How To Shut Off Your Brain

Science-Backed Tips To Stop Thinking And Relax

If your like me, you sometimes have a difficult time shutting off the chatter that’s racing through your brain.

Mindfulness is everywhere. Mantras adorn everything from food cartons to T-shirts, while office culture has started borrowing from yoga teachers to bring these techniques into the workplace. It a billion dollar industry hallmarked by pleasant phrase and nice ideas: Empty you mind. Focus on the present. Quiet the voice in your head. Respect your inner child.

Simple, right? in the face of life’s curveballs, no amount of meditation or therapy will stop some people’s brains from tipping into overdrive. I know it doesn’t work for me. You might know the phenomenon yourself.

When adversity strikes, humans tend to turn inward to work through the problem. But if we don’t quickly find a solution, our thought patterns go awry, creating a negative feedback loop where one confusing thought leads to another and so on like a nightmare spiral staircase leading you down the brains darker paths,

This distinct and sometimes destabilizing phenomenon is called CHATTER. Chatter undermines our work performance, causes friction in relationships, and jeopardizes our mental and physical health, and keeps us from getting sleep. But there is a better way.

What Is Brain Chatter?

Most of the time, our inner voices serves us well; we can work through a problem and move on. But, sometimes we find that we access the inner voice and we start getting stuck, and it turns in chatter.

There is a psychologist and professor at the University of Michigan who studies emotions and self-control. And the author of “The voice in Our Head, Why it Matters, and How to Harness it.”

Chatter, Kross explains arises most often when you find yourself perseveration on a problem. “You can’t stop thinking about a problem and the way you’re thinking about it isn’t improving the way that you actually feel and doesn’t allow you to move on with your life.” Kross says.

Common and maddening, chatter isn’t unstoppable. According to Kross there are some simple techniques that can help you master your inner voice and keep chatter at bay.

Is Mental Chatter Bad For You?

On any given day, people have approximately 6,000 individual thoughts. This human ability to introspect is a crucial evolutionary advantage, enabling people to process complex information, better store memories and make split-second decisions.

Our minds evolved to travel in time – to be able to reflect on the past or anticipate the future. Kross says, the ability to do that flexibly is a remarkable asset of the human condition.

These thought patterns make up what some people, call the “inner voice.”

This silent internal dialogue is vitally important to our ability to solve problems, cultivate a sense of self, and understand our place in the world. But our inner coach can become out inner critic. This toxicity is perhaps most apparent in situations where we find ourselves up at 2:00 AN ruminating on a awkward run in, for example, or unable to focus on the task at hand because we’re mulling over a life decision.

You’re worrying, you’re ruminating, you’re catastrophizing, and the key is you really are turning a problem over and over. But you’re not making any progress toward solving it,

Chronic and persistent chatter – also known as repetitive negative thinking – has been linked to anxiety and depression, as well as the tendency to experience u wanted intrusive thoughts or have low levels of mindfulness.

“Chatter consumes our attention,” Kross says, making it difficult to think and preform.

Chatter isn’t only an internal problem. It can also harm our relationships by causing us to displace negative emotions onto others, or simply, overwhelm people with out outward negativity,

Whiles it’s often a natural impulse to vent to others when we are stuck in a chatter loop, doing so doesn’t always deliver the relief we seek. Talking about our thought spirals with a friend can become external continuations of our internal fulminations.

Chatter can drive stress, and that puts our physical health at stake. Chronic stress can surprises the immune system, increase the risk of medical conditions like diabetes, stomach ulcers, hearth disease, and worse.

How To Tame Your Inner Voice

There’s no magic bullet that will quell chatter when it bubbles up every time, Kross says. But there are straightforward actions you can take to mitigate the phenomenon.

One of the reasons why chatter feels so bad is it’s all-consuming and you feel trapped. Kross explains. You’re not in control and just zooming out to recognize that, as bad as it is, you’re going to feel better tomorrow or next week. That gives hope, which is really powerful.

Every individual can develop a personal “cocktails of tools,” For anyone feeling stuck in a negative thought look, Kross recommends trying the following tricks.

Broaden Your Perspective

“Chatter zooms us in on the problem and makes it hard for us to think rationally or objectively.” To reset our perspective try giving yourself advise as you would a friend or colleague, or using “distanced self-talk.” Speak to yourself (out loud or in your head) using a second or third person pronoun to coach yourself through a situation or problem.

Think Long Term

One of the best ways to cut through chatter is to use “temporal distancing.” Imagine whether a situation or issue at hand will still bother you in a month, year, decade. Typically, the answer is no, and this future forecasting can put problems in context, reminding you that most issues are temporary even if the feel permanent.

Reorient Your Surroundings

When you can’t stop spiraling, take a walnut outside, cleans your home, work out, or switch activities. Sometimes the best thing is to distract yourself- then refocus. While this may no be possible when you cannot sleep, in this case try getting up and reading, or make yourself some tea and then refocus.

Check-In With A Chatter Buddy

Even though it can feel good in the moment sessions don’t often lead to concrete solutions. Instead of spewing your thought like a fire house to each person you encounter m consult a few trusted buddies who can broaden your perspective.

Importantly, remember you aren’t alone in experiencing chatter however maddening it may be,

Just because you experience chatter doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. On the contrary, it just means you’re doing just fine as a human.

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