Hey guys I came across this very cool article regarding mind chatter. It really brings some awareness to it!
Mind Chatter is that constant droning of thoughts that goes on in the back of the mind, continuously, all day, every day, without respite. For some it is unnoticeable. For others it is a constant source of irritation, and for others it is the basis for schizophrenic delusion. Some individuals personify the chatter and assume that it is the voices of other people telling them what to do and think and how to respond to life's challenges. Some may even think that it is the Voice Of God. Nevertheless, most people realize that this chatter is simply the process through which they think things through and discuss with themselves the pros and cons of their thoughts, feelings and actions. Still, mind chatter is more than that. It is also the process through which we inform our body as to what to express.
It is our mind chatter, over and above everything else, that the body responds to the most. It's all those thoughts, going round and round in the back of the mind that determine whether our body is healthy or sick. It can unleashe the power of genetic predisposition. What does that mean? Well, if your family has a history of cancer, your chances are better than average for developing cancer yourself. Nevertheless, the development of the disease is not based solely on damaged or broken genes or on the presence or absence of certain chemicals and hormones, but rather on your daily thought processes. This concept has been studied, not only in the development of cancer, but also in the development of a number of disabling diseases. What you think about all day long, how those thoughts effect your emotional state, as well as how you choose to act and live are all factored into the "Risk Level" for the development of specific diseases.
For instance, heart patients are grouped into two types: Type A and Type B personalities. Type A personalities are characterized by intensity, a high degree of competitiveness, hostility and impatience. This personality type is prone to conditions like high blood pressure and stress. The stress felt by type-A personalities also can weaken resistance to disease. Type B personalities, on the other hand, would not show these personality traits. Persons with Type B personalities tend to be more relaxed and not as competitive as those with Type A personality and are not as likely to exhibit the same tendencies of time urgency and anger. Although people with Type B personality are less likely to suffer from stress related illness, they must also become aware of their anger and other stressors associated with their
personality, or they too could become "at risk" for certain diseases.
What is the cause of stress, hostility and impatience? Mostly it is caused by expectations and a sense of having to succeed at any cost. It is rooted in the mind chatter that is based upon the admonishments, verbal abuses and cutting remarks that were spoken in anger, or during periods of high stress and pain. Such statements usually came from parents, care-givers, teachers, friends and siblings during our most formative years.
Mind chatter is the amalgam of all of our most engramatic experiences and is encapsulated in the words that we heard during those experiences. This is the source of our mind chatter. Mind chatter is also that force which shapes our development, mentally, physically and emotionally. It is the screen through which we judge our position in the world at large and define ourselves. If ever there is to be a cure for disease it will have to be based upon an understanding of the development of mind chatter and how to reshape it, revise it and then utilize it to redefine ourselves.
My own healing began when I began to take stock of my mind chatter and how it was effecting my decisions and my behavior. I didn't try to change it right away, I simply began to listen to it and connect it with events in my life. The first thing I had to do was to determine where such ideas came from. For instance, when I made a mistake, my mind chatter would invariably begin a litany of all of my shortcomings, and the words "dummy" and "stupid" would play over and over until I was either able to fix the mistake, or quit trying to do whatever I had trouble with. Because I was tenacious, I fought back and kept trying to complete the task until I could. That came from the "You'll never be good enough" engram, and the "I've got to prove myself worthy" engram. When the you'll never be good enough mind chatter would begin it would set off my survival response, my I'll prove myself worthy response. Most of the problems that I generated for myself were based on these two engrams and their mind chatter.
Once I realized this, I began to use "affirmations" or sayings that I would make myself say in the face of my negative mind chatter, to counteract it. Like, I love myself the way I am, or, I am good enough by virtue of the fact that I have survived, or, God doesn't make junk. I had to do a lot of affirmations for a while, just to get out of the habit of allowing my mind chatter to run me down and instill a sense of worthlessness in me.
To be quite honest, it took nearly a year to truly over-ride the self-denigrating mind chatter and rebuild my sense of self worth. Nevertheless, my mind chatter still regresses back to those old phrases when I am too angry, too lonely, too hungry or too tired. The acronym HALT that is used by the 12 step programs is actually program short-speak for hungry, angry, lonely, tired. The truth is, when you get to that point, or when two or more of these factors are working in your life, everything comes to a halt. Your recovery stops, your patience goes out the window, and your ability to have any measurable effect on your mind chatter is almost non-existent. Therefore, the first rule in taming your mind chatter is, get plenty of rest, eat well, spend a decent amount of time communicating with friends, and strive to allow others to think what they will without becoming personally effected by it. Another saying, developed through the 12 step programs "What others think of me is none of my business", is a very helpful affirmation to use in the face of anger.
Of course it's not easy! I didn't get all messed up by having easy, non-traumatic experiences, and I will not overcome the effects of those experiences by searching for an easier, softer way. Still, if you are ready for change and committed to doing whatever it takes, it becomes the easier, softer way in the long run.
Your mind chatter will go on without you, without your knowledge, and will be one of the major factors in the determination of your physical and emotional health, even if you don't believe that it exists. Therefore, the next rule in taming your mind chatter is to be honest with yourself about it. When you are doing a task and the thoughts running around in your head keep telling you that you are stupid or ineffectual or worthless, realize that this is your past trauma talking, this is your abusers talking and is NOT the truth. In order to countermand those thoughts, you will need to supply their antithesis, their opposite. The best way I found to do that, in most cases, was to develop a rhythmic saying, a chant, an affirmation that stated the truth.
Sometimes, when the chatter was exceptionally strong in my mind I would even type up these sayings and place them on mirrors, walls or on plaques over my TV, anyplace I looked a lot. Nevertheless, saying the affirmations out loud is even more beneficial, because it is through the spoken word that the destructive chatter began and through the spoken word it is most easily over-ridden.
But the best way to over ride those destructive thoughts is to re-write your past. This may sound very silly to some, but it is not only effective, it is permanent. One of my littles taught me this lesson when she successfully got rid of the "bad mother" chatter. What she did was, she told the story of how it was and then decided how she would have liked it to be. Then, she wrote that story out and shared it with others. As the result, this new past became real for her. Because she shared the story with others, they too had experienced it with her and so she could accept it as the truth. My feelings about my mother began to change very rapidly since that time. I have not only come to love her, but I have come to understand what it was that drove her to do the things she did. As the result, almost all of the mind chatter that originated with my mother no longer plays in my head.
I, myself, have come at this from another angle. I know I can re-write my past and I will probably feel better. Nevertheless, if I can look at what my mind chatter is and recognize where it came from, I can also say with honesty that what I am thinking is not the truth. This, in turn has helped me develop a means through which to bring this marvelous mind machine under some semblance of control without denying the past. The children within needed to redefine their past because the were too young to utilize reason as a tool in overcoming their pain and fear. For them, a system I call re-patterning was the answer.
On the other hand, I knew that there was an enormous amount of power trapped within those engrams. More than enough power to destroy me, if I let it, as well as more than enough through which to heal myself, if I could only find a way to tap into it and use it.
I discovered that I was spending about 20% of my time actually focused on something, be it an enjoyment like TV, or a task like writing, and that 80% of the time, my mind was chattering away about all of my concerns, all of my woes, all of my ailments, all of my pain. In fact I had what the Scientologists refer to as a "circuit". A circuit is a thought or action that plays continuously, like elevator music. The psychiatric community would call it "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder". I like Scientology's version better. Its more true to life. It really was like being caught in an electrical circuit, getting shocked, over and over. Thank God I got the help I needed to get past that. Finding the events that generated this circuit and then looking at them, as an observer, allowed me to hear the words, and know who said them and what was going on at the time, without becoming enmeshed in the feelings. This, in turn, gave me the power to step out of the loop.
There is a great deal to learn yet about the effects of mind chatter and the power that is pent up in it. All that energy, used by the mind for just chattering away about what was, or about the fears of the moment. What if we focused all that energy into being what we were created to be? Ah, but now we are getting into untrod territory. Just exactly what was it that we were created to be? I think I will deal with my views on that in my next article.