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

Crown. Jan. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780525575238. $28. PSYCH
The psychological concept of “self-talk” has been formally studied since the mid-20th century, although much more attention has been paid to it, and a number of books published on it, in the last decade. In this debut, psychologist Kross (Emotional & Self Control Lab, Univ. of Michigan) uses numerous examples and research to show that while positive self-talk (great job!”) can be good for us, negative self-talk (“chatter”) can lead to a frightening, downward spiral that can “harm our bodies, damage our social lives, and derail our careers.” He then provides practical and relatively simple tools a person can implement to “harness the voice in our head,” including using distanced self-talk, imagining advising a friend, broadening our perspective, reframing our experience as a challenge, and writing expressively. Helpfully, Kross also includes tools for providing and receiving chatter support, and tools that involve the environment (creating order in one’s environment, increasing exposure to green spaces, and seeking out awe-inspiring experiences). His accessible writing will draw in casual readers of psychology and self-help books, and experts seeking to learn how to channel their inner thoughts.
VERDICT A well-reasoned, well-researched guide for those prone to negative self-talk and those who support them.
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