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

Ethan Kross | Emotional Intelligence

Why we love it: We all have an inner voice that can make us anxious or calm us down, erode our confidence or give us courage. In Chatter, psychologist Ethan Kross draws on the latest research to help us understand and manage our self-talk.

From page 29: 
Chatter in the form of repetitive anxious thought is a marvelous saboteur when it comes to focused tasks. Countless studies reveal its debilitating effects. It leads students to perform worse on tests, produces stage fright and a tendency to catastrophize among artistic performers, and undermines negotiations in business. One study found, for instance, that anxiety led people to make low initial offers, exit discussions early, and earn less money. This is a very nice way of saying they failed at their jobs—because of chatter. 

On any given day, the keel of our inner voice can be thrown askew by an infinite number of things. When this happens, we have trouble focusing our minds to address the inevitable daily challenges we face, which often produces still more turbulence in our inner dialogues. Quite naturally, when we’re floundering like this, we look for a way out of our predicament. So, what exactly do we do?