We recently looked at how your confidence might be affected by the pandemic and what you can do to generate more self-belief. This time we look at how our inner voices can be so detrimental to our success and what we can do to curb the flood of negative emotions.
As most of us are only too aware, we can be our own worst critics and sometimes that level of internal noise can have an adverse effect on us, both at home and in our professional lives. We need to be careful that those thoughts don’t spiral out of control.
Remember, you’re not alone. Everybody is struggling especially with the ongoing pandemic and lockdown which has changed our lives so radically for the past year. It is at times like these that we have to look after our mental and physical health, so no doubt you’ll have your Routines such as taking the dog for a walk or taking the kids to the playground.
Rituals are discussed by psychologist and neuroscientist Ethan Kross in his fascinating new book, ‘Chatter. The Voice in Our Head and How to Harness It’, which examines how negative chat can be so detrimental to our wellbeing and provides some essential advice we can apply to stem the tide. One of the most important tools we have is what re refers to as ‘distanced self-talk’ in which we talk to ourselves by and use the personal pronoun ‘you’. What this does is to reduce the “activation in brain networks linked to rumination”, which is proven to reduce stress.
This approach is very much linked to how you would talk to a friend who might be going through the same problems that you are. As we all know, doling out advice to others is easier than accepting that same advice yourself. This form of self-communication can help when faced with a crisis of confidence. If you “reframe your experience as a challenge” rather than a threat, you can remind yourself of previous examples where you succeeded in a similar situation.
Kross provides the reader with many other tools to help cope with a negative internal narrative, from thinking about how you’ll feel about the same thing at a point in the future to writing down your thoughts, which again helps you to distance yourself from the emotions you’re going through. Another important aspect is to surround ourselves with people who we trust and can confide in, for example a mentor who you can turn to for work related issues or a partner or spouse who you would go to for more personal matters.
The moral of the story is that we need to be kinder to ourselves by being mindful of our internal dialogue, seek help when we need it and also be there to support for others too. As Kross says, “The key to beating chatter isn’t to stop talking to yourself. The challenge is to figure out how to do so effectively.”