What is Head Chatter?
Are you familiar with that voice inside your head, oftentimes referred to as ego or self-talk? You know, that voice inside your head that’s hard to tell if it’s yours or not and talks obsessively about what you should be doing, how you feel about something, what that person thinks about you, and so on. Likewise, how often do you allow the chatter to grow incessantly or do you take control and calm that voice down? If you answered to the former, would you like a simple tool that could assist you in calming the voice down and getting down to the core of all of that commotion? If so, I invite you to keep reading to learn how the simple tool of keeping a journal can assist you in acknowledging, activating, and letting go of the mindless chatter! (Hint: You will be letting go of the majority of it!)
Most people don’t realize that the mind constantly chatters. And yet, that chatter winds up being the force that drives us much of the day in terms of what we do, what we react to, and how we feel. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Yes, it’s that simple!
Yes, you heard that correctly; and it is that simple. How exciting is that? First, let me guess, you are one of those people that overthinks everything and this can’t be the end all answer? Oh wait, I was speaking about myself. I remember hearing this advice from multiple people during the beginning phases of my self-discovery journey.
There were days that I would allow this chatter to go non-stop, sending me into that dark rabbit-hole. I would begin to believe that chatter because it was saying the “right” thing all of the time! It was like a broken record that repeated the same thing (maybe would change up the tone a bit) but it would be the same general statements.
The beginning for me
A friend once advised me to write the chatter out. “That’s too easy!” I thought to myself. That’s not going to help anything, hence I chose at that time to not do anything. Keeping a journal wasn’t new to me, using it to expose the chatter…that’s what was new! I thought the journal was the place to put down my deep dark secrets or make my obligatory entry for the day about what I was up to. Therefore, I did not believe that this was the simplest answer to my head chatter problem!
Fast forward a few years, and many rabbit-hole adventures! Of course, this advice showed up again from another friend. Instead of squashing it like the last time, I felt more open and wondered, “What if this could actually work? What if this was the way to assist with all of this crazy head chatter that was stopping me from doing things that I knew I was capable of?”
So I guess this is when I eat my words and secretly thank that friend of years ago for this magical and oh so simple advice! This one tip has literally changed my world and I am here to offer you my advice and some tips on how you can use this tool to transform yours!
Without further delay, here you have it! My 5 tips for using writing to stop the head chatter and begin creating the life you deserve:
1. Morning Me Time
First of all, let’s talk about you! You all know those mornings where you race out of bed and jump instantly into your routine; doing the same thing you did yesterday and the day before! You’re on auto-pilot, already thinking about the to-do’s of the day. You’re thinking about the dream(s) or lack of dreaming you had over the night. Maybe you’re thinking about that conversation you had with your mother the day before. Yup…the head chatter is already starting up!
What can you do? Certainly the most important thing you can do, is wake up and take the first 5 minutes of your morning to sit with your journal. Write exactly what comes up for you. Don’t worry about punctuation or pretty handwriting, simply write what comes up. Allow your mind to chatter and see what ends up on the paper. You’re giving your mind the permission to unleash for these 5 minutes. Ready, Set, Go! Freeway is wide open!
Why is this important? We all can probably agree that the mind chatter is going to happen, right? You’re giving it permission to go and you’re also giving yourself a time limit which forces an end point. You’re not judging the thoughts that come up, you’re simply releasing them as they come up on paper. Do this exercise for 3-5 days straight. I promise you will see a pattern of what is coming up. This is the beauty of putting it on paper. Your virgin morning mind will reveal where and what you focus your thoughts on. By acknowledging it, you will become aware of the chatter and realize that it is only ego talking, it’s not you, and you are not your thoughts.
2. Question and Answer
This is one technique I use quite often. If you’re like me, Google has been my go-to place when searching for answers. In fact, I use it far too often that my husband and I have a game where we can’t use Google for 24 hours if we have a fun trivia game going on. You know those games where you ask questions like “who played in X movie?” “Who was the lead singer of X band?” You get my drift, right? Where else do you typically get your answers from? Curious what I feel different outside influences are? Check out my other blog post Questions of the Soul.
Furthermore, have you considered that any answer you are seeking lies within you? Next time you have a question to something, close your eyes, take a deep breath, ask the question, then sit there in silence, continue breathing, and wait for the answer. At first, you will experience that crazy chatter going on. The typical “this is silly, you know you can just google this shit!” Or “come on, man, you really don’t know the answer to this one? Think, think, think…” After you give that chatter some space to let lose, your answer will come to you; hence, use your journal as a tool to release the chatter or simply be prepared for when the answer does come to you so you can capture it on paper!
3. Document the ideas – 22.214.171.124.1 GO!
Next up, have you heard of the 5 Second Rule, by Mel Robbins? I learned about this tool a couple years ago and I have “tried” to use it often, and as a result of the “trying,” I failed often. Similarly, I have been notorious for counting down and then saying…meh…I’ll do it later or I’ll remember that later. As a result of this trying, I have chosen my word for 2019 to be IMPLEMENTATION because I’m tired of the “trying,” Trying is not doing and does not get you the results you are looking for. Okay, off my soap box.
So how can this 5 second rule help with the head chatter? As you began to acknowledge and become aware of your common head chatter, you will simply start paying attention to what’s being said inside your head. When you “hear” something that is that A-HA moment, write it down within 5 seconds. I use Evernote in my phone and I also carry a small notepad with me everywhere I go. You never know when that bright idea will the THE IDEA!
4. Visualize the Positives, Release the Negatives
My ego friend is typically not kind to me. The chatter usually reminds me of where I am failing or not doing what I know I should or could be doing. Who else is with me on this one? How do we began to change it? First, simply acknowledge that the voice inside your head is NOT YOU! Next, use this tool to start re-wiring those thoughts and change from a negative to a positive.
First, sit down with your journal and on the piece of paper draw a line down the middle. On one side, write a + sign and on the other side, write down a – sign. Close your eyes and visualize something you desire in life. This could be something tangible, a business goal, a new house, a new boyfriend..you get my point. Be in the moment as you sit there with this desire and imagine what it would feel like to already have this desire. What are you wearing? Who are you talking to? What are you saying? What is the feeling inside of you? I bet you’re smiling and feeling pretty good, right?
Now open your eyes and begin writing what comes to your mind. If it’s something that feels good, write it down on the positive side. Not so good? Write it down on the negative side. Continue to write comments, ideas, and any thoughts that come to you immediately after your visualization. When I first started doing this activity, my negative side was HUGE as I had so many thoughts around not being deserving of obtaining that thing. I had many thoughts of how stupid this exercise was and I would bet that you will have similar thoughts too! Next, honor those negative thoughts, but say them out-loud in the positive/opposite form. Continue to do this exercise daily with the same desire or with different desires. You will notice that the negative comments are very similar to each other regardless of the visualization.
Additionally, over time, you will see the negative list will begin to shrink because you will be in the habit of observing the thoughts that don’t serve you and slowly the majority will go away or transform.
5. Free Flow
Finally, my last tip of this post! When was the last time you grabbed your journal or a piece of paper and simply let it flow? Forget about grammar and spelling; forget about your handwriting, just let it flow. We talked about doing this first thing in the morning for 5 minutes, but in all actuality, this can be done at any time. If you’re feeling head heavy, take a few minutes to just write and get it out. Don’t judge whatever comes out, just GET IT OUT!
Here’s the beautiful thing about this technique, you don’t even have to read it again. There are many times that I write and let it go. You’ve heard of people burning their intentions, what about burning the head chatter? Of course, if you choose to physically burn, please do it safely. I’m more of a crumple it up and throw it away type of gal, but you do what feels good for you!
Also, the reason I like this method is because people typically think that journaling has to be a to-do. Journals create years and years of memories for generations to read, so you have to be more conscious on the content you’re writing about. This thought process can feel like a burden. You have to only capture the nuggets of value; the “stuff” that people will want to read. GUESS WHAT?!?! That’s not the sole purpose of a journal! Sure, it’s great to capture these memories for others to read, but the journal is 100% yours, so use it in whatever way feels good to you. This write and release method is one way to get that chatter out of your head. Free up that space so you can really “hear” your soul’s words!
Above all, my advice to you, is just like anything, it takes practice to create habits and begin to see changes. Commit to yourself today to start observing and writing about your head chatter. Do all five of these techniques, or pick one that feels good to you and do it every single day!
What are some other techniques that you have used to organize the chatter? Leave a note!