The monkey mind is a term used often by meditation and yoga experts to describe how our brains work on an everyday basis. We have about 65,000 thoughts a day. No wonder it’s busy in there! Some of those thoughts are fantastically helpful in moving us forward in our lives and enjoying the moment. However, lots of them are ‘old programming’ which we no longer think consciously about because we have repeated the thought many times, we are on autopilot. Still others, belong to our primitive brain, fixated on desires (like sex, drink and food!) and fears based on the survival instinct. Those less conscious thoughts often lead us off the path of our master plan for ourselves. We build our master path for what we want in life using our higher brain. It includes all the things we intend to create until we get off track by following by our desires, fears or old programming. Being able to stick to the master path with limited deviation is the way to get more of what we want.
Coaching is about becoming aware of these thoughts and how they skew our perspective about what is possible for us. Once we understand them, we can adapt to something that suits our current situation, opportunities and challenges better.
For creating a more mindful approach to life, one of the things that I do is to self-coach using a tool I have adapted from the thought model by Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School. I have outlined the way I use it below and give an example of perspective I changed recently. My coaches give me stronger and faster results in coaching sessions, but this way, I keep making progress on training my monkey brain every day.
The way I use self-coaching is to do a brain dump each morning in my journal of the things that are in my mind at present or have occurred to me since I woke up. Some are helpful, and some are not. I then pick one that I would like to change.
I separate the situation (the facts that no-one would dispute with me) and then write down my thoughts about it. In reviewing those thoughts and the circumstances which might have created them, I look for the facts of whether my interpretation was accurate when I first began to develop that belief or opinion.
Once I am clear on the main thought in that situation, I then look at how those thoughts make me feel. It sounds woo woo but at this point for best results allow yourself to feel what those feeling are, name them one by one and write them down. The more we are willing to feel our negative emotions, the less power they have to take us off our master path. What we resist persists. So having the courage to feel those negative emotions helps make us more resilient. No-one ever died from a feeling, but we are trained to avoid them.
Once we are clear on our feelings, we look at what actions we are taking as a result (because actions come from feelings which come from thoughts). Those actions are producing your current results. Write them down.
Now we come to the desired results. We reverse the model and start with the results that we want to have. Write them down and then write the actions you would need to take to get those results. Then write down the feeling you would like to have, which would generate the activity. Finally, write down the thought that would create that feeling. The new thinking is a replacement for your old belief. Keep repeating it to yourself whenever the situation comes up.
My example from this weeks self-coaching was Monday when I had multiple things to do, including three trips into Auckland this week. I was feeling overwhelmed, and a bit scared that it would be too much for me, and I would have angina pain again this week. I was able to reframe my thinking by creating the thought that I am a great time manager (I am!) and focus on the most important things and let myself be calm throughout the week. Now its Friday and I managed to do everything necessary without the feeling of overwhelm and fear. I feel a bit tired, but I’m fine, and I’m going to reward myself with a nice relax this afternoon.
If you want to understand more about self-coaching and learn the model, get in touch by booking on my website – I’m happy to do a free Discovery session for you.