You know that voice in your head that’s going all the time?
You may think of it as your thoughts, though for some of us it feels more like a sentient being bossing us around. For some, it often turns into a big bully that you can’t escape from.
I typically refer to these various inner voices as The Monkeys and they have a massive impact on your life, your health, your actions. They have even been shown to change brain chemistry and circuitry which results in real physiological and cognitive outcomes, such as less fatigue, lower immune system reaction, elevated hormone levels, and reduced anxiety.
In her book, The Intention Experiment, Lynne McTaggart says “Evidence suggests that human thoughts and intentions are an actual physical “something” with astonishing power to change our world. Every thought we have is tangible energy with the power to transform. A thought is not only a thing; a thought is a thing that influences other things.”
With the Monkeys being such powerful things it makes sense to invest time and practice to Train the Monkeys. However, you may want to start by targeting a specific habit, conversation or thought pattern. You can reprogram your thoughts.
You can make your brain a No Parking Zone for specific conversations.
It’s not a quick process but it is fairly simple.
1. Pick the conversation you want to disappear.
Start small. Don’t go immediately to something that has been a thought pattern most of your life. Rather, start with something small that is a recent addition. For example, I’m no longer going to relive that awkward moment from the meeting last week.
2. Decide what you want to replace it with.
It’s nearly impossible to simply ‘stop thinking about it’. You have been developing and growing neural pathways around this thought pattern and it’s crazy to attempt to simply shut it down. Instead, redirect things. Choose something you want to invest energy in. For example, Instead I’m going to think about the vacation I’m taking next summer.
3. Notice when you’re back on the conversation you want to replace.
Living an Intentional, Choice Driven Life in antiSurvival mode is all about noticing. Simply notice when you’re having that conversation again.
4. Redirect the conversation.
Simply stop the conversation about the meeting last week and start thinking about your vacation.
Now, many people add a step here that doesn’t exist.
Many people add in a step to ‘Beat yourself up for thinking about that thing yet again‘, but that’s not a step here. No need to beat yourself up for being human. Think of your inner voices like a bunch of children, ideally, how do you handle a child who is learning a new rule? Do you yell and berate them for forgetting? No! You lovingly remind them of the rule and redirect their attention.
This is not about bullying yourself and beating yourself up. Depending on how long you’ve been having the conversation it may take a very long time to disappear it. In the case of the meeting from last week, it’s only a week old thought pattern so it may only take a day or two. If you’re looking to disappear a conversation about your curvy hips that you’ve had since you were 15 years old, well, that may take weeks, months, years and honestly, may never completely disappear.
Always remember that you are human. You are perfectly designed. The goal is never to become perfect, rather to practice. To Choose.
The Intention Experiment