We all have a constant companion that never shuts up: our brain, if we’re being honest. The mental “chatter” in our heads starts when we wake up and is still going when we go to sleep. It’s even active during our dreams — sometimes the voice even shifts into overdrive! This negative interference can be daunting!
Unfortunately, this never-ending stream of thought can be damaging over time. Fortunately, with understanding and objectivity, the impact of mental chatter can be mitigated.
If you’re willing to take control and keep your thoughts positive, mental chatter even be helpful.
There are several tactics that you can use to manage your mental chatter:
- Recognize that brains make noise: Brains generate thoughts the way little dogs bark. It’s just what they do. While your brain can be taught to quiet down to an extent, there’s no way to silence it completely while you’re still breathing.
- Accept that the nature of your brain is to make noise that only you can hear. That doesn’t mean you have to allow it to control you or affect you.
- Maintain some distance from your mental chatter: Since you know that your brain is going to generate thoughts regardless of the situation, it’s easy to see that you don’t have to engage with those thoughts.
- Just allow your mental chatter to pass on by. Avoid grabbing onto any of those stray thoughts and running with them. Just let them go.
- Meditate daily: Meditation shows you just how noisy your mind can be. It also allows you to practice bringing your mind back to a point of focus. You learn a lot about how your mind works when you meditate. A few minutes a day can make a HUGE difference.
- Use affirmations: Affirmations are a great way to counteract negative mental chatter. You can’t think about two things at the same time. When any negative thoughts appear, recite your affirmations to yourself.
- You’ll not only feel a positive boost from the affirmations, but you’ll also avoid the impact of your negative self-talk.
- Listen to the chatter: Sometimes, the chatter is trying to tell you something important. Consider if there’s a worthwhile message your subconscious is trying to tell you.
- Maybe your mind is nagging you about remembering to pick up your child after school. Setting an alarm on your phone might be one way to silence the noise.
- Avoid judging: A good portion of the noise in our head is created by our constant need to judge everyone and everything.
- Imagine it’s hot outside. It’s okay to just acknowledge that it’s hot. Just allow it to be hot without deciding that it’s good, bad, or requires your additional commentary.
- Avoid the urge to judge people, places, things, and situations. As an added bonus, the less you judge, the less you’ll worry about being judged by others.
- Journal: Sometimes it helps to just let it all out. Set aside 10-20 minutes each day and allow your mind to run wild. Write it all down. You’ll be stunned by how varied and nonsensical your thoughts are. It’s also possible to find something worthwhile on occasion, too.
Mental chatter is one of the results of having a normal brain. Brains make noise, and they never stop for long. Much of your mental chatter is nothing but random nonsense. Your best bet is to ignore it as well as you can and get on with your life. Much of it came from people-pleasing, especially if you were in abuse or with toxic people, you took what they said to heart and your brain continued their negative dialogue. It’s easier to believe negative things about ourselves than positives. Feed your brain positive things about yourself and change the dialogue of your self-talk. Pep talks are fine too!
When you make an effort to think positive thoughts, then your mental chatter is working for you rather than against you.