A fantastic book – I would highly recommended this to clients and fellow therapists. Many aspects are directly applicable to therapy and our everyday lives. 5 stars!
Essentially, what and how we are thinking is a better predictor of our happiness than what we are doing
Our inner voice is incredibly helpful. It allows us to:
However when we feel overwhelmed we tend to zoom our attention in on the problem (a real or perceived threat) at the expense of other things and our inner voice can become repetitive and anxious called ‘chatter’.
In this mode we are less objective, less consciously rational, less able to problem solve. We also have a strong need to share our strong emotions with others to ‘tend’ and ‘befriend’.
Chatter will encourage us to look for and see other problems and negative issues because of the associative nature of our memory and mind and the ‘frequency illusion’. These can fuel a vicious circle.
Chatter is an important natural adaptive response, and we all experience it from time to time but when it becomes a sustained response there are negative consequences for our health and wellbeing.
Using recent neuroscientific evidence the book illustrates how chatter has a physiological impact on our bodies and how emotional pain triggers responses in our mind and body similar to physical pain (see page 39). Chatter can instigate our fight or flight mechanisms just like actual physical threats and can potentially turn on certain genes if groups of cells remain in a sustained threat response.
The book shows how we are often more objective and solution orientated about other people’s lives (The Solomon Paradox page 55) – a clue to helping ourselves.
Zooming in, Zooming out
Narrows our attention, magnifies the issues, fuels emotions, extends the duration of the impact of emotions. In high stress responses is associated with the turning on of fight flight of freeze responses. Chronically this can be associated with increased cardiovascular and other disease risks and a higher likelihood of stress, anxiety and depression. (see page 48). Negative thoughts are likely to trigger other negative thoughts through association. Zooming in can be good if we want or need to be attentive to something or enhance our emotions or feelings.
|Zooming out, distancing|
Broadens our attention, dampens emotional responses both in intensity and duration. It dials down fight, fight or freeze responses and allows us to be more objective and is associated with letter go and moving on from the past.
The books sets out a suite of tools, described as a ‘psychological immune system’ which are proven to reduce chatter by helping us zoom out, gain perspective and become more objective. These are summarised as follows:
Tools to help ourselves
Tools and techniques to help others
Receiving chatter support from other
How our environment can help reduce chatter
My thoughts on how themes in the book could be used as part of Solution Focused therapy
See here for the official Chatter site, a Chatter Quiz and links to lots of other reviews
In my view this was a most enjoyable read and the key findings and proposed suite of tools are directly applicable to the theory and practice solution-focused work.