relaxation. When you write it down, you let yourself and your mental body off the hook from having to remember.

Sometimes the very act of just writing it down allows the thought to dissolve or to be released. You don't have to keep pulling back up that file because your mind is worried that you're not going to remember it, which is really important. So with the mental mind chatter, be the observer of your thought. Come up with an action plan that allows you to release and disconnect from the thought.

Sometimes the very act of just writing it down allows the thought to dissolve or to be released.

YOU ARE MAGNIFICENT

You are powerful, my friend. You have so many beautiful things that your mind wants to create. We do not want to stop the mind from thinking. We want to stop the mind from controlling our anxiety and our stress hormones by detaching from and releasing those stressful thoughts. We want to bring the good, positive thoughts forward so that they can support us in our reality, in our soul's evolution.

You're magnificent, my friend. You can do this. I know that you can.

If you enjoyed this episode with Amy Robeson, we would love to invite you to check out other inspirational episodes by clicking here. Enjoy!

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Full transcription of the episode:

Hello everyone and welcome to today's episode. I am so excited because today we are answering one of our listener's questions. Trish wrote in, Trish is from Sydney, Australia. She wrote in: “How do I let go of the mental mind of daily life?”

And I love this question because so many of us have a lot of mind chatter. And this mind chatter in the spiritual community is deemed "bad'. And I'm putting that in quotations. Mind chatter is not necessarily bad. We don't want to stop our mind from thinking at all times. We have a very powerful mind that has evolved over millions of years.

And the goal is not to stop the mind from thinking. The goal is to calm the mind and be able to be the observer of our thoughts. And sometimes those thoughts can spiral out of control and cause anxiety. And so what I think Trisha is asking here is like, how do I stop the daily tasks, the daily to-dos of life? How do I stop that from chattering in the mind?

And there's a simple answer and that is to be the observer of the thought. And sometimes that is not the easiest answer to come by because you're like, what does that even mean? How am I supposed to be the observer of the thought? Well, one, you want to look at what it is that you're thinking about. Oftentimes we will have things that are running in our minds over and over again, like daily to do, going to go pick up groceries at the grocery store, making sure you don't forget to pay a bill, or all the little tasks that you have to get complete for the day.

Your mind is trying to hold onto those things so you don't forget them. And so if you can observe the thought and go, oh, my mind sitting here trying to make to-do lists and trying to hold onto all these to-dos that being the observer of the thought, you can then go, okay, I need to write this down. It's necessary for me to write this down so the brain doesn't have to occupy space in trying to remember to do the task. So observing the thought will allow you to go, what is the best course of action based on this thought? And so if you have a thought that has to do with your to-do's, write them down so you can let go of it and work on things that you're wanting to think about or wanting to occupy your mind with for the day.

Now, you might have something that's not a to-do that keeps occupying your mind. Maybe it's a conversation you had with your spouse, or maybe it's a conversation you had with your coworker. And this conversation keeps playing over and over and over in your head. Maybe you're like, I wish I would have said this, or this person hurt my feelings. Or maybe you're just thinking about the thought in general and nothing bad happened, but you just keep thinking about it.

One of the things that you can do if you observe that thought is just say, “I see you. Thank you for letting me know about you. Is there anything that we can do to resolve playing this over and over in our head?” And so basically, you're asking yourself this question, and it could be acceptance. It could be just the acknowledgment of the thought, is it done?

It's complete, are we complete? You might notice that maybe you picked up on that person's energy and that thought just keeps playing in your mind because you're holding on to their experience and you're trying to process their pain. That's what empaths do. Maybe it's just the acknowledgment of, oh, I'm holding on to someone else's energy. Let me clear my energy.

Let me let that go. Being the observer of the thought and then creating an action plan based on the thought is going to be a very powerful exercise. Now let's say you observe the thought and you're just like, I've done that. I acknowledge it. I've come to acceptance, but it keeps still playing in my brain.

One of the things that you can do then is to one, find acceptance. Maybe you're having a thought about fear. Maybe you have to go on a flight. Or maybe you're fearful of having a conversation. Or maybe you're worried about something that's going to happen.

Whatever it is, we have to find acceptance around what it is that we're thinking about. And so finding acceptance is going to be really, really crucial. So let's say you do have a fear, and this fear just keeps playing over and over and over in your brain. So instead of fighting the fear, you accept the fear. And I know this sounds counterintuitive, but let's say I'm very fearful to get on an airplane.

But it's the only way that I can get to where I need to go that makes the most logical sense. But I have to get on this airplane. I'm very fearful of getting on this airplane. What I do for acceptance is I'll go, I know I'm fearful, I know I'm fearful of taking this action, but we can do this. I know that the fear is strong right now, but as we move closer to the date, I'm going to become more and more at ease.

I accept that I'm in fear at this moment in time, but I know that nothing is going to happen except me sitting with this fear in this particular moment, in this particular time. And if I accept this now, I will loosen the controls it has over me. This type of exercise takes a lot of discernment. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience. It's finding acceptance in whatever it is that you're thinking about can be really hard at times.

But what I like to do is I like to run through the worst-case scenario if something bad were to happen. And I accept it as that. And then I realized that if I run through the worst scenario with that fear, it's actually not as bad as if I'm just sitting there worried about it, because I'll show my mental body like, hey, yeah, that could happen. Yes, the airplane could crash or hey, I could get rejected, or hey, this person could get mad at me. So I'll run through the scenario, worst case scenario, so I can find acceptance within it as well.

And it's a really powerful exercise because what will happen is instead of all of the worry that the mind is sitting there chattering about, it has nothing more to chatter about because the mind doesn't know the difference between reality and fiction. And so if you create a scenario for it to play through, then it's actually played through at that moment in time. And so then it can't stop. It's not allowed to keep worrying about it. Let me say that slightly different.

If you run through this scenario, worst-case scenario, the mind then has the ability to see and experience the worst-case scenario at that moment in time, and then it can loosen up its controls over the worrying. It can let go of the rains and go, okay, well, that's maybe not as bad as what I thought it would be. Now, if you do this and all of a sudden you're like, I feel more stressed out than I was, well, what else are you stressed about? What else are you fearful about so that you can find acceptance in whatever it is that you are worried about or whatever it is that you are thinking about? A lot of times we will go into these different pockets of air.

Another way to stop the mental mind chatter of our everyday lives is to talk to someone about it. When we're just thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking. That can create a loop where you just can't get out of the echo chamber of that loop, where if you have an opportunity to talk out loud with someone about what it is that you're thinking about, it will allow you to, one, release what it is that's going on in the mind. You would have the ability to witness yourself speaking about it. And sometimes the way we speak about it is very different than the way we think about it.

And we can work through what it is that we're thinking about out loud, which is really powerful. Not only is the other person listening, supporting you, holding space for you might be making some suggestions, but you're also witnessing yourself observe what it is that you've been thinking about and then you can work it out in the moment. That's why I love coaching. Coaching is so powerful because you get an opportunity to listen and hear yourself. The client gets an opportunity to listen and hear themselves for the first time sometimes about whatever it is that they're working through. And this is talking to someone is a form of coaching yourself as well, which is really neat. So that's another way that you can let go of the mental mind chatter

Another practice that I like to do when I have a lot on my mind and my mind just seems to be going crazy, is I'll come back to a spiritual practice of mindfulness. The mindfulness practice is practicing being in the moment based on whatever it is that you're doing. So a great example of this would be while you're washing your hands. While you're washing your hands and you notice that you've had a lot on your mind, you can one start to notice the temperature of the water. What does this soap feel like on your hands?

How long do you want to lather the soap on your hands? How long do you want to rinse the soap? Does the temperature of the water feel different than when it first hit your hands? It's just being really mindful and being in the present moment. And when you can bring your thoughts and allow yourself to focus on the present moment with just a simple act of like, washing your hands or even eating your food or cooking dinner, like, OOH, what does it feel like when I'm chopping up this zucchini?

Can I hear the sizzle in the pan as I'm placing the food in a hot pan with oil? Allow your senses to become alive while you are practicing mindfulness. This is a way of spiritual living as well. And when you're practicing mindfulness, of being in the particular moment of whatever it is that you're doing, all your senses come alive. This also helps with your intuition as well.

All your senses come alive. And whatever it is that you're worried about, you shift your focus to what's presently in front of you. Does that mean that thoughts are not going to pop into your head? That you're not going to start thinking about other things? Of course not.

You're going to think about other things. Your brain, your mind is so powerful, and it is perfectly okay if you start thinking about other things. What do you do when you think about other things? Same thing you do in meditation. That's interesting.

Thank you for telling me that. I'm going to go back to practicing being in the present moment. You notice the thought. You allow it to drift by you can acknowledge it, you can release it. It's a really powerful practice that will keep you in the present moment.

Another simple practice is meditation. Now, I've talked about meditation a million times. You guys know practicing meditation daily is not the form of letting go of all your thoughts. Your thoughts are your thoughts. Your mind is powerful. It's allowing them to pass through and giving yourself permission to not fully engage in the thought. Once you catch yourself engaging in the thought, you release the thought and you say, thank you, I'll come back to that later. Or thank you, I release you now. Thank you. Let's go on to coming back to the breath, coming back to mantra.

Another way to let go of the mental mind chatter as well is to do other spiritual practices besides mindfulness. You can do mantras, you can color, you can paint, you can do anything that is creative, that allows you to be with whatever it is that you're wanting to do as a creative spiritual practice. Now, spiritual practice doesn't necessarily mean meditation. It doesn't necessarily mean doing the Akashic records or playing with crystals. A spiritual practice is anything that you want to deem as a spiritual practice.

It could be taking a walk, it could be coloring a mandala book, it could be painting a painting. It also could be shuffling your oracle cards and picking out cards that feel really good to you. Another thing could be planting or gardening. There's so many things that we can do that we can make into spiritual practices. Cooking is one, walking is one, and exercise is one.

Dance is another thing. You can do anything that you are guided to do as a spiritual practice that allows you to be in the present moment, allows you to feel really, really good, to release those thoughts that have been creating a traffic jam in your mind. Now, let's say you're just having a really busy season in life.

Let's say you just have a lot going on, you have a lot on your plate, and your mind is just full of all sorts of things that have to get done and you're trying to keep track of everything. A journal, a pen, and a piece of paper are going to be your best friends.

I know when I get super busy, and I mentioned this in the beginning of the episode, write things down. Write things down. Release them from the mind so the mind doesn't have to hold on to the thought. If the mind has to hold on to the thought and keep coming back to the thought to keep reminding you about the thought, you're just wasting space for creativity, for relaxation. And when you write it down, you give yourself permission, the mental body to be taken off the hook from remembering it.

So all you have to do is write it down and then go back to those things that you're wanting to go back through and just making it a practice of looking at what it is that you wrote down, what it is that you want to come back to. Sometimes the very act of just writing it down it allows the thought to dissolve or to be released. So you don't have to keep pulling back up that file because your mind is worried that you're not going to remember it, which is really important. So with the mental mind chatter, be the observer of your thought. Come up with an action plan that allows you to release and disconnect from the thought.

And that could be through writing it down. It could be through acceptance, mindfulness, spiritual practices, or meditation. You are powerful, my friend. You have so many beautiful things that your mind wants to create. We do not want to stop the mind from thinking.

We want to stop the mind from controlling our anxiety and our stress hormones, and that is by detaching and releasing from those stressful thoughts. We want to bring the good, positive thoughts forward so that they can support us in our reality, in our soul's evolution. You're magnificent, my friend. You can do this. I know that you can.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. I look forward to seeing you and connecting with you in the next episode. Bye.

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