Can monkeys whisper

Dealing with stress - When the wild monkeys are circling in your head

Like a wild herd of monkeys, they rush through your head at night: worries, ruminations, fears. And nothing can stop this herd of monkeys from feeling stressful. It roars into your memory what you couldn't do. She annoys you with mind games that prophesy failure. Their screams do not let you fall asleep, do not let you come to the peace you long for. The heart is racing, it almost stumbles. And often there is no way out and no solution model in sight to send the screaming gang to another place. Anyone who suffers from such a symbolic herd of monkeys every evening has a so-called monkey mind to create.

There is always a lack of time

Kerstin is 38 years old and can no longer remember the last time she fell asleep before midnight. It is usually closer to 2 or 3 a.m. before the lights go out. When she gets up she is terribly beaten, mostly Kerstin only comes out of bed in the morning. She feels that sleep is anything but relaxing. It is a daily recurring procedure that Kerstin feels helplessly at the mercy of. Because she works as a self-employed person, she can somehow organize her rather atypical daily routine. But the bottom line is that Kerstin always lacks time.

And because she rushes through life in a rushed manner, comes chronically late and offends people, new problems arise. In the evening - in the supposed resting phase - the demonic monkeys crawl out, whisper bad thoughts in her ear and keep her busy.

The fear monkey screams the loudest

The term Monkey Mind comes from Buddhism. It describes a state in which our mental processes and thoughts are jumping around like drunken monkeys. Bringing them to reason is almost impossible. And according to ancient Buddhist teaching, the monkey screams fear loudest. This is also the case with Kerstin. Every evening she tries to read, watch TV or send messages from her smartphone until she falls asleep exhausted.

And the carousel of thought turns forever

For Kerstin this is torture: “I hardly have anything to deal with when a thousand thoughts come to mind: What do I have to do tomorrow? Should I get up and write it down? After all, I've often forgotten something, and that caused a lot of trouble. ”Then the thoughts become more and more existential and threatening. Under certain circumstances, Kerstin picks up the cell phone again to send some message into the world that is supposed to bring relief. And the carousel of thought goes on.

“Such people often lose sight of the planned, systematically ordered and systematized things during the day. And when they then step out of this pinball-like stimulus-reaction mechanism, it has a long lasting effect, comparable to an engine after a long journey. The cooling then runs for a while, ”says psychologist Ulrich Schmitz, describing such personalities who are particularly troubled by their monkey mind.

The symptoms may be particularly evident in the evening, but the causes are set during the day. The psychologist puts it in a nutshell: "If you lose sight of the planned during the day, you often panic in the evening." It is a cross-gender phenomenon. Drugs, alcohol and tablets are often used as a solution, Schmitz knows. But the ability to calm down, slow down and sometimes leave something behind is crucial for a healthy rhythm.

The tolerance for mistakes has been lost

The reasons for the restless Monkey Mind are different. Often overstrain and the urge to perfection fuel the monkey spirits. The therapist believes that the tolerance for mistakes and the tolerance for residues has completely disappeared. Mostly biographical reasons or bad working conditions have to do with “that people are not self-confident mistake makers. So that you're far too afraid of making mistakes. And then you try to be perfect and there is no such thing as perfection. And then the vicious circle is closed. "

You can only get out of there if you can deal with remaining thoughts at the end of the day. But Monkey Minds are very bad at this. In fact, it helps to focus - without pressure. In the "Huffington Post" the Buddhist meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche from Tibet explains that it is important not to compulsively stop one's carousel of thoughts. That doesn't work with thoughts and feelings anyway.

Make friends with the monkey spirit

You should try to make friends with your monkey spirit and give it a task. Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche recommends focusing on his breathing: “Breathe in, breathe out. Many thoughts are in the background. But that doesn't matter. This is not a problem. As long as you don't forget to concentrate on your breathing, everything is okay. ”Many people would have the wrong idea of ​​meditation, such as that one should not think about anything. But that is not necessary at all. One should simply concentrate on one's breathing over and over again. And you can do that anywhere and at any time.

Only you can tame the monkey yourself

It is important that a person who suffers greatly from his restless thoughts understands: Only he himself can tame the monkey! And he should, according to psychologist Schmitz, because in the long run a person who can no longer calm down is extremely deprived of his health: “You can't endure that in the long run, you become manic or can only deal with drugs keep in balance. ”For Schmitz, bogging down in TV series is also a classic escape behavior from the ape spirits - with the result that one becomes paralyzed:“ And that is a harbinger of a depressive development! ”

People need positive competition for the somber thoughts. Something pleasant that contrasts with ape fear in your free time. And it is important to consciously plan this energy reserve and implement it in a targeted manner. Meditation and mindfulness exercises are good ways to soothe your excited monkeys. Otherwise, of course, a conversation with an expert doctor will also help.

Germany sleeps badly

Sleep disorders are a common problem - especially for employees who cannot rest in the evening. Since 2010, sleep disorders among working people between the ages of 35 and 65 have increased by 66 percent. This emerges from the DAK health report 2017. According to the study by the health insurance company, every tenth employee suffers from severe problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

Chronically poor sleep endanger the health of those affected, it is said on the part of the health insurance company. If you can no longer find a good, restful sleep, it increases the risk of depression and anxiety disorders.

Even if there are numerous tips teaches how to find rest in the evening and thereby sleep better later - for example through meditation - many people resort to medication. Every second person, according to the report, buys sleeping pills without a prescription in the pharmacy or drugstore. Almost every fourth person has been taking sleeping pills for more than three years.

By Andrea Mayer-Halm / RND