“Monkey brain” syndrome is running wild due to excessive multi-tasking and mindless activities fueled by addictive technology, media stimulation, social networking mania and everyday life demands. Engaging with this frantic craziness has diminished our ability to complete simple tasks accurately, think clearly, accomplish a fulfilling day’s work, maintain a healthy body, develop meaningful relationships, grow and have fun. We may be losing control of our most important asset…Focused Brain Power.
You probably have some “monkey brain” behavior going on if you can relate to three or more of these symptoms:
- Rarely staying on-task longer than 10 minutes
- Checking email or texting more than 5 times an hour
- Feeling like you are losing your mind
- Can’t remember what you did 30 minutes ago
- Difficulty solving problems and making decisions
- Pulled in too many directions
- Life is out of control
- Not enough time to get things done
- Making frequent mistakes
- Nearly impossible to quiet your mind
- Strained relationships with people you care about
Your brain is an electrochemical organ capable of generating as much as 10 watts of electrical power. Electrical activity is displayed in four categories of brain waves. An active and engaged brain generates high frequency, low amplitude Beta waves, typically in the range of 14.0 – 40.0 cycles per second (cps). Many people find it difficult to focus and concentrate at the higher Beta frequencies. It is easier to think deeply, learn, solve challenging problems and make important decisions at lower brain frequencies. The high Beta range frequencies are what we refer to as the “monkey brain” state. The next lower brain frequency range is Alpha (7.5 – 14.0 cps: relaxed, super learning); then, Theta (4.0 – 7.5 cps: drowsy, creative); and the lowest, Delta (0.5 – 4.0 cps: sleep, dreaming).
Emergency First Aid
To escape your “monkey brain”, you must lower your brain wave frequency. This may include a combination of closing your eyes to remove visual cortex brain activity, breathing deeply and rhythmically to oxygenate, taking a walk for more oxygen and relaxation and playing restful classical music. These actions are your escape key to get your head together with increased, creative, focused thinking.
Set aside an hour to be alone with yourself in a quiet and peaceful place. Perhaps a park, art museum, library or comfortable room comes to mind. Think about the following questions:
- What can I eliminate that yields no or low value?
- What do I want more of that brings me fulfillment?
Write your answers and read them aloud. This step is your navigation system for change. Think about how you spend a typical day. Estimate how much time you spend on each activity, the reason why you do this specific thing and the benefits you get back. Getting a clear picture of the outcomes from your daily activities is the key to “taming your monkey brain.” You must eliminate unneeded and wasteful activities. Strive to spend more time on what gives you greatest value. When you get rid of something, invest this time wisely and don’t fall into the trap of adding more “monkey brain” activities.
The litmus test for taming your monkey brain is being able to say that today’s activities are giving you outcomes you will be happy with one year from now. Living a fruitful and happy life is truly an “inside game.” Remember to do the taming strategy exercise every 30 days or more. You can trust practical neuroscience for a better and less stressful life.
Knowing yourself extends to understanding how your brain is wired and how to use it for a meaningful life. Self-awareness of your brain potential and understanding of how you’re wired for super performance is your secret weapon.