How To Stop Mental Chatter

Last Updated July 15th, 2013

How To Stop Mental Chatter

By The Happy Monk

Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realise this because almost everybody else is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from being.

– Eckhart Tolle

Mental Chatter

Mental chatter is the constant noise of the mind that never seems to stop. My head is full of mental chatter – ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions floating around in a deafening cacophony of mental noise. Trying to clear your mind of mental chatter can be difficult. You try, your mind calm downs… and then suddenly another thought appears out of the blue.

The Buddhists call this monkey mind as thoughts swing from branch to branch and refuse to give us a minute of peace. Thoughts appear for a split second, then they’re gone, only to be replaced by another thought which distracts us for a second or two, before it disappears only to be replaced by another thought.

Have you noticed how our thoughts are unruly, unpleasant and chaotic, but how can we control our thoughts? How can we gain a bit of peace and quiet from the respite of endless mental chatter, if only for a few seconds of peace?

What is mental chatter?

Your may be thinking to yourself what is mental chatter? Well, it is the background noise of the mind. It’s the inner monologue (running commentary) that occurs within our minds. Many people are unaware of this mental noise, because  it has become a deeply embedded habit and it’s considered a natural and inseparable part of our daily life.

Mental noise or chatter is similar to an inner voice that often scrutinizes and analyses everything in our lives. The inner voice is negative and at times we may feel as though we can’t accomplish anything due to the incessant mental chatter. It’s a voice that just keeps talking and talking and talking!

The mind tends to repeat the same thoughts over and over again, like a scratched cd – stuck in an infinite loop. Thinking is a very useful activity and it is essential for solving problems in daily life but too often the mind has a will of it’s own. It occupies our attention with trivial matters and useless things that wastes our time and energy.

Mental noise or chatter prevents us from living the now – the present moment. It distracts us as we seem to either live in the past or the future.

How do I identify mental noise?

  1. Mental noise are thoughts that repeat themselves over and over gain like a scratched cd – stuck in a loop.
  2. You relive negative past situations often hoping that the situation could have turned out better.
  3. You begin to dwell on the past and fear the future. This prevents us from enjoying the now – the present moment. The past has gone and the future is a just an idea. The only time we have is the present.
  4. Inner monologue (running commentary) that disturbs our peace of mind.
  5. Never being totally present. We are always thinking about something even if we don’t realize it.

How to stop mental chatter

Do you suffer from mental chatter? Do you want to stop this so that you can enjoy a few moments of peace and happiness?

So, how do we stop mental chatter? To stop and gain some control over your thoughts, you will need to find the gap between your thoughts. The space between thoughts is where you will find freedom and peace from the mind.

Try it now: Close your eyes. Breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. As you breathe out, follow your breath out back into the world. If you do lose track, start over. If you do find you mind is wandering (and you will), just observe your mind wandering, then gently bring it back to your breath.

Did you find it difficult? You may get a few minutes of peace and respite then your mind will continue with it’s endless mental chatter. The mind has a will of it’s own. It shows you how undisciplined and restless the mind is.

In addition, you can also practise detachment. Do no let any external situations affect your inner peace and state of mind. In essence, it means to not let what people say or do install negativity within your mind. It does not mean becoming uncaring or indifferent – it means choosing your response to the external events outside your control.

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