Monkey Mind vs. Matcha
Clear Head, Full Heart, Can’t Lose
….. Or that’s pretty much it anyways. Clearing your mind will help you in many facets of your life. It can help to improve immunity, get you a better night’s sleep, better focus, and even boost your creativity. So, it’s pretty safe to say that investing some time in mind-clearing activities is well worth it. But, what do we mean by a clear mind? A clear mind is a brain free of stress and tension that bounces back quickly from mentally strenuous situations. Sounds like a pipe dream, right? Nope, we gotcha there.
Having a clear head is primarily about making intentional choices to calm your thoughts and practice mindfulness. We’ve all been in stressful situations before, so we all know the feeling of having our brains replay negative thoughts over and over again. Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, stressful situations are sometimes unavoidable, but becoming "stuck" and thinking about an unpleasant circumstance doesn’t do you any favors. In fact, if you’re in a stressful situation, maintaining a clear head is the best way to make a good decision or solve the problem. That being said, we know that letting go of negative emotions, whatever they may be is easier said than done.
It’s Just Monkey Business
What is Monkey Mind?
In Buddhism, this whirling and repetitive state of mind is referred to as the monkey mind. And, monkey mind comes in all shapes in sizes. Fear monkeys. Stress Monkeys. Restlessness Monkeys. There are more than enough problematic primates to go around. In Buddhism, it’s the aspect of your brain, most intertwined with the ego, that tells you that can’t get the job done. For some, it may look like hesitation for taking on a big project. For others, it may be something more like finding it impossible to relax or focus on one thing. It can even be something as fleeting as “don’t try that, you won’t be good at it.”
Monkey mind also increases distractions, smothers creativity, and prevents you from pursuing your passions. Because of this, it’s hard to ignore and overcome. It takes a lot of self-control to silence the monkey mind and achieve a clear head. We’re talking lifelong monk kind of self-control... But if you want to get things done in life, you’ll need to learn how to stifle the monkey mind. And, luckily there a couple things you can do to help you a little along the way.
Silencing Monkey Mind
How to Clear Your Head
We would all love to be calm, centered, and serene but life gets in the way, and somewhere along the lines we find ourselves with a bad case of monkey mind. How do you quiet your own brain?
The most important thing you can do to counteract the monkey mind is to be mindful. Seems like a bit of a cop out right? It’s not at all. Simply being aware of monkey mind and confronting these thoughts directly is absolutely essential in overcoming it. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t address it. Completing a single task in a mindful manner can also be a restorative way to clear negative thoughts and get back in touch with yourself.
We suggest trying something like cooking a healthy meal, going on a walk, or even cleaning a room. While performing these actions, try to immerse yourself in them completely. For example, on a walk, use all of your senses to absorb your surroundings and stay connected to the present. Or, while cooking, perform your food prep with careful intent and enjoy the process of creating a meal.
Another option to combat the nefarious monkey mind is to meditate. While practicing mindfulness involves slowing down and focusing on one thing, meditation is stopping completely. This may seem like an impossible task when plagued with monkey mind, but if you want to have a clear head, it is necessary. And, there is no meter of success for meditation. If you took the time to stop and calm yourself and your mind, that is a successful meditation. You don’t need to completely clear your thoughts to experience the benefits of meditation. That will come with time.
Monkey Mind Has Met Its Matcha
How Matcha Can Help You Calm Your Thoughts
We won’t get too much into the science of it here, but matcha is a great tool for calming your mind (If you do want to read about the science behind it, you can get your fill here). Because of its unique combination of L-theanine and caffeine, it allows you to be alert without being overactive, an essential ingredient for both having a clear head and meditation. And, even the preparation of your favorite matcha drink can be an opportunity to practice a moment of mindfulness.
When we make our morning matcha, we like to practice mindful movements and focused feelings, such as the motion of whisking or the feeling of a warm cup in our hands. In addition to this, if you’re a coffee drinker who regularly struggles with monkey mind, switching to matcha alone can be enough to help clear your thoughts. Matcha has none of the anxiety or jitteriness of coffee and plenty of energy to get you through the day. When monkey mind is afoot, matcha is always there to put it in its place.