No matter how much your Monkey Mind protests, you – and you alone – are the boss. Is it time to stop letting it run the show?
Welcome to day 18 of How To De-Stress With Mindfulness.
Here’s where to listen to the audio recording of today’s message.
To download it to listen offline, right click and choose ‘save as’ for this link: Day 18 MP3
How are you getting on so far? Any insights? Any questions?
How did you get on with the ideas and exercises from last time? Fancy sharing?
Week Three: How are you getting on?:
How are you getting on?
And here are all of your week three resources:
Week Three Resources
In today’s message we’re talking about:
- the Monkey Mind’s tricks and stories
- discovering practical techniques you can use to let go of them
- setting yourself free from some of the old auto-pilot patterns
- and reclaiming your power of choice.
So let’s dive in with one of the most contentious statements I will ever make – as part of this de-stressing course!
No one can make you feel stressed, without your permission.
Really. No one. It’s not possible.
There is no one sitting there in your head, with their finger on the ‘stressed button’. The person pressing that button is you, not them.
Yes, people can do their best to wind you up and ‘press your buttons’. Some seem to have an Oscar-winning talent for giving us fuel to feel stressed, angry, worried, hurt, upset, down-hearted or any other emotion.
But no one can actually get inside your head and make the decision to feel bad, on your behalf.
No one can actually press your stress button, without your consent.
How we feel – how we respond – is our choice; whether we like that or not.
Stress might be the easier option – your auto-pilot response – but that doesn’t mean you have to go there.
It’s always down to you.
And, of course, this doesn’t just apply to stress. It’s the same for happiness, sadness, anger, feeling inferior, feeling intimidated, worry, anxiety and any other emotion.
And there’s another layer to your Monkey Mind’s box of tricks:
Stress cannot survive without your participation.
It’s so easy for us to blame others for our stress – or external events. And yes, things can happen that are inherently stressful. But until we are ready to take 100% responsibility for how we respond to those stress triggers, we will never be able to make the shifts we’re looking for.
And taking 100% responsibility helps us to see that we have to participate in the dance, for stress to exist. It can’t survive, without you joining in with the story.
You – and only you – have the power to make changes to your stress levels.
You and only you have the power to reclaim your choice.
Sure, others can offer moral support, suggesting ‘how’ and playing the cheerleader role. But change comes from within. No one can do it for you. If we hang around waiting for someone else – or some book or some course or some guru – to manifest the changes for us, we’ll have a very long wait. Hanging around, searching for the ‘perfect technique’, the ‘right’ workshop or ‘the’ book to do it for you is effectively delegating your personal power and free will to something outside of you, beyond your control.
The choices – the actions – that are needed to create shifts in your experience of life are yours, not anyone else’s. And this is great news – because no one knows how you tick and what works for you better than you do!
The whole point of this 90 day course is to help you to reclaim your power to choose – setting yourself free from the auto-pilot stress cycle.
The first step is taking responsibility for the stress stories you have been telling yourself.
Stuck in the stress rut? Remember everything we’ve talked about so far with the stories we tell ourselves? Remember the magic question that sets you free from re-telling those old stories?
“What Do I Want Instead?”
It’s the magic key for getting you out of that stress rut and helping you to reclaim your power of choice.
I’m curious: what are your thoughts on this one?
No one can make you stressed, without your consent?
Stress can’t exist, without your participation?
You and only you have the power to make changes to your stress levels?
How about sharing in the online community – and finding out how others ‘do’ this aspect of stress?
No one can make you stressed, without your permission.
And so, moving on, it’s time for another bucket of cold water – sorry! 😉
Where do all of your problems come from…?
All problems are created by your Monkey Mind
When your mind creates a problem, your heart holds the answer. All problems are created by your mind.
Whatever is happening in life – no matter how wonderful or difficult it seems – our mind tells us how to experience it.
If we feel trapped in a situation, it’s because our mind tells us it is so. If we feel hurt by someone’s actions, it is because our mind tells us we should be. If we feel unlucky over an outcome, it is because our mind tells us we are. Our mind decides whether or not to turn the experience into a problem.
When we connect with our heart, our deeper truth and inner wisdom, we quieten down the mind’s ‘story’ and ‘drama’, opening up the possibility of connecting with a deeper wisdom. It’s our heart that offers us the chance to create solutions that are for the highest good of all involved, that lead to peace and happiness, that are created from love, not fear.
Your mind doesn’t hold the answers to the causes of your stressful experiences. Your inner wisdom does.
As Einstein famously told us: “You can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking that created them.”
In other words, you have to get out of the ‘Monkey Mind’ thinking to find solutions. And mindfulness is a fantastic tool for doing that. Playing with your mindful walking technique from this week helps you to quieten your Monkey Mind and reconnect with that deeper wisdom.
Watch Your Monkey Mind Creating Problems
Want to give it a go right now?
What’s the solution?
Mindfulness, of course! 😉
Think of one of those stress trigger and run through the ‘visualising mindful walking’ technique from last time (Day 15). Notice how things shifted?
Want to share how things shifted?
Want to have your say on the general idea that all of our problems are created by our Monkey Mind?
Where do your problems come from?
The easiest way to set yourself free from the old auto-pilot habit of letting your mind run riot with its stories is to mindfully return to the present moment.
It’s the only place you will ever find your power of choice – and it’s there, waiting for you, with each and every breath.
Finding Time To Play With Mindful Walking
One of the most common objections our mind makes when it comes to practising mindfulness techniques – or making any other kind of change – is that we don’t have enough time.
The great thing about mindful walking is that you can fit it (or variations of it) in as part of your general ‘moving around’ during the day. You don’t have to do a full ten minutes to feel the benefits, as long as you’re doing 10 minutes as often as you can, to experience how to deepend the technique.
Here are some ideas to help you find the time to do mindful walking:
- If you can’t get up and walk around, if you’re in a meeting, for example, you can visualise it.
- Some people practise it whilst walking to and from the bathroom at work
- You could do it whilst walking to your car or the train station each day
- You could make your first ten steps when you get home mindful
When and how could you fit in your mindful walking?
How creative could you get about ways, times and places to play with this?
Finding time for your mindful walking.
The more you do it, the more effective it becomes, as your body, mind and emotions start to create fast-track memories of the experience.
We’ll be coming back and adding more elements of mindful walking at key points during the 90 days.
Here’s what one student had to say:
I was practising it this morning, after dropping the kids off at school, as I was walking back to the car. I noticed that the very act of becoming conscious of my steps automatically slowed my pace a little. And this automatically slowed my mind. I felt the adrenalin of ‘have to get the boys there before the bell goes’ gently subsiding and a sense of relief started to build, as I let go of the (unnecessary!) stress.
By the time I reached the car, it had taken me an extra minute or two, compared to my normal ‘yomping speed’, but the benefits more than outweighed the ‘time cost’.
Noticing this kind of effect (and it can be different for each of us – even different each day) helps to keep us motivated as we create these mindful habits in our life: hence the ‘before and after snapshot’
That’s all for today!
Next time we’ll be looking at the power of our stories, the dangers of limiting beliefs, the number one mistake that most of us make in life, a sixty second exercise to release stressful thoughts and emotions and a simple way of deepening your experience of mindful walking.
Your next email will be with you in 3-4 days.
Wishing you a wonderful week!