Are you a Watcher Monkey?


When I was 3 my mum, who ran a preschool, took all of the kids to watch a demo at the local fire station. All was well until the firemen lit a practice fire around the practice tower to demonstrate how they were going to put it out.

The other kids apparently got the memo that this was a super cool thing, while I began to panic like the world was ending. I remember it clearly to this day. I could not believe that everyone was just sitting watching while THINGS BURNED.

Firemen standing in front of flames

What were they thinking?

I’ve always been that way - on the lookout for danger long before most people have considered that it might show up. Some years ago I read that monkeys inherit jobs from their parents, and that the vast majority have the regular monkey jobs of eating, procreating, flinging poo. Some get the warrior role passed down to them and become the protectors of the tribe, and some, a very special, highly strung sub-set, are the WATCHER monkeys. Their job is literally to watch for danger. They do this day in and day out, their senses always attuned to any incoming threat.

group of young monkeys looking at the camera

It's an exhausting job, but someone has to do it.


You might be a Watcher Monkey human if:

  • You are more vigilant than most about danger (crossing the road, eating something that you could choke on etc)
  • You have intrusive thoughts about horrible get a flash of 'seeing' something scary happening even when it hasn't.
  • You take extra care to be safe, or to keep your loved ones safe
  • You have phobias or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • You are very empathic and can easily imagine how other people feel
  • You come from a family that tends towards anxiety

It makes total sense to me that this delightful skill set may have lasted through all our years of evolution, that early Watcher humans passed the skills down to their children, who passed it to theirs, and so on. My mum was anxious, so was my grandma. Our nervous systems are perfectly suited to be Watcher Monkeys, but here we are trying to handle a life where there are a gazillion potential incoming threats at any moment (as opposed to branch) and no one remembers that they are supposed to listen to us!

Actually, that’s probably a really good thing.

Watcher Monkey humans have usually spent a lifetime just learning how to regulate themselves enough to get by in modern life, and are usually nervous about things like taking medication, as this can be seen as a loss of control and a potential for disaster. I was so anxious about taking anxiety medication, for example, that I spent most of my adult life working hard to discover natural solutions so that I could avoid it. The irony!

I honestly wish that hypnotherapy had been as easily available then as it is now, because so much of the Watcher Monkey reactions are held in the subconscious mind, which hypnotherapy can easily access and influence. I also appreciate that it's medication free, and doesn't involve me having to cross dangerous roads or enter burning buildings in order to use it. 

If being a Watcher Monkey human is something you recognise about yourself, and if you're a bit tired now of all the anxiety it brings, please do check out our Anxiety Melting Essentials Pack. It contains 9 amazing sessions to help your entire system forget the job you inherited from your vigilant ancestors, as well as an Overcoming Anxiety journal.

Give it a try and let us know how you feel after listening. We're confident you'll discover a much better job for yourself than being a Watcher Monkey for the rest of your life!

Relaxed monkey in a hot spring

 (Me in my new role as 'Spa Monkey'. Someone has to do it.)

In this article


Anxiety Melting Essentials Pack (10 Sessions)