Mind-chatter – what can you do about it?

Endless stream of restless self-talk or inner dialogue in the mind also known as never-ending commentary. We all know what it is. Another synonym (appropriate especially for times of stress) is mental noise or clutter and this is exactly what it does: clutters your mind from clear thinking.

We all know there are situations when we would do anything if only this frustration disappeared completely. Just think of those sleepless nights when you toss and turn in bed fully awake. But the more we resist the more it persists. Is there any way to stop this never-ending chatter?

Constant vigilance

The real question is whether it can be stopped at all.

In its default mode our mind is always ‘ON’ looking for solutions, explanations, possible threats or dangers. It is its duty so that it can support our survival. Therefore trying really hard to stop the mind’s incessant chatter has a completely opposite effect: it feeds the train of thoughts with even more energy.

Another problem is that the potential dangers projected by the mind are far too often imaginary. They lead to excessive and unnecessary worries and often trigger the activation of your fight-or-flight response. As it is so brilliantly described by Mark Twain:

“I’ve experienced many terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened.”

It might be worth reminding ourselves every now and then not to believe everything that emerges in our head.

So then what can you do to avoid being caught up in a mind-racing frenzy of thoughts?

Stepping back and distancing yourself from them seems to be a more attainable goal. Mindfulness offers a number of practices which allow for creating space between yourself and your thoughts.