Friday, 19 August 2011

Monkey Mind

I completed the CBT course for GAD and am doing quite well. Each time I begin to worry excessively I leave the worry to Worry Time. I am more able to problem solve and challenge my worrisome thoughts. Accepting uncertainty is slightly easier than it used to be but still a frightening thing - the not knowing! All in all it is going well.

However, since stopping all the constant worrying another problem which I had previously been aware of has been further highlited to me. I have terrible concentration and mental discipline! My mind is more peaceful (joy!) but I have found that, after of years of giving in to compulsions and thinking what my mind tells me I must, I have almost no concentration. Before I had the constant worries going over and over in mind like a tape playing over and over but when my mind is free of that such as at the moment I still have jumping thoughts and no discipline. My mind does still gravitate to worries, fears and often negativity. I manage to postpone the worrying but my mind is still jumping around with doubts etc.. How do I tame my "Monkey Mind" as it is called? The constant chattering. How do I learn to concentrate after years of not doing? Any tips please? I am using mindful awareness at the moment. I have recently been trying to think in practical terms and not to allow my mind to wonder too much i.e. focus on what I am doing right now. When this works I feel good. It enables me to concentrate on what I am doing while preventing the worrisome thoughts, fears and negative thinking etc..


  1. No great ideas, but for me, hobbies or activities I love are good. Running or walking, with music, keeps my mind pretty focused. Knitting often does, too.

    A good tv show or movie.

    At work, I'm still totally a scatterbrain, since watching tv at work is frowned upon. :)

  2. Hi! I have found that over the past few years my concentration and "sharpness" have dwindled quite considerably. I think anxiety, panic and OCD tend to do that to us. SOme good tips are to read, watch Jeopardy, play word games and puzzles, force your brain to concentrate and it will slowly follow.

    As far as the racing thoughts, worry, etc, what I have found out is that since we have OCD, they will probably never go away completely. What we have to do is practice what we have accomplished in CBT and ERPT. I look at my anxieties like they are a TV in the next room, I can't turn them off but I don't have to listen to them, I don't have to focus on them.

    Also, what helps me is that when my mind gets to racing and I feel anxiety close to panic, I tell myself that it is not going to last and I ride it out. It NEVER lasts, and I always make it out on the other side, whether it takes hours or days.

    Also, don't avoid anything! Even if you have to drag yourself out of your house, or deal with immense anxiety while doing said activity, avoidance is not good for us OCD sufferers. DO WHAT MAKES YOU ANXIOUS!

    Hope my suggestions helped you, they have helped me immensely.

  3. Thanks to both for your very helpful comments. What is ERPT please? I think it is useful to acknowledge anxieties while also not engaging with them. I try to let them go and focus on something else. It takes practise of course. I try never to avoid anything as it prevents me from proving that I can do things and that they are actually not that scary really.

  4. ERPT- Exposure Response Prevention Therapy, very similar to CBT.