How to Control our Mind and Stop Mental Chatter

How to Control our Mind and Stop Mental Chatter

‘Will my maid come to work today, has my daughter reached college safely, what if it rains heavily, what if my husband meets with an accident, if I die who will look after my family, what if I am not able to submit my project on time, what if my boss fires me, what should I wear for the party this weekend?’ … the list is endless. The incessant chatter keeps playing in the background right from the time we wake up, or even before that, until we hit the bed at night. It does not allow us to enjoy the present; it makes us unhappy, angry, restless and anxious, and hampers our ability to concentrate as well. Yoga highlights the need to quieten this monkey mind of ours and offers various techniques and remedies to regulate our thoughts. Sutra I.2 of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali defines yoga as, “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha,” the literal translation of which is, ‘Yoga is the silencing of the modifications of the mind.’

“But, controlling the mind is the central problem,” says Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra. According to Smt. Hansaji, “The human mind has a lot of capacity to concentrate, but the more intelligent the mind is, the more it remains distracted. Therefore, the mind requires training throughout the day with utmost discipline. There is nothing wrong in thinking, but we have to direct our thinking. And when we talk of yoga. We are thinking of controlling this mind and governing the thoughts.”


Monkey Mind

10 ways to control mental chatter:

  1. Become conscious of the mental noise. Many of us are not even aware that our mind is constantly thinking.
  2. Pause and arrest the thoughts. Believe that we are in charge of our mind and our mind is not in charge of us.
  3. Filter thoughts like a gatekeeper. Allow only those in that need to be attended in the present.
  4. Engage the mind and get involved in an activity that holds our attention completely. This will divert all our energy on what we are doing and leave no space to entertain the monkey mind.
  5. Be present, live in the moment, in the ‘now’! All we have is ‘now,’ so enjoy each and every moment.
  6. Practise meditation. Initially, it will involve all the chatter that the mind is so used to. However, with regular practise and awareness, we can train our mind.
  7. Doing practices like Trataka, gazing at one fixed point, also helps to take care of the mind in spite of all the activities going on around us.
  8. Regular practices of Asanas, along with becoming aware of breathing, will train the thoughts to remain centred.
  9. Pranayama helps too, as thinking and breathing are interrelated. By practicing Pranayama, the respiratory rate decreases, and so does the frequency of thoughts.
  10. Knowing and abiding by the simple yet profound principles (Yamas and Niyamas) of yoga can also help to cure mental diarrhoea.
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