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How to Switch Off Mental Chatter

Quieting your Internal Gossip can help you get the rest you need

by Jannette Tibbs  |  11499 views  |  3 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Something I come across over and over again in my practice as a holistic therapist are the two main culprits of "dis-ease": mental unquiet and lack of sleep.

The two are related of course.

Without mental peace, we can rarely enjoy deep, rejuvenating sleep. That then leads to a lowered immune system, and all of the related problems that go with it.

So, how do you go about switching off the chatter when you’ve simply tried everything? Well, have you really tried everything?

Most people who suffer from unstoppable internal chatter are also compulsive analysers, people who inherently feel that they are responsible for everything, and even their own internal monologue reinforces their feelings of obligation. Not wanting to burden anyone with their problems, they show those around them a very convincing façade, one that only slips during the moments of complete "cave in," when their frustrations have piled so high they are unable to keep back the waves of emotion that really, really, really need to crash onto a shore!

The outlet for most of us confronted by a phase or bout of mental-merry-go-round is to seek out our confidant and "spill it." We verbalise our questions, misgivings, ideas, and approaches to the problems or situations we are encountering. This open process is extremely healthy.

But what about the Internal Gossip? That part of your personality that tells you to keep your "secrets" and problems to yourself? The part of you that says you know best, or you ought not to burden others with your own stupid worries? The challenge here is to take charge and set your Internal Gossip straight. It involves them standing up to a part of yourself that you may have grown to trust, listen to, and confide in completely. Losing this kind of relationship with your internal self may feel like abandonment, but it is the only definitive way to create a healthy mindset. And it will take time, too.

Support for your emotions during a time like this is paramount, and there are several therapies you can try, including:

1.) A directed meditation, like Yoga Nidra or a Visualisation recording, where you are instructed to relax specific areas of the body at specific times, or to imagine specific situations and places at specific times. This teaches you to take direction from a source other than your Internal Gossip, be it a real person or a recorded voice.

2.) Walking. It is simply the best kind of therapy available. Walking outside in nature offers you a chance to be consciously with your internal gossip, in a free and uninhibited space. Your internal dialogue is now unable to keep your interest for long because you have other stimuli vying for your attention. "Earthwalking" is a kind of therapy that involves tracing your steps in a pattern that repeats until you have come to a state of Peace within. The figure eight, the Infinity Symbol, is a simple and powerful first pattern to try, and is soothing in shape as well.

About the Author

Jannette operates her own consultancy, and is dedicated to observing and practicing commonsense approaches to good health, in all aspects, and is a passionate advocate of subtle therapies.

Read more by Jannette Tibbs

3 comments so far...

  • I definately agree walking is the best. Once it got cold out and I couldn't take my daughter out for walks, I noticed an extreme loss in the amount of rest I was getting at night. An evening stroll is just so peaceful and just is a wonderful way to end the day. I usually walk with my mother as I push the stroller and it's a great time for just us girls to spend some quiet time together.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 13th February 2008

  • Thank you for writing this article, although I have to say that after reading the first part of the article, it was like looking into a mirror! You pegged me! I have been having stomach issues and went to the dr, one thing I have to do is take better care of myself and exercise more (I love to I just have a hard time finding time with 3 kids). Thank you for just reiterating the importance.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Shelleen McHale on 13th February 2008

  • Thank you for the tips! When our weather clears, I'll try walking again. It really clears my mind. For now, it's just the treadmill.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 26th January 2008