We all have an inner voice. Have you ever talked to yourself, scanned through a grocery list in your head at the store, or repeated a person's name silently to yourself when meeting them for the first time? Even right now, as you read this sentence in your mind, you are experiencing your inner voice at work. Your inner voice allows you to evaluate your past and predict your future, even create meaningful narratives about our experiences. Seems harmless, right?
While introspection can be neutral or positive, like the examples above, we must also be aware that sometimes that inner voice can turn into our own worst critic (Ethan calls this “chatter”). If you’ve ever had the following experiences, it’s likely your inner critic has taken control: difficulty performing at work (we allow our inner voice to consume our attention), friction in relationships (we complain about our inner voice to our close friends, which can push them away), and impacts to our physical health (we experience a stress response caused by our inner voice that can become toxic when it’s prolonged and chronic).For Mental Health Awareness Month, Madefor Co-founder Pat Dossett and Madefor’s Lead Scientific Advisor Dr. Andrew Huberman sat down with Ethan Kross, the go-to expert on “chatter.” In his National Bestseller, Chatter, Ethan shares how to take control of your inner voice when it turns into negative thought spirals and even harness that inner voice for good.
Listen and watch the interview here.
How can we turn down the chatter? Ethan shared these 4 ways to get into action and manage your inner voice. They align so well with the Madefor Program that we just had to share!
4 Tools to Manage Chatter:
- Distanced Self-talk: Refer to yourself by name or in the second-person “you” when trying to work through a difficult experience. This would sound something like, “You are doing a great job, Pat. This was just one set-back, and you have a lot more opportunities to make an impact.”
- Seek Out Awe-inspiring Experiences: Awe is an emotion that we experience when we are in the presence of something vast that we have trouble explaining (beautiful horizon, the Grand Canyon, etc). When we experience awe, we experience something called “the shrinking of the self,'' which makes our own concerns feel small by comparison to the current experience. The good news is you don’t need to drive to the Grand Canyon to cultivate this emotion. Simply contemplating big ideas (like the Mars Rover landing) or listening to an album that evokes emotion will enable this experience.
- Creating Order: Chatter often makes us feel like we are losing control. Get it back by tidying up a space in your house, writing a list, or organizing that junk drawer you’ve been putting off!
- Build your Chatter Board: Identify a person or group of people you can talk to about your inner chatter. These people should be skilled at chiming in and providing practical support and advice in the particular area or situation you are working through.
If you’ve completed the Madefor program, these tools may look familiar to you! Clear your mental spaces by cleaning up your physical spaces (Creating Order), or spending more time in nature and finding a horizon view (Seek Out Awe-inspiring Experiences) – Ethan’s suggestions align closely with the principles and foundations of the Madefor Program. The bottom line is, you can control your chatter, and the more you get into action to manage it, the better your life will be. If you want to learn more about the subject, you can buy Ethan Kross’ book, Chatter, here.