#AtoZChallenge | J is for Juggling thoughts and calming my monkey mind.

Monkey mind is a real thing. “According to Buddhist principles, the “monkey mind” is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused.” (Raab, 2017)

I may know shockingly little about Buddhist principles but the monkey mind is something to which I can easily relate, at least the restless part. My mind flutters through to-do-list tasks, random snippets of memories and various unrelated passing thoughts with a disconnected, accelerated pace most of my waking hours.

I’m ready to make peace with it. I’ve handed my monkey mind an olive branch and asked it to pull up a chair and slow down to enjoy a quiet moment with me.

I started practicing meditation every day in an attempt to quiet my mind. Let me be clear: I’ve been practicing quite poorly, but I am practicing.

I am reading “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” and following their well laid out meditation plan. There are many other meditation practices available. It’s definitely a trending topic these days. I’m sure this is in part because of the unprecedented level of distraction we all live with each day.

I don’t know which one will ultimately align best for me, but I’m starting with the meditation practice outlined in the book. Otherwise I’ll be lost in inertia, still searching for the perfect one to try instead of actually doing it.

Meditation has been shown to be great for your health. Some of the key areas I am hoping to see an impact on through my meditation practice include:

  • Increased Happiness
  • Decreased Anxiety
  • Stress Management
  • Improved Memory and Mind Health
  • Better Focus and Increased Attention Span

That last bullet point I am especially focused on right now. In our age of technology and social media, I really have seen my attention dissipate, which I don’t think is healthy. I rarely watch TV without my phone in hand surfing endlessly for nothing, leading me from one rabbit hole to another. Multi-tasking is another bad habit I am working to break.

I am hoping meditation will help me in this area, although I have a ways to go.

As part of the meditation practice, the book encourages you to work on being mindful when doing a routine task such as brushing your teeth. On one of my attempts, my mind kept drifting through random scenes from Legally Blonde, a movie I haven’t seen in a decade. Every time I refocused, my mind wandered again and thought instead of Elle Woods. Why? I have no idea. The monkeys in my head probably do.

A quote from Gretchen Rubin that I related to when my girls were young was “the days are long but the years are short”. It resonated when I was a new mom as the days really did feel like they would never end but the years flew by in a blur.

As I’ve gotten older, I would probably update the quote to say the days are short too. That’s what happens when you have less time remaining. I believe meditation will help me stay focused on the small moments, breath more slowly and make both my days and years feel a little longer.

Why does meditation bring me bliss? I’m a meditation newbie so I don’t know that I have experienced bliss with it yet, but I fully believe that the ability to stay in the moment is essential to true happiness.

Do you meditate? Have you found it helpful?

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I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.


Raab, D. (2017). Calming the Monkey Mind. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201709/calming-the-monkey-mind [Accessed 3 Mar. 2020].

18 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | J is for Juggling thoughts and calming my monkey mind.

  1. Tamara says:

    So interesting there’s a name for what I have been experiencing! Looks like I’m the Mother of all Monkey Minds! Relaxing, let alone Meditating is super hard for me. So many thoughts!

    What scene of Legally Blonde did you think of? It’s one of my favorite movies! And may I just clarify, her correct name is “Woods Comma Elle” ;-))))

    Happy Weekend 🙂

    My J is about Switzerland’s Justice System: https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2020/04/a-z-2020-switzerland-justice-system.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      Thank you for the clarification – too funny! It wasn’t a specific scene but more like one of those highlight reels going from scene to scene. I think my mind may be telling me I should rewatch the movie? It is a good one!

      Like

  2. Frédérique says:

    Hmmm, looks like I have a monkey mind too 😉 I do meditate, alone with a voice recorded. But I did participate to 3 meditation classes, and the last one had THE effect on me. It was the first time ever I was able to let it go totally. I guess this is thanks to her very soft and very monocorde voice.
    J is for Jewelry

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dyannedillon says:

    I get that last bullet point. I’ve gotten so attached to my phone that I feel jumpy without it, even if it’s just in another room.
    I just watched a talk my Dr. Becky Bailey, who developed Conscious Discipline. She explained that jittery feeling really well. The talk is geared towards dealing with kids, but it works for anyone. https://consciousdiscipline.com/e-learning/webinars/covid-19-stress-how-uncertainty-affects-our-brains/ if you’re interested in listening to her. It’s 30 minutes but you can listen and don’t need to watch her. I’m going to listen to it again this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Romi says:

    I’ve been interested in mindfulness for about eight years, and I sometimes practice simple meditation. ( I’ve read “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.) –I’ve found it very helpful. –I wish I could practice it more often.
    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of mindfulness.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mikaela D'Eigh says:

    Meditation is so important for me to calm my “mokey mind” as well. I hadn’t heard that term before, but it fits so well! I’m a chronic over thinker anyway, but these days have shifted it into overdrive. Focusing on my breathing and meditating and writing things out is the only thing that lowers my blood pressure and quiets my mind. Another lovely piece – I really do like your writing style. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stu says:

    Meditation is something I try to practice. When I notice my mind wandering, I don’t beat myself up for it. I notice it, accept it, and refocus on my breathing &/or the guided meditation.
    I’m trying to up my game in this. Problem is, the last guided mediation lulled me to sleep 2/3rds of the way through. Good part: one of the most peaceful naps ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      The practice I have been doing stresses again and again that it’s okay for your mind to wander. That’s what minds do. The key is to do exactly what you outlined and refocus again. Sounds like your last meditation wasn’t a good fit but glad you got a good nap in!

      Like

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