It’s normal for our minds to buzz and chatter away but it’s also distracting. Whilst it would probably be unnerving if your mind chatter stopped completely (your mind would probably start chattering about whether or not you were still alive) there are times when it’s useful to turn down the volume or the quantity of chatter that’s going through your mind.
So, how can you quieten your mind chatter?
Talk to yourself
Start by acknowledging the chatter that’s going on in your mind.
It’s just like you – it doesn’t like to be ignored!
So if you do try to ignore it or pretend it’s not happening, there’s an excellent chance it will be like that annoying person in a room full of loud people. It will just get louder and more persistent.
Which means it’s worth setting aside some time to have a conversation with your mind. If that’s not convenient at this precise moment (and it rarely is) then book a time slot for later. But make sure you keep the appointment.
Whether you have that conversation inside your head or out loud will depend on circumstances. Mostly it’s not socially acceptable to talk to yourself but if you’ve got a room where you have privacy, it can be quite a fun exercise.
Write things down more often
Part of the reason for our mind chattering is that it doesn’t want us to forget things.
Our mind isn’t exactly the most organised thing in the world – you’ll know that from those times where something has been on the tip of your tongue but refuses to be vocalised. Or from the times when you’ve woken up in the middle of the night with some fantastic idea that just can’t wait until your normal wake up time.
Putting things down on paper or using electrons to transfer them to your phone notes or computer hard drive works nicely.
Your mind can relax about that item.
Even if both of you know that you’ll never look at the piece of paper again or remember what the file was called.
The thing your mind was chattering about has been stored somewhere more convenient than some undetermined neural pathway.
And your mind gets slightly quieter in the process.
Meditation is an ancient practice that helps us to quell all those distracting things in our minds, including the chatter that is going on incessantly.
You could simply sit down, close your eyes and let your mind quiet itself.
Or you could do like I do and put on a meditation MP3 and listen to it, letting the high tech sounds take your mind to a quieter state.
There are lots of different ways to meditate – I’ll often do a walking meditation when I’m going from A to B because it’s simple and doesn’t take any extra time out of my day.
Figure out which method (or methods) you prefer and then do them on a reasonably regular basis.
You’ll find that your mind chatter slows down as a beneficial side effect of doing that. It’s good for lowering your stress levels as well, so it’s win-win.
Change the voice and it’s position
The voice that’s babbling away in your head is your own construct.
You’re creating it – you’ve given it a tone of voice, a volume and a position.
So you can change it.
With your chattering mind’s permission (ask it rather than tell it, maybe suggest it as a game), experiment with changing where the voice is, how loud it is, how fast it’s chattering and where in (or out) of your body it’s coming from.
Then play a game of hide-and-seek with it.
Or whatever else works nicely for you.
When you find a voice and place and volume for your mind chatter that works nicely for both you and your mind, keep with it.
This may take a few experiments to get “just right” and there may be several different “just rights” depending on what your mind chatter is trying to tell you. But it’s well worth the effort.
Changing our “state” is another way to change the chatter in our minds.
In NLP (neuro linguistic programming) it’s also called a pattern interrupt because that’s precisely what it’s doing – it’s breaking the pattern that you were running and substituting it with a different – hopefully more productive – pattern.
This can be as simple as going for a walk round the block, driving to a local beauty spot (or even just admiring the view from the top of your local multi-storey car park), playing a short meditation or hypnosis track or anything else that takes you from where you currently are to somewhere else.
If you’ve got a spare 16 minutes, download this hypnosis track to help quieten your mind.
It’s quick, easy and works remarkably well.