Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

By | February 4, 2018
Don't Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

The very things we do to control anxiety can make anxiety worse. This unique guide offers a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based approach to help you recognize the constant chatter of your anxious “monkey mind,” stop feeding anxious thoughts, and find the personal peace you crave.

Ancient sages compared the human mind to a monkey: constantly chattering, hopping from branch to branch—endlessly moving from fear to safety. If you are one of the millions of people whose life is affected by anxiety, you are familiar with this process. Unfortunately, you can’t switch off the “monkey mind,” but you can stop feeding the monkey—or stop rewarding it by avoiding the things you fear.

Written by psychotherapist Jennifer Shannon, this book shows you how to stop anxious thoughts from taking over using proven-effective cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness techniques, as well as fun illustrations. By following the exercises in this book, you’ll learn to identify your own anxious thoughts, question those thoughts, and uncover the core fears at play.

Once you stop feeding the monkey, there are no limits to how expansive your life can feel. This book will show you how anxiety can only continue as long as you try to avoid it. And, paradoxically, only by seeking out and confronting the things that make you anxious can you reverse the cycle that keeps your fears alive.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

  1. Amazon Customer
    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent contribution of self-help and for psychotherapists., April 24, 2017

    Sometimes we are so disconnected from nature living in concrete cities, surrounded by artificial artifacts that we forget that we are part of it and that our character, brain and biology are closely related and are the product of evolution. So that we share with other species an instinct for survival, but it has not been programmed for modern civilized life, then this mechanism makes many misperceptions of what can be possible threats, which keeps us in constant anxiety, fear, concern and stress.
    The author describes in a very clear way how it works, what triggers and what habits feed this way of survival that she names the Monkey mind, since this component of our brain “It just gets a little wild and overreactive sometimes, like a monkey” . So when this hypervigilant mechanism is activated no matter how intelligent you are all your perception is distorted by fear and it sequesters our mind.
    One of the explanations that shed more light to understand many of my reactions, including my emotional motives in decision making, is what is referred to as the monkey mid-set: Intolerance of uncertainty, Perfectionism and Over-responsibility. It is surprising that we continue to think that we are rational beings when everything really revolves around emotional motivations, feeling safe, feeling accepted and part of a tribe, not making mistakes not to be judged negatively, etc. Rationality implies our ability to justify those emotional motivations; Plan and have future strategies to anticipate emotional conflicts.
    This simple script is programmed to drive survival at all costs. It works exceedingly well for this purpose, but it leaves us feeling stress and unpleasantness much of the time. And we strive a bit much to make decisions, to make the right choices, to control all the steps to follow, overplan things, we spend a lot of time worried, wanting to make others happy. From this monkey mindset many problems arise that fill us with anxiety and fear, affect our self-esteem, our concentration to achieve goals, overworking, depression, addiction, obsessive compulsive tendencies, among others.
    To live more relaxed, enjoy the moment, raise our self esteem, live purposefully, reach our goals and manage our monkey mind Jennifer Shannon provides us with the “Expansion Strategies”. She explains how to integrate this new mind-set and how to make this expansive thinking a life experience. The monkey mind will continue to be part of us, but these strategies teach us to choose between remaining stressed and upset, or taking it as an opportunity for expansion, and claiming to live the moment in a new way.
    My gratitude to the Publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to review the book
  2. Sharon Bowman
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Humorous, insightful, and SO very practical 🙂, July 29, 2017
    Sharon Bowman (Glenbrook, NV) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry (Paperback)
    Jennifer Shannon’s superbly humorous and insightful book was just what I needed during an especially anxiety-riddled family visit I experienced. The three assumptions kicked in automatically (“I must be 100% certain. I must not make mistakes. I am responsible for everyone happiness and safety”) and I was exhausted and upset when my family finally left. Then I reread the chapters on “Purpose and Plan,” “Lowering the Stakes,” and “Practicing Praise” and immediately felt better. Now I have a plan for the next family-gathering: I’ll keep “Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind” by my bedside and read one of the helpful tips each evening so that I don’t continue feeding my own little mental monkey. I love this book! And the delightful cartoons always put a smile on my face 🙂 Thank you, Jennifer Shannon!
  3. Miss Honeybug
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    No scientific jargon, YES actual help for anxiety, August 8, 2017

    This review is from: Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry (Paperback)
    I am so grateful I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. This is a practical approach to dealing with anxiety in layman’s terms and with many relatable examples that make it easy to understand and follow. The personal experience the author has on the subject, both as a professional and as someone who have dealt with anxiety in her own life, is tangible throughout the whole book. I would strongly recommend it to, well, everyone. Because chances are, we are all hijacked to some extend by our “monkey mind” in our daily life and more often than not, we don’t even realize it. I recommend you to take your time reading it, even if it is easy to finish in a day or two. I read one chunk, took couple of days to digest the content (see how it applies in my life and things I can change) and after that I would read another chunk of information. So far the best book I have read about dealing with anxiety and my annoying thoughts that actually helped me.

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