-Toxic Self Talk

How can I stop having negative thoughts?

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Ethan Kross, professor of psychology and management Author of the book,

“Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters,and How to Harness It.”

(This YouTube Video is 6:36 Minutes in Length, Below is the Transcript)

– I think chatter is one of the big problems we face as a species.

We spend between one-third and one-halfof our waking hours not living in the present.

And what do we do during that time?

We’re talking to ourselves.

Your inner voice is your ability to silently use language to reflect on your life.

Chatter refers to the dark side of the inner voice.

When we turn our attention inward to make sense of our problems,

we don’t end up finding solutions.

We end up




We get stuck in a negative cycle that takes this remarkable tool that we possess,

this inner voice,

and it turns it into a curse rather than a blessing.

My name’s Ethan Kross,

I’m a professor of psychology and management,

and I’m the author of the book,

“Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.”

In terms of whether there’s an evolutionary purpose to the inner voice,

many scientists believe that language is a tool

that helps us navigate the world,

and our ability to use language not only to communicate with others,

but to communicate with ourselves,

provides us with a survival advantage.

It’s an incredible problem-solving device.

At the most basic end of the spectrum,

our inner voice is part of what we call our

‘Verbal Working Memory System.

‘It’s a basic feature of the human mind that helps us keep verbal information active in our heads.

Our inner voice also lets us simulate and plan.

So before a big presentation,

I’ll go over in my head what I’m gonna say,

what are the different talkingpoints that I’m gonna run through

-I’ll hear what questions the audience is gonna ask me, and then I’ll respond in turn.

I’m simulating that exchange,

and I’m using my inner voice to help me do that.

Our inner voice helps us control ourselves.

Think about the last time you may have wanted to reach for a treat late at night,

but then you think to yourself,

“Don’t do it, you’ll regret it in the morning.”

That’s your inner voice.

And then finally,

the inner voice helps us ‘storify’ our lives.

Many of us turn our attention inward to come upwith some narrative that explains our experiences

in ways that give shape to our understanding of

who we are,

our identity.

So sometimes this inner voice can be an incredible source of help,

but at other times it can really sink us.


it makes it incredibly hard for us to focus.

Chatter consumes our attention.

Chatter can also create friction in your relationships

because you’re talking about your problems over and over again,

and not being a great listener to others.

It can also make us more irritable,

and lead to something called

‘displaced aggression.’


we know that chatter can have severe, negative,

physical health effects.

You’ve probably heard that stress kills-that’s not exactly true.

A stress response is a really adaptive response.

What makes stress toxic is when it remains chronically-elevated over time.

This is precisely what chatter does.

We experience a stressor in our life,

it then ends,

but in our minds our chatter perpetuates it.

We keep thinking about that event over and over and over again.

And that keeps that stress response active in ways that can predict things like

cardiovascular disease,

chronic inflammation,

and even cancer.

It’s hard to overstate how negative the implications of chatter can be.

The good news is there is a science-based tool kit that you can use

to regain control of your inner voice.

There are things we can do on our own,

ways of harnessing our relationships with other people,

and even ways of interacting with physical environments.

One really great example of these tools are rituals.

We love having control.

When you experience chatter,

you often feel like your thoughts are in control of you.

One of the things that we’ve learned through scienceis that we can compensate for this feeling

out of control by creating order around us –

rituals are one way to do that.

A ritual is an ordered sequenceof behaviors that you rigidly perform the same way each time

by engaging the same sequenceof behaviors every time the same way.

That’s giving you a sense of order and control.

That can feel really good when you’re mired in chatter.

The tennis great, Rafael Nadal,

he said the hardest thing that he struggles to do on the tennis court is manage

the voices inside his head.

He engages in rituals.

During breaks between play he goes over to his bench.


he takes a sip out of one water bottle.

Then he takes a sip out of another.

Then he puts each water bottle back exactly where he picked them up from

on a diagonal to the court.

It’s a ritual he does to manage his chatter.

There are no individual tools that work for all people

in all situations

to help manage your chatter.


the real challenge is to figure out what are the unique combinations of tools that work best for you?

Are you weaker for experiencing chatter?

Absolutely not.

You are human for experiencing chatter,

so welcome to the human condition.



(This YouTube Video is 4:26 Minutes in Length, Below is the Transcript)

How can I overcome negative thinking

we’re going to answer that question

you can also discover moreon got questions.org

chronic negative thinking


anxiety and similar disorders are on the rise all over the world

according to the anxiety and depression association of america

40 million adults in the u.s are affected which is nearly 20 percent of the population

of that number many are professing christians

fear seems to be a root cause of many of these problems

it’s no wonder people are fearful in a world

where it appears nothing is reliable

it can be quite disturbing for a person to realize almost everything in this life is ultimately out of his control

from the weather

to his bank account balanceall

the things people rely on for their security will sooner or later fail them

but the christian who confesses the sovereignty of an almighty God

who works all things for His good has the antidote to negative thinking

when a christian’s thinking is primarily negative

anxious or doubtful

it’s a sign of a serious lack of faith

the author of Hebrews states

without faith it is impossible to please God

Jesus when boating with his disciples during a terrible storm

asked them

you of little faith why are you so afraid

those who struggle with negative thinking should do the same thing

they would do with any other sin

confess it

and make every effort to change the behavior


is a key part of overcoming negativity

Jesus taught that prayer

should include Praise to the Father

and a focus on His holiness

as we pray with Thanksgiving

we focus on the blessings we have received and leave no room for negative thoughts

daily bible reading particularly

studies that focus on the promises of God are of great help in overcoming negative thinking

it’s helpful to remember that no matter how dismal the present circumstances Christians have been promised

God’s love and victory in Christ

the scriptures are bursting with admonitions from God to his people to overcome fear and doubt

over 350 commands to fear not as a matter of fact

the one verbal encouragement Jesus gives more than any other is a call to fearless living

the struggle against negative thinking is a battle for the mind

in Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul implicitly teaches that we can control what we think

about when a negative thought comes the thinker who has the mind of Christ

has the ability to push it out of the mind and replace it with Godly thoughts

this takes practice but with persistence

it gets easier

in our spiritual warfare we’ve been given the helmet of salvation

spiritual armor for the mind as long as Christians live in a fearful stressful world

negative thoughts will come

we have the option of either stamping out those thoughts or nurturing them

the good news is negative thoughts can be replaced with positive ones

and the more that Godly substitution takes place

the more peace and joy we can experience

that answers the question

how can i overcome negative thinking

on our website gotquestions.org

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