Tips for taming your inner negative voice

Dr. Ethan Kross teaches us how to turn our negative thought patterns from destructive to constructive.
4:39 | 02/02/21

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Transcript for Tips for taming your inner negative voice
We want to turn now to maintaining our mental health. You heard folks say before somebody says they hear a voice. You might think they're crazy, but it's not a bad thing. The truth is we all have that inner voice. And our next guest is going to teach us how to manage it to better our lives. That inner voice can be a bad thing, though, and I think that is what Dr. Ethan Kross is going to talk to us about right the author of "Chatter," and we thank you for being with us. You talk about the inner chatter. And as I said, it can be actually a bad thing. It can be a destructive thing. How do you define chatter? So when we experience negative events, we tend to turn our attention inward to problem solve and make sense of them, but oftentimes that backfires and we end up ruminating, worrying, and making things a catastrophe. That's what I call chatter. It refers to the negative cycle of thinking and feeling that turns our ability to problem solving into a curse rather than a blessing. It can make it hard to focus at work, create friction in relationships and undermine our health. How are we supposed to attain that thing? There are lots of science-based tools that exist. I talked about 20-something of them in the book. One thing we know is it's much easier for us to advise other people than it is to take that advice ourself. And so one of the things we've learned is that trying to coach yourself through a problem and through your chatter like you're giving advice to another person can be useful. And you can use language to do this. Next time, T.J., you're experiencing chatter, silently coach yourself through the - problem by using your name. All right, T.J., what are you going to do about this? That shift can be a useful tool fo managing chatter. Dr. Ashton is throwing things at me because we've talked about that very thing on this show. She was telling me, T.J., just talk to T.J. So maybe that will work. We like that bit of advice. Yes. And you can do that with children as well with something called the Batman effect. The way you package it for kids, with my daughters, sweetie, the next time you're upset about it, pretend you're wonder woman. What would wonder woman do right now? We find that advising children to coach through something as if they're a super hero, that can help with the stress as well. You also talk about physical touch and how it can help us psychologically as well. I'm not a big hugger, but it asks -- T.J. Is laughing. I've been told I'm not a big hugger, but I've been told it can make a big difference. Convince me to hug more. I'm glad you said you're not a big hugger. We'll come back to a second. Touch is one of the most primitive tools we have for controlling our chatter. It's the first way we're soothed out of the womb. We're embraced by our caretakers. We know touch can help us through two different pathways. Simply feeling the affectionate embrace of another person releases a cascade of feel-good chemicals which can help us feel better. It also consciously reminds us that there are people here who love us and support us. That can be useful. The big caveat is what you implied at the beginning, Amy, which is if -- touch only works if it's mutual and desired. So I wouldn't endorse people to go around hugging everyone and soliciting hugs. You have to find the right match. Family sometimes and so forth. Thank you for that caveat, doc. An important one nowadays. We were laughing because seriously a good friend of ours Nikki says if you need a hug, don't call robach because she's just not that person. And she owns that. I do. I'm glad you explained it the way you did. T.J., I want to jump in here. Sure. There are no magic pills. So in "Chatter" I talk about different tools. Different tools work for different people in different situation. And the challenge from the science side and the application side is to figure out the blends of tools that work best for you given your unique experience in the world. And so, you know, hugs work for me. They may work for you, T.J., too, but Amy, don't feel bad if you're not a hugger. Thank you. Lots of other things you can I love it. You can show your love in lots of different ways. Pick one. Pick one, robach. Thank you very much, Dr. Ethan Kross.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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