10 tools can stop the catastrophic mind chatter about work, experts say

Adda sharks keep spinning in your head like a school. You may be worried about an upcoming job interview. Maybe you’re worried about how large customer accounts came across the pitch. Or maybe you have long-standing thoughts about the way your boss looked at you at the meeting. You’re stuck and can’t get rid of the chatter. To salvage, Dr. Ethan Cross, a psychologist and professor at the University of Michigan, is conducting a detailed study of what Chatter is called in his new book, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters and How to Hans It. .

How Mind Chatter hinders work performance

When I sat down with the cross, he explained why there are voices and how we can use them to our advantage. Self-talk, he said, creates narratives that help us understand the world. We use it to work through sticky problems. “We have this extraordinary ability to use language silently in human heads,” Cross said. “Some people call it self-expression or inner voice. This tool allows you to do everything from keeping information active in your head for a short period of time, such as memorizing a phone number, rehearsing what you can say in a presentation, or controlling yourself while dealing with a problem. ”

According to Cross, we lose one-half to one-third of our waking time in thought. And a lot of that time is spent talking to ourselves. He describes chatter as a harmful form of self-talk – a toxic form when we get caught up in catastrophic thoughts and think of auto-play over and over in our heads. “It’s one of the biggest problems we humans face. We struggle when gossip consumes our attention. We know that when you get stuck or engrossed in chat, your mind zooms in. All you can think of is that this thing that happened in the past, present or future bothers you. You try to work with it, but you can’t stop thinking about it, “he explained. “When that happens, it impairs people’s ability to think and act – which is about work. If all our attention is on gossip, it leaves us with nothing to do in the workplace.”

He suggests this practice: When you are worried about something, think about when you try to read a few pages of a book. You read the material but don’t remember what you read when you finish because your mind was somewhere else. “Apply it to a work scene,” says the psychologist. “Gossip makes us think things over, paralyzed by analysis, and performing at work. Even in things like presenting in front of our colleagues or performing a complex process we are good, we start to think, we are doing it well. Once we start zooming in too much, our abilities are revealed. “

Work chatter management solution

According to Cross, the concept of distance – a unique feature of the human mind – is the secret sauce for conducting work chats. “When the chatter zooms in on us narrowly, the distance enables us to take a step back to think more purposefully about the situation. That’s where science comes in handy. Enhancing your vision is one of the best tools we have, and scientists have identified a number of different tools to do that. ” Identified 10 strategies – all of which include a form of distance.

  1. Address yourself by name. Cross-testing has shown that when you use your name in a second person pronoun to train yourself through a problem, it improves your performance. Many find it easy to give advice to friends and loved ones. But when they are struggling, they suffer a lot. When you usually refer to yourself with the words you use to talk to other people, it changes your outlook. Think about what you would say to a close friend and use your name for advice. Saying something like, “Brian, you can do it. It’s a piece of cake,” gives you emotional distance to solve the problem.
  2. Apply temporary distance. Thinking about how you’re going to feel about a problem down the street reminds you of that moment of instability. When you are immersed in a situation, it always consumes, and you think that it is always going to be like this, forgetting everything forever. “If you gossip about a presentation to coworkers,” Cross said, “think about what it will be like one hour after you finish your work. One week from now, one month from now, one year from now, how would you feel about the situation?” When you think about what to do, that mental practice clears up – as terrible as this situation is – it will fade over time. ”
  3. Journal. Keeping a log of your thoughts and feelings in the moment is another way to zoom out and expand your perspective.
  4. Practice remembering the past. Contemplate this notion as you interact with your peers and learn how to do it right.
  5. Find a chatty advisor. Talking to the right people can help you broaden your horizons, cross notes. Not just someone who asks how you feel, but who lets you see bigger pictures.
  6. Have a wonderful experience. We don’t understand it, but when we are engrossed in the chat we make everything so big. When we retreat in amazement at the presence of something vast and indescribable – such as a sunset or mountain scene – it leads to what researchers call the contraction of the soul. You feel small when you are feeling something huge. And when you feel small, so does your chatter.
  7. Perform a ritual. Immersed in the chat, occupied with emotions, you feel that you have no control. The rituals take you away from the chat. When you do something that is in your control, it helps you to feel better before a stressful event. Some basketball players, for example, take several breaths before making a special handshake and jump up and down. These are the behaviors under control of athletes that give them the feeling of being in control rather than controlling their emotions before a stressful situation.
  8. Meditation. The reason meditation has spread over the last 15 years is because it helps people stay away from chat. While meditation is a way to awaken the power of distance, we have worked to find other ways that give you distance that you do not need to meditate on.
  9. Set borders on traumatic images. Create chats through television news and social media. When we constantly bombard with the same loop of annoying information, it involves our nonstop combined rumors. You want to be aware, but you don’t want the news to suck you into the negative echo chamber of misery. Cross suggested having a rule, “I read or watch the news for 10 minutes in the morning or evening, but I am not going to go down to the rabbit hole every hour of the day to check the situation in Ukraine. If you are tempted, ask yourself, ‘What am I going to gain by reading every detail of the war every day?’ Do you think this is going to change your situation or the situation there? ”
  10. Use self-suffix. Confirmation can be very useful and can give a broad perspective. Just reminding yourself that you are a valuable and valuable person can be helpful.

According to Cross there is no solution for managing gossip. “I’ve been doing this research for 20 years,” he said. “I have not found a tool that helps all people in all situations. Different tools work for different people in different situations. So the challenge is to find the best tools that work for each of us. “

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