How To Tame An Overactive Chatterbox: Turn Your Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones
We all have a nagging inner voice that can sometimes become too loud, causing us to focus too much on our own thoughts.
But it’s possible to overcome this negative chatter and learn how to turn it down.
Chatter Book taught us different thinking strategies we can use to get distance from our inner voice and connect with nature for a proper recharge.
For example, reframing our thoughts or engaging in activities like meditation can be great ways to find peace amidst the mental noise.
Moreover, finding people we trust — like family members or mentors — who can help us through challenging situations is also important to avoiding the negative impacts of introspection on your self-talk.
The Evolutionary Advantage Of Our Inner Voice: Understanding Ourselves And Shaping Our Identities
Humans have been grappling with their inner voices for centuries.
Studies indicate that our inner voice speaks at much quicker rates than outer speech, clocking in at 4,000 words per minute.
Early Christian mystics and Chinese Buddhists alike were frustrated by its intrusive nature.
Even those who stutter out loud report inner voices that speak clearly, while deaf people use sign language to speak to themselves.
But why does this inner voice exist? It’s likely because it was advantageous for our species’ survival.
Through introspection, we are able to learn from our past experiences as well as plan ahead for future events.
This learned behavior appears during infancy and assists with self-control; while toddlers mimic instructions they hear from parents externally, they develop the ability to regulate themselves internally using verbal thoughts eventually.
As adults, this internal monologue helps us stay on track with our goals — whether it be making a career move or pursuing a romantic interest — by reminding us of our purpose and running mental simulations of what potential outcomes could be like.
It is also important for crafting personal narratives about ourselves, which contribute greatly to forming identities over time.
How Too Much Chatter Can Derail Our Health, Relationships, And Executive Functions
It’s no wonder that our lives become isolated, unfulfilled and painful when there is too much chatter.
Chatter, or the need to talk about our thoughts and feelings, presents a lot of challenges if it becomes too intense or unhelpful.
It not only overrides our executive functions–the ability to focus on the task at hand and ignore distractions–but can also strain relationships and put us in a vulnerable state regarding long-term health risks.
Scientific research has shown that chatter takes up valuable capacity in our brains when it comes to thinking logically and making decisions.
Thus, instead of engaging in rational behavior that positively contributes to our well-being, we can end up letting it derail us from success in various areas of life.
The more we indulge in chatter rather than move away from it with healthy coping skills, the more obstacles we create for ourselves on many fronts.
How Abraham Lincoln’s Advice Can Help Us Gain Perspective On Our Problems
Abraham Lincoln’s friend Joshua Speed was having romantic troubles, and Lincoln was able to easily help him out because he had already experienced it himself.
With some distance from the situation, Lincoln expressed one key piece of advice: Get some distance from the chatter in order to put it into perspective.
Taking some distance from your negative memories can be beneficial as well, according to Chatter Book Summary.
The author suggests picturing yourself as a fly on the wall observing the event happening to someone else instead of yourself.
This technique has been found to give more clarity around problems while also showing lower stress and emotional reactions.
The author even conducted a study prior to the 2008 US election where participants imagined themselves living in another country with their chosen candidate having lost.
This caused them to have more willingness to cooperate with opposing candidates’ supporters!
Another study about relationship infidelity showed that participants who used this technique were more likely to counsel compromises with their cheating partner as well.
Using Distanced Self-Talk – Like Mister Rogers – To Quiet Your Inner Chatter
Addressing yourself in the third person, as if you were another person, can be a great way to gain some distance from negative chatter.
This is something Fred Rogers famously practiced when he was writing his own letters and facing doubts about his abilities.
By speaking to himself in the third person, he could take a step back from it, reframe the challenge, and use this perspective to quieter the negative chatter that was inside his head.
Research has shown that using distanced self-talk – whether by saying your name or using second and third-person pronouns – can help reduce emotional turmoil quickly and efficiently.
For instance, an electroencephalogram study conducted by one author showed decreased emotional response within just one second of employing distanced self-talk.
Distanced self-talk can also make us switch our mindset from being threatened to feeling challenged by something instead.
This not only helps reduce chatter but also makes a difference on a cardiovascular level because when people are stressed, arteries tend to constrict, but in a challenge mindset they’re more relaxed.
The Benefits Of Finding Balance Between Emotional And Cognitive Support
According to research from the University of Illinois, when people are dealing with grief, they find comfort in engaging with Facebook groups and sharing their emotions.
However, this doesn’t reduce their long-term depression or PTSD symptoms.
This is a good indication that we need to meet both our emotional and cognitive needs in order to reduce chatter and ultimately deal with our pain more effectively.
When we feel bad, our natural inclination is to seek emotional support.
This provides us with a sense of safety, and triggers the release of powerful endorphins which help us to feel better in the short term.
But if we want to tackle chatter more holistically, we also need perspective.
It’s not enough to just get unconditional support; we need someone who can give us an outsider’s view of the situation and offer advice on how to move forward.
The FBI’s hostage negotiation strategy offers an insight into how this can be done: By providing active listening as well as empathy and helping steer behavior towards solutions rather than ruminating over problems, it’s possible to produce positive results for both parties involved.
To truly reduce chatter, build up your own “board of advisors” — people who will listen without judgment but also help you gain perspective on various aspects of your life.
Finding Balance Through Nature And Order: Recharging Your Attention Span And Reducing Chatter
Engaging with the natural world is one of the most effective ways to reduce chatter in your life.
This was discovered in the 1990s by University of Illinois researcher Ming Kuowho found that people living in Chicago housing projects had greater attention spans when their windows looked out onto green views.
It has since been backed up by a number of studies done in England and Canada, showing that exposure to green space leads to increased happiness and focus.
How does this work? It helps you recharge your attention span by engaging your involuntary attention instead of your voluntary attention.
In other words, it’s not something you have to think about doing; rather, it draws you in so that you can recharge from both an emotional and cognitive perspective.
Specifically, studies have shown that a short nature walk can help people do better on cognitive tests afterward, which makes perfect sense if voluntary attention levels are low.
It’s important to note that getting outside isn’t the only way to reduce chatter; other activities such as watching an amazing concert or placing order into our physical environment through habits such as lining up water bottles just right also helps us engage our involuntary attention and still our minds.
Ultimately, these small changes can ultimately result in greater focus and concentration while helping us achieve our goals more easily.
Powerful Rituals Prove That Our Inner Voice Is Not Unavoidable
The power of belief has long been recognised by humans as an aspect that can make us feel better.
It plays a major role in the practice of medicine, where the placebo effect still baffles medical professionals to this day.
Franz Mesmer sought to use magnets and babbling to ‘cure’ Maria Theresia von Paradis of her blindness – only later revealed to be untrue.
We may have discarded the idea of animal magnetism but other examples of imbuing objects with supernatural powers such as King Solomon’s seal persists even today in people’s preference for lucky charms.
What all these mean is that if we truly believe that an object or technique can make us feel better, evidence suggests it will induce a change within us.
Studies have shown placebos could alleviate physical and emotional symptoms, supporting this notion.
When it comes to addressing negative thoughts, Chatter Book provides a clear and concise final summary: try to create distance between yourself and your chatter by reframing your thoughts or changing up your environment.
Aim to see the bigger picture as this can help make worrying seem smaller.
To add a practical step to put this into action, try expressive journaling – it’s been proven to be a great relief from negativity.
So if your Chatter is overwhelming you, take 20 minutes out of your day and write down your worries – you’re sure to feel much better for it!