All of Us

Managing Your Monkey

by MakeUsWell

The Ides of March, famous as the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated, is noteworthy for me as it’s the day I was born. On that day, God gave me breath... and a monkey. I’m thankful for the breath...not so much for the monkey.
— Alan Steelman

Alan Steelman is a Charter Member of the MakeUsWell Network. He has enjoyed success in the political and business arena and is now in the third interaction of a career: helping people be well. He is the author of Managing Your Monkey: Mind Fitness (2022).

MakeUsWell reviewed his book and found it compelling, insightful, and practical. Alan tells an engrossing story while providing useful suggestions to manage the day-to-day stressors of life.

MakeUsWell highly recommends this book!

The ‘monkey mind’ is our inner critic, often thwarting productivity and ambition, and in the process, creating undue stress. Alan provides strategies to regulate the monkey mind and achieve more tranquility in life.

Alan shares that mental health has always been an important element in his life: “There was a bipolar gene in my family on my father’s side.” His brother inherited these genes, tragically resulting in suicide in his mid-thirties.

In plain language, Alan reveals his authentic self to readers, having the courage to be vulnerable. He shares stories readers can identify with to help develop ways to cope with trauma as well as stress. 

Many readers will identify with the statement: "I have had event-related episodes of depression at certain intervals in my life.” Alan shares personal examples of losing a congressional race, and being fired from corporate life.  Everything from his need for applause in high school to how meditation helps him with anxiety. 

Throughout the book, the key theme of the monkey as incessant chatter — both past & future — is articulated both eloquently and with practical examples. Alan mentions that the “average person has 60,000 random thoughts per day.” That’s a lot of chatter! 

Along with examples from his own life, Alan includes 12 inspirational stories from individuals who have combated the chatter and are now leading their best lives. One such individual is Don Drake, who declares: “I am in better shape than I was in my 20s at West Point!”

Alan gives a practical guide to readers to be able to do the same with their own lives. He enumerates four critical factors to address in getting the monkey under control:

  1. Success (self-limiting beliefs)

  2. Aging (epigenetics)

  3. Physical health (undigested stress)

  4. Mental well-being (ability to surf the choppy seas of life). 

He outlines 6 pillars to address this: 

  1. Sleep

    • The CDC recommends approximately 8 hours a night.

  2. Nutrition

    • “Stop eating like an American,” and embrace mindful eating.

  3. Movement | Exercise

    • Exercise elevates moods and reduces inflammation in the body.

  4. Meditation | Mindfulness

    • Over 80% of top business leaders meditate.

  5. Friends and Social Networks

    • Isolation is more harmful than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

  6. Nature Therapy

    • Spending time in nature can boost the immune system.

He supports his methodology with research and life experience. 

This easy to follow guide will help readers thrive. Most importantly, Managing Your Monkey will motivate readers to live their best lives.