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6 Steps to Manage the Mental Noise

February 20, 2014

We all experience mental chatter to some degree, but some of us experience it more persistently. These thoughts and judgments whether directed inward or toward others, about situations, or past or future concerns impede our ability to realize peace and joy in ourselves and our lives. They are often the very thing that stands in the way of achieving our goals and dreams.

Though you cannot eliminate the thoughts, there are steps you can take to help manage the noise so that it does not interfere with your life.  

  1. Observe. As the adage goes, "Whatever we resist persists". Rather than try to eliminate, avoid or fight the thought, acknowledge it, notice it, be aware of it.

  2. Separate. Distance yourself from the thought. Know that you are not the thought.

  3. Give. Give the thought attention. Give the thought compassion. Give the thought space.

  4. Inquire. Ask questions of the thought that reveal its validity.

  5. Categorize. Label the thought as helpful or unhelpful.

  6. Act.  Take the right action regardless of the thought.

Our ability to manage our thoughts is linked with our ability to manage our lives. Manage does not mean to get rid of the thoughts but to develop a necessary distance from our thoughts so they no longer get in the way. As we give the thought some attention, sit with it, offer it compassion, we begin to realize the truth of the thought. We realize whether the thought is leading us toward the life we want or away from it. We are then empowered to act in ways that fulfill us and bring us joy. Thoughts will continue to arise but they will no longer stand in the way. Let the mental chatter be your cue to practice these steps and bring you closer to the life you want.

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