Slowing down that chattering mind subvocalizing

Typically much of ones thinking process is thinking in spoken language. I have unscientifically dubbed this process subvocalizing, some people label  the process “inner dialogue“, “inner monologue“, or “thinking-to- myself“.
One  utilizes subvocalization for   problem solving, reading and writing, deciding, daydreaming, or just reflecting on an event.

Although  Zennists , such as I,work to minimize subvocalizing, it appears that subvocalization remains an important daily process.

what happens if subvocalization becomes to intense or “loud”?   What is one to do if  thoughts seem like they  are racing and speeding out of control?   The chattering is no longer a helpful tool … but an intrusive hindrance. – shifting one’s attention from the present moment or task-at- hand to wordy thoughts.

A couple tips I have learned over the years to slow down a chattering mind:

“Purge to paper” Journaling :

When having a pen and scrap-paper and a little privacy, “purge-to -paper” is helpful:
I simply write what ever I am thinking, at the present moment, on to paper – sans concerns for spelling, grammar or penmanship. If I think “I don’t know what to write” then I scribble on paper:  “I don’t know what to write“.
Preferably, after doing this exercise  for a couple minutes:  I end with emotional grammar and a couple affirmations,  just get back to an organized confident attitude.
Then I rip the paper up and throw it way… nothing to be sentimental about in this exercise.
I don’t know why journaling helps, but it usually clears my mind.
For  more   journaling tips click here.

breathing and counting:

This is a helpful tool because it requires nothing, not even privacy.

1. start with a good sized inhale.
2. Exhale and count out “ 5..4..3..2..1..0″
Count whispering while exhaling
3. Inhale through the nose
4. Exhale “5..4..3..2..1..0″ Just as number 2.
5. continue to step 3 and 4 :
I slow down my counting with each exhale

5…..4…..3……2…..1……0 slower and slower each exhale.

6. I do this for about 3 to 5 minutes or so
7. (optional) inhale, then exhale and repeating the thought: “I’m Safe” . – helpful if anxious.

– taken from the full post: Breathing and Counting Exercise.
Note: The speed I count, or the number I start with (eg, 5 or 4 or 6) is not important.

For more breathing exercise check out this page.

I’m not a doctor or a healthcare provider. These are tools I have learned in wellness management over the years. Excessive or speedy subvocalization termed “racing thoughts“, “intrusive thoughts“, “obsessive thoughts“, or “attention span” problems can be very serious. Do consult a professional if these are overwhelming. Healthcare providers can provide or prescribe many wellness tools or therapies.


About chris
I write because I'm not good at it. I share because, writing without sharing seems empty. Thus, I write and share what I think is meaningful.

4 Responses to Slowing down that chattering mind subvocalizing

  1. I call it ‘the chipmunk on the wheel’ and felt for many years that I was at its mercy until someone said “break the damn wheel”. These are good tools you’ve shared for doing just that – breaking the wheel and freeing ourselves from that incessant inner chatter.

  2. chris says:

    “freeing ourselves from that incessant inner chat”. – good phrase.
    Thanks for your comment Josse .

  3. paddy says:

    in society rarely does anyone talk of the ‘inner voice’ and its development…! why? why? why?

  4. chris says:

    Reblogged this on Pennsylvania Echoes and commented:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: