155: Nick Onken – Taking Out Your Mind Trash


“It’s that monkey brain chatter of worry, fear, and anxiety, and all the thoughts that come from worrying about the future and regretting the past.”

Hey, guys! Welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio). In this podcast, we explore the body, mind, and soul of the creative entrepreneur. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!

This is an important topic for creatives. Your mind can be your worst enemy or your best friend, depending on how you treat it.

We might have had our fair share of mental health issues because of the work we do and the way we think about what we create. Sometimes, it feels like there are too many thoughts in our heads—which may not all be good. They may be based on our failures in the past or the anxiety of what the future might bring. Whatever it may be, it can be a frustrating cycle that keeps us from creating our moments and, most importantly, our lives.

In this episode, I talk about the causes and the effects of all these negative things in our minds. I also share a simple way I was able to take charge of my thoughts so I could get back into the rhythm of things again without feeling that I am not enough. If you also believe that you can be the author and the director of your lives and want to learn how, let’s dive in!

Monkey Brains And Rabbit Holes

Have you heard about the monkey brain? The monkey brain refers to the primitive part of the brain that is responsible for our instincts and urges. It makes us jump to conclusions without rational thought, make up stories to fill in gaps when we get bored or stressed, and take risks with little regard for safety or likelihood of success. It’s not a flattering portrait, but it does provide an intriguing insight into why we do what we do.

The problem with this chatty primate inside our heads is that he doesn’t know how to take a break from his own thoughts. This leads us into going down into a rabbit hole of negative thought patterns and making up stories in our heads about things that haven’t even happened yet. We always feel anxiety and stress because there are never any breaks from the fears and all the thoughts that come from worrying about the future or regretting the past. With all these thoughts and worries clogging up our minds, it’s hard to see the sky for all the clouds.

Also, when we allow these monkey chats to go on for too long, we’ll get trapped in our own self-created prison. The monkey will keep us inside of that prison, and he won’t let anything else enter his kingdom to bring light or happiness into our lives.

I’m not saying that we should never think about what’s going to happen tomorrow or reflect on what happened last week or even last year. Reflection is good and it’s an important a part of life, but I think that we shouldn’t let it take over our days to the point where we can’t enjoy what’s happening in front of us.

Remember that it can be really easy to get caught in a rabbit hole of negativity if we don’t stop these anxious thoughts from taking over our lives. This habit will lead us into a downward spiral where anxiety overtakes us.

How Thoughts Alchemize Life And Health

With the monkey brain constantly generating worry and anxiety, we might have the constant feeling of getting overwhelmed. There’s no time for restful sleep because we are always on guard against something bad that could happen in the future if we don’t vigilantly stay on top of everything right now. We spend our days jumping from one task to another with barely a moment to pause, and we’re constantly dealing with the emotional baggage from our past. Then one day, we wake up realizing that we’re sick or that our health is already suffering.

This is a scenario that Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about in his book, Becoming Supernatural, on how our thoughts affect our lives. When you think negative thoughts, you begin to release toxic assets and chemicals into your body. These chemicals eventually become feelings, and they perpetuate more negative thoughts. Ultimately, these thoughts release more toxic chemicals into your body, leading to sickness and all kinds of bad things.

But on the positive side, your body also has the capacity to release healing chemicals when you’re creating emotions such as joy, gratitude, and love. And the more that you do this, the more your body knows how to produce all these healing chemicals. We’re not just talking about temporary relief from a headache or some other kinds of pain — we’re talking about becoming healthy and living life to its fullest capacity. In addition, we are also referring to you being able to think clearer, feel better emotionally, and be physically equipped so you can take on the world with your creativity.

Do you ever feel as if your brain is overloaded? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to alchemize your mind and clear out some of that monkey brain chatter. It is in everyone to change their negative, destructive thought patterns into positive ones. Luckily for us, we can learn techniques for getting rid of this monkey mind trash on our own terms!

Alchemizing Your Thoughts With Meditation

I’ve been noticing when my emotional frequencies are lying and how it has been affecting my life. So for me, I have to say that meditation has been the biggest tool for taking out my mind’s trash.

I’ve been consistently practicing Vedic meditation, which is a type of meditation that uses mantras to help clear the mind. Just to give you a little information on Vedic meditation, it is a powerful tool for cultivating calm and deep focus. Unlike Buddhist mindfulness-based techniques, it does not involve contemplation or trying to think compassionate thoughts. Instead, it uses mantras that help settle your mind into a state where you can find rest from daily worries.

I’ve been finding this technique really helpful. It does the work of purging these thoughts brought by my monkey mind. By the end of the meditation, I’ve sunk into a very more transcendental space, where I’m more connected to my thoughts and creating in the present moment.

I’ve also been meditating on a regular basis, which reminds me that there’s always something I can be focusing on in this life — even if everything is not going the way that I want it to. Now, if I even get some anxiety, I make it a habit to spend 20 minutes of meditation to calm me down.

When you first start, you might feel that your body’s holding a lot of stress accumulated through all of your years, and getting those toxic chemicals out of your body can be very healing. If you want to learn more about that, I’ve interviewed my meditation teacher, Emily Fletcher, who has done three episodes — 66, 101, and142 — with me. We talked so much about meditation’s  neuroscience and its health benefits.

I’ve been practicing meditation, and having these thoughts happen less often has left me in a better mental state. Consequently, I’m feeling very connected with myself again. It was definitely worth getting my monkey brain out of my head! And I suggest you try it too because when we’re living in that present moment, we’re staying in a creative space.

Taking Out Your Mind Trash

Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be in order to create who you want to become. 

Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows and shed them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of life and your inner world is such a huge piece of understanding who you are so that you can curate who you want to become. In general, I noticed for myself that the more inner work that I do — the deeper shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes towards the path of wholeness.

As creatives, we have the luxury and blessings of always getting to create. So if we let the monkey brain mind chatter get the best of us, we keep ourselves from creating our moments and our lives. We only have one life guys, and we need to make the best out of it. 

Today, I also want to invite you all into my world. Take a look at my website for more wisdom and creative ways of turning your life around. You can also check out my creative work by following @onkenhat or visiting onkenhat.com to see some hat commissions that are available now! Feel free to order them yourself and book a photoshoot if you’re interested in sharing those memories, too!

I hope that this episode has been valuable for you today. Please take screenshots of it and share it through social media. Don’t forget to tag me as well, @nickonken. You can also listen to me on Apple Podcasts — don’t hesitate to give this show a five-star rating and leave great reviews wherever possible!

Thanks, everyone! I’ll catch you next time —

Nick Onken


You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!


“It’s like taking out the trash on a daily basis; like brushing your teeth, you’re brushing and cleaning your mind daily.”

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • What the “mind trash” is [0:45]
  • Why it’s important to step back periodically to recognize that you are not your thoughts [2:12]
  • Meditation’s effect on thought patterns and wellbeing [3:55]
  • How meditation aids in keeping your body healthy, as well as your mind [5:16]
  • The effect that “mind trash” can have on our lives and those around us [6:35]

Links Mentioned:

A FREE email series to create a personal visual brand authentic to who you are.

  • Accelerate your personal brand growth through the Identity Alchemy Method
  • Discover the authentic stories you want to share with your audience
  • Build your personal brand vision and crystallize it with a photoshoot
  • Learn how to ideate and create storytelling visual assets to enhance and up-level your personal brand
  • .. PLUS! You’ll get access my brand building book recs and favorite resources

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