How To Set Boundaries To Make Your Relationships Better

Your parents may have taught you that “no” is a complete sentence, but actually saying it — or setting a boundary in general — can be tricky. Sometimes, you feel uncomfortable setting the boundary; sometimes, the other person hates it and has a strong reaction. But the fact remains that in your romantic relationships, at work, in your family, and in friendships, you’re going to have to set some boundaries one way or another.

Boundaries are a way to value yourself, and they don’t have to be scary. Or at least, that’s what our guest today, Nedra Glover Tawwab, writes about in her new book, Set Boundaries, Find Peace. Nedra is a therapist, bestselling author, and relationship expert. We talk about what boundaries are, why they’re so important, and I get some strategies for setting and keeping boundaries even when other people in my life don’t seem to want me to.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. As always, there’s much more in the full podcast, so listen and follow Vox Conversations on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Julia Furlan

I want to start with a question that you use to open your book, which is basically, what even is a boundary?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Boundaries are statements that make you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. Sometimes it is behaviors that make you feel safe and comfortable. A woman asked me today on Instagram: “How can I set boundaries with my drinking socially?” So that is a behavior. How do you drink less socially?

Sometimes it can be my mother-in-law keeps popping up at my house and you may need to say something to your mother-in-law. So it works in both ways.

Before writing this book, and for many years, I thought of boundaries as saying no or cutting people off. I have learned that it’s a lot of gray areas. It’s all of these situations that we feel very uncomfortable about in our relationship, it is bigger than “no,” it is bigger than just cutting people off.

Boundaries preserve relationships. Cutting someone off is like the ultimate boundary, right? There are 1,000 other boundaries we can set before cutting people off.

Julia Furlan

Right. Sometimes people think that it’s, as we say in Portuguese, oito oitenta — all or nothing.

But, in fact, there is a lot of flexibility. There’s a lot of space that you can give both yourself and the other person when you’re putting in a boundary. One experience that I’ve had is that if the other person has fewer boundaries or doesn’t really live their life with a lot of boundaries in a particular area, there is resentment.

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Yeah, I think in general, we feel best when people do as we do. You don’t answer emails on vacation. It’s now problematic because it is different from what I choose to do. So it’s really important to acknowledge that boundaries are preferences. It’s not a rule. It’s not a fact. It is just what we choose to do.

I choose not to work after 7:00 pm. It is a preference for me because this is what makes me feel comfortable. There are tons of people who love working in the evenings. It makes them feel fulfilled. Keep doing it, if that’s what you like. I’m saying, I don’t like it. And it’s okay for me to think differently about this thing. And it doesn’t mean that I’m lazy because I’m not doing things like you. It doesn’t mean that I’m inefficient. It just means that my time is my time.

Julia Furlan

One thing that I want to go back to that you said is that boundaries are statements or behaviors that make you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. I would love to know the range of some of those things. What’s a small one and what’s a big one that’s not cutting someone off completely?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

I think a small one is something we did at the beginning of this conversation: making sure we’re appropriately pronouncing each other’s names.

That’s a really small one that can get really annoying, right? If someone’s mispronouncing your name or mislabeling you, sometimes people might be using the wrong pronoun.

It’s never too late to set a boundary. I think we really program ourselves to think like, oh, it’s too late. The moment has passed. You’ve let this person do this thing for six months. You might as well let them do it forever. But now I am recognizing that this is an issue for me.

Julia Furlan

What are some of the larger boundaries that you have guided people on in your work?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

One significant thing that I’ve helped with a ton is helping clients become adults in their relationship with their parents. That is a really big one because it is a struggle to get people to accept that they want to spend holidays differently. They want to maybe not do that yearly family vacation anymore.

They may not want to talk to their parents every single day. There are so many different things that we continue to do just because we’ve been doing them, but they have always bothered us. Like, I don’t want to go over to uncle so-and-so’s house.

Family relationships have been a huge part of the boundaries work that I’ve done. With couples, it has been communicating what your needs are, communicating what you like and what you don’t like because if you are agreeing to spend even this moment, this week with a person, you need to be very clear about what is bothering you. We’re hoping that our partners sort of figure it out. We’re hoping that there is some signal that they receive, that we are secretly bothered by something, and they don’t typically get it.

It’s a lot of gray areas. It’s all of these situations that we feel very uncomfortable about in our relationship. It is bigger than “no,” it is bigger than just cutting people off.

We get our needs met by communicating them. And that can be really hard. There is this huge, huge, huge thing that I see all the time on social media. I saw a girl saying that when people really love you, you don’t have to tell them how to love you. It’s like, what fairy tale was this in?

Julia Furlan

One of the things that is really hard about boundaries is reckoning with your own feelings around saying it aloud or writing it down. It feels like just the communication of it itself can be its own huge thing.

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Yeah, by unpopular opinion, I do suggest getting it out whichever way you can, in person, by phone, via text or email. Whatever it is, because it is better out than in.

Julia Furlan

People don’t always respect your boundaries, even if you’re specific. Even if you’ve worked really hard to articulate it. There is sometimes a whole dynamic, where the person loves to get under your skin or enjoys the experience of making you upset or teasing you.

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Yeah. I think when people habitually disrespect our boundaries, we have to try something different. I’m thinking of a relationship with someone who could not keep a secret. A solution that you can manage is to not tell this person anything that’s secret because they’ve demonstrated that they cannot respect that boundary.

So how do we change the way we behave with people who demonstrate that they can’t respect your boundaries? There are times where people say, “You know, I know you told me that you didn’t wanna hear me talk about all the terrible things happening in my relationship anymore …” but that’s a wonderful time for you to jump in and say, “I will not listen.”

Julia Furlan

One thing that I want to recognize here, though, is that especially when you’re putting up a boundary with someone that you love and that you really care for, you’re changing the way that something’s going. You’re changing a dynamic. You’re trying to get out of a pattern. There is a grief that can come up, and I’ve felt this grief before where that boundaryless relationship was also a symbol of some special closeness, and you’re having to let go of some of that closeness. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Is it that you’re letting go of the closeness because you have to let go of the relationship, or are you letting go of the idea that this person could respect the boundary?

So there’s a disappointment that you’re dealing with. You know, I think in being in relationships with other people, the unfortunate risk is being hurt and being disappointed by people. No matter how much people love us, in some way big or small they will disappoint us because it’s so unintentional.

Usually when a person isn’t respecting your boundaries, it’s because they can’t. It is really because they just can’t do this thing you’re asking, or at least I feel like they can’t.

You’re right. You do have to grieve the loss of who you thought that person could be for you and reconstruct what’s possible with the person that you actually have. Sometimes we will stay in those relationships. We’ll keep doing the same thing, place in the same boundary over and over. But it’s really on us to change the way in which we engage.

I often hear people say, ”My friend always calls me to complain. Every time we talk, they’re complaining.” And I think, every time you talk, are you picking up the phone every time to be complained to?

And I know that’s a really hard boundary to say, “Instead of talking to this person every day after work, I will talk to them on Tuesdays like that. That is what I can manage without being overwhelmed.”

And it is really hard to think about, oh my gosh, we used to talk every day, and here I am, intentionally stepping back because I’ve set this boundary over and over and this person refuses to listen to me.

Julia Furlan

Can you speak a little bit to the things that might open up? What do people gain by putting up this boundary?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

A relationship that’s less stressful, a relationship that seems less contentious, a relationship that you receive more joy from. Sometimes we get burnt out with people doing some of the things that we’ve asked them not to do. And then we start to complain and get upset and become anxious about having to engage with them. So stepping back could be the healthiest option.

Julia Furlan

Sometimes people in general, not specifically me at all, in no way is this about me, might be a little conflict-averse. They don’t want to have a big conversation. They get really scared. And then they bail. How often do you have to have boundary conversation about ghosting?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Ghosting is an interesting topic because I don’t think people believe that they are the type of person who might be hard to communicate with. But there are some people, when you bring them a boundary, it becomes an abusive situation. Belittling may occur. They may become really defensive. It may just be a really unhealthy interaction.

And there are other situations of ghosting where it’s like, “I really can’t say this to the person. I hope that they just start to get the picture when I stop answering them because I don’t have the words. I don’t feel comfortable.” Ghosting is never an easy decision. It’s not the best solution, but it is a solution.

We can’t control how every relationship ends, and many of our relationships don’t work out.

The friends you had in elementary school, then middle school, then high school, then college or wherever you used to live, a lot of these things, they just sort of fizzle out. There’s this low level of non-harmful ghosting,

Julia Furlan

How do you talk to your followers who are conflict-averse? Are there any tips to pump yourself up before setting a boundary?

Nedra Glover Tawwab

I would say don’t pump yourself up. When we pump ourselves up, we deflate ourselves later because we think about all of the things that could go wrong. We get into this very spirally way of thinking. We think about very black-and-white outcomes. Practicing beforehand in the mirror and on paper, I think it can really work us up into an anxiety spiral that might not even be useful. The world is very flexible and we cannot add those black-and-white principles. And I think when you are averse to conflict, you are thinking of one outcome and it is very bad. You are thinking about one way of saying something.

It’s really healthy to think about the flexibility, that you can’t control how this person feels and you don’t know how they would feel about you. I would say in most cases, when we set boundaries and relationships, it actually goes well.

They’re not like, oh my gosh, you’re not my friend anymore. It’s not as big as we think. Keep it simple. If you can whittle your thoughts down to one simple sentence, I think it will be easier. Don’t think of it as “having a boundaries conversation” as much as it is just talking to someone and just letting them know.

Source: How to set boundaries to make your relationships better – Vox

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How To Contact Any Insta Profile Followers On a Mass Scale With Profile Mate

Profilemate allows you to gather and scan the most engaged users of any fan page – i.e. the users who comment and like on a pages posts allowing you to engage specifically with these users for higher conversions instantly.

Remove the need to manually go through hundreds, thousands or even millions of profiles to find out who to contact. Profilemate does this for you, giving you a list of ALL the key information needed.

ProfileMate will show you ANY competitors followers details – i.e. enter ANY page that would have a customer base that is the same as yours, be provided with emails, phone numbers, address’s and websites of those who have given their details TO BE CONTACTED & reach out with a value message.

Many people focus only on getting NEW fans & don’t realize their own followers are the hottest leads. Not only does Profilemate allow you to scan any competitor or page that would have your niche following them, it will scan your OWN, ensuring you can reach those who have already proven to be interested in your business.

Drop shipping, physical good business, amazon, you name it, your customers are on Instagram. Find ANY page your target audience would be a part of (i.e. fitness industry a fitness influencer page), be given the exact profiles, along with emails and phone numbers of your audience & convert.

Profilemate is a local marketers dream – imagine going to any local business & letting them know you can get actual, qualified leads of ANY of their competitors (along with their own page). Profilemate gives you the option to gather BIO data which is what the user wants others to know about them- 7 out of 10 times on average this includes their job or interests, allowing you to market to the exact audience you choose to.

Source: Profile Mate

Influencers Are Utilizing Collaboration To Win Against AI Algorithms; Here’s How

It’s normal to hear the cliche, two are better than one, but this statement has been proven true among influencers in the last five years. Growing followership and influence on social media is not an easy feat, and with changing algorithms, it’s even more difficult.

Social media has become the top cultural influence on society. More people, especially Gen Z and Millennial generations, depend on social media platforms for their information, advice, and counsel, especially as regards lifestyle and fashion choices. This reality has placed social media influencers on a pedestal as some of the most relevant figures in modern culture.

The biggest question that influencers and aspiring influencers have to answer consistently is, “Can we still grow a healthy following organically in the age of changing algorithms?”

Renowned supermodel Stefanie Gurzanski seems to think that this is possible. In her words, “Value is king, the first step to doing it organically is finding your audience and determining what they consider as value. Then you have to create content around that and dish it out consistently. When all is said and done, you need help from others as well.”

As a supermodel, Stefanie Gurzanski, who is more popularly known as Baby G, has featured on the cover of some of the world’s most prestigious magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle. She has also stunned at many of the world’s most prestigious fashion shows and red carpets. However, one of her most significant accomplishments has been turning that success into a digital media empire and becoming an Instagram influencer with millions of extremely loyal followers.

Stefanie believes that collaboration is one of the most powerful keys to growing followership in a world where algorithms are becoming more demanding. In this article, Stefanie shares why she thinks collaboration is so important.

The Golden Rule of Algorithms

According to Instagram, the main rule about Instagram algorithms is that not one but many algorithms influence a user’s Instagram experience. Different AI algorithms analyze user behavior on the different parts of the app; reels, feeds, and explore. All these algorithms work together to determine what we see or not see on Instagram.

The Instagram model is more or less the same on Facebook, Titok, and youtube, where various AI algorithms are used to achieve these exact results.

According to Stefanie, “Instagram has been a bit more transparent about how their algorithms function and this has helped influencers build systems around their brands that help them get the most out of the platform. What I have found is that the key ingredient that enables us to get the best out of all the algorithms is collaboration.”

Adam Mosseri has taken his time to summarize how the Instagram algorithm functions in a post. Four key factors influence the Instagram algorithm for feed posts.

  • First, the algorithm considers the basic information about the post; Is it a photo or a video? When was it posted? How many likes does it have?
  • Secondly, it considers the information about the poster; How interesting does the user find them to be? How often does the user engage with their content?
  • The third factor is the user’s activity; is the user a heavy video-watcher, or does the user prefer other kinds of content?
  • The final factor is the user’s interaction history; does the user typically engage with the poster’s posts by liking or commenting?

In summary, on Instagram feeds, the algorithm would typically show a user posts from creators who create the kind of content they typically engage with, and who they have previously engaged with or tend to engage with frequently.  On reels and explore, Instagram goes further by showing users the content they think they will like based on their previous activity.

Stefanie explains it with a more straightforward example;

“I am coming up on the two million followers mark and one thing that is readily noticeable is that many of these followers found me because they initially followed other supermodels who do what I do. Likewise, when my followers consistently engage with my pictures and videos, they are also likely to see posts from similar creators who do what I do on their explore page or their reels. Now imagine what we can achieve as influencers if we become more intentional about giving and getting this exposure. The results are simply stunning.”

Collaboration as a Powerful Tool For Exposure

Since 2016, when Instagram made these changes to its algorithm, collaboration has become perhaps the most effective tool for exposure.  Creators collaborate in different ways, but the end goal is the same, and the results are similar.

Live broadcasts by Sponsored Influencers have become a thing. 82% of audiences prefer live video from influencers and brands to other generic content, which has made live videos both the present and the future of video content.

Since Instagram launched its new feature, which enables creators and users to go live with a friend remotely, influencers have used this feature to invite other creators on their platform for live broadcasts. Content ranges from talk shows to casual conversations, and the results have been favorable so far.

“Live videos have such an engagement boosting effect,” Stefanie explains. “The algorithms give live videos more exposure, so when influencers can link up via this feature, it helps the algorithm make the connection between their two sets of audiences. This can easily grow the platforms of both influencers by exposing them to new audiences.”

Hosting Account takeovers is another powerful collaborative tool that creators use to force the algorithm to give more exposure to their content.

An account takeover is a strategy where an influencer can surrender their account to another influencer for some time, either by posting only content from that influencer or giving the influencer access to their platforms to post directly.

The basic idea is to create a feeling that that influencer is in charge for that period. This is a powerful way that influencers use to expose their work and brands to other influencers’ audiences. The results are usually remarkable as the algorithm is forced to make that connection.

Collaborating with Aspiring Influencers is also becoming more popular. Stefanie recently launched the Baby G Mag, a subscription-based platform where other creatives can be featured and grow their own platforms.

She explains why she thinks this strategy is helpful; “With all the algorithm changes, it has become difficult to grow organically today than it was a few years ago. So, I built Baby G Mag specifically for other girls who want to grow their brand, make money, and can be seen by a guaranteed amount of paying customers. Right now we are collating with other magazines as well. Playboy Mexico has already seen us as an interesting platform to collaborate with in just our first few weeks.”

While many influencers are looking to connect with influencers with bigger platforms, Stefanie realizes that collaborating with up-and-coming influencers is a win-win. It exposes her to new audiences as these smaller influencers usually have a smaller but fiercely loyal audience. It is also her way of helping these influencers grow faster and gain more influence.

User-Generated Content (UGC) is also becoming stronger among influencers. 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than brand photos or videos. It also drives 6.9-times-higher engagement than generic content.

UGC is a form of collaboration that Influencers build with their followers. This is effective because followers tend to engage with UGCs at a higher rate. Since the algorithm gives more exposure to posts and platforms with more engagement, the Influencer’s platforms usually get seen way more. It’s a win-win for most influencers.

Influencer Pods are becoming robust as well. Some influencers have decided that the best way to link their audiences is to create pods of influencers. These pods usually have 10-15 influencers from within their industry who engage authentically with each other’s content; they share, like, and leave thoughtful comments on their most recent posts.

Many see pods as a way to skew the system and game the algorithm, but so far, no social media platform has cracked down on them yet.  Stefanie believes that collaboration in whatever shape or form it comes is the key to consistent growth as influencers;

“In my case, my fame didn’t necessarily come from social media, but I have been able to maintain it on social media by continuing with the things I became famous for. My merchandise, my videos, and my photos are what people value about my brand, and so I remain consistent. However, I also believe that helping others rise has helped me rise even more. Collaboration will probably always be a successful route to go even if the algorithms change again, because it is at the heart of what social media is trying to do, which is to connect people and to help people discover other relevant people. It’s a silver bullet by every standard.”

Stefanie’s points are valid; at the heart of most social media platforms is a desire to connect people and increase engagement. Their money-making structures are built around these same values. So it is likely that finding valuable ways to collaborate will always win in the end, and It’s difficult to have any problems with it whatsoever.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Annie Brown is the founder of Lips, a feminist technology organization at the forefront of the inclusive design movement, building products designed to unlock opportunities for previously underserved and

Source: Influencers Are Utilizing Collaboration To Win Against AI Algorithms; Here’s How

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Why Your Most Important Relationship Is With Your Inner Voice

As Ethan Kross, an American experimental psychologist and neuroscientist, will cheerfully testify, the person who doesn’t sometimes find themselves listening to an unhelpful voice in their head probably doesn’t exist. Ten years ago, Kross found himself sitting up late at night with a baseball bat in his hand, waiting for an imaginary assailant he was convinced was about to break into his house – a figure conjured by his frantic mind after he received a threatening letter from a stranger who’d seen him on TV.

Kross, whose area of research is the science of introspection, knew that he was overreacting; that he had fallen victim to what he calls “chatter”. But telling himself this did no good at all. At the peak of his anxiety, his negative thoughts running wildly on a loop, he found himself, somewhat comically, Googling “bodyguards for academics”.

Kross runs the wonderfully named Emotion and Self Control Lab at Michigan University, an institution he founded and where he has devoted the greater part of his career to studying the silent conversations people have with themselves: internal dialogues that powerfully influence how they live their lives. Why, he and his colleagues want to know, do some people benefit from turning inwards to understand their feelings, while others are apt to fall apart when they engage in precisely the same behaviour?

Are there right and wrong ways to communicate with yourself, and if so, are there techniques that might usefully be employed by those with inner voices that are just a little too loud? Down the years, Kross has found answers to some, if not all, of these questions, and now he has collected these findings in a new book – a manual he hopes will improve the lives of those who read it.

“We’re not going to rid the world of anxiety and depression,” he says, of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head and How to Harness It. “This is not a happy pill, and negative emotions are good in small doses. But it is possible to turn down the temperature a bit when it’s running too high, and doing this can help all of us manage our experiences more effectively.”

According to Kross, who talks to me on Zoom from his home in a snowy Ann Arbor, there now exists a robust body of research to show that when we experience distress – something MRI scans suggest has a physical component as well as an emotional one – engaging in introspection can do “significantly” more harm than good.

Our thoughts, he says, don’t save us from ourselves. Rather, they give rise to something insidious: the kind of negative cycles that turn the singular capacity of human beings for introspection into a curse rather than a blessing, with potentially grave consequences both for our mental and physical health (introspection of the wrong sort can even contribute to faster ageing).

Does this mean that it’s not, after all, good to talk? That those in therapy should immediately cancel their next appointment? Not exactly. “Avoiding our emotions across the board is not a good thing,” he says. “But let’s think about distance instead. Some people equate this word with avoidance and repression. But I think of it as the ability to step back and reflect, to widen the lens, to get some perspective. We’re not avoiding something by doing this, we’re just not getting overwhelmed.”

According to one study, we talk to ourselves at a rate equivalent to speaking 4,000 words per minute (by way of comparison, the American president’s State of the Union address, which usually runs to about 6,000 words, lasts more than an hour). No wonder, then, that listening to it can be exhausting, whether it takes the form of a rambling soliloquy, or a compulsive rehashing of events, a free-associative pinballing from one thought to another or a furious internal dialogue.

But if such noise can be paralysing, it can also be self-sabotaging. What we experience on the inside can blot out almost everything else if we let it. A study published in 2010, for instance, shows that inner experiences consistently dwarf outer ones – something that, as Kross notes, speaks to the fact that once a “ruminative” thought takes hold of us, it can ruin even the best party, the most longed-for new job.

Why do some people have a louder or more troubling inner voice than others? “That’s harder to answer,” he says. “There are so many ways it can be activated, some genetic, some environmental.” What is certain is that these experiences cannot be discounted: “The data is overwhelming when it comes to the connection between anxiety and physical health conditions.” Those who are able to quieten their inner voice are happier; their sense of relief can be palpable.

See also:

  1. What Is Your Inner Voice?
  2. What If You Don’t Hear Any Voice?
  3. Why Don’t We Listen to Our Inner Voice?
  4. How to Listen to Your Inner Voice
  5. Moving on with Your Inner Voice
  6. Final Thoughts
  7. More About Self-Understanding

What is interesting about the science involved in all this is how it both backs up, and goes against, intuition. Much of Kross’s book is devoted to what he calls the “toolbox” of techniques that can be used to dial down chatter, and while some of these seem to contradict all that we think and feel – “venting”, for instance, can do a person more harm than good, because talking about negative experiences with friends can often work as a repellent, pushing away those you need most – others confirm that when we act on certain instincts, we’re right to do so.

To take one example, if you are the kind of person who slips into the second or third person when you are in a flap (“Rachel, you should calm down; this is not the end of the world”), you really are doing yourself some good. What Kross calls “distanced self-talk” is, according to experiments he has run, one of the fastest and most straightforward ways of gaining emotional perspective: a “psychological hack” that is embedded in “the fabric of human language”.

Talking to yourself like this – as if you were another person altogether – isn’t only calming. Kross’s work shows that it can help you make a better impression, or improve your performance in, say, a job interview. It may also enable you to reframe what seems like an impossibility as a challenge, one to which, with your own encouragement, you may be able to rise.

Some of his other techniques are already well known: the power of touch (put your arms around someone); the power of nature (put your arms around a tree). Activities that induce “awe” – a walk in the mountains, say, or time spent in front of a magnificent work of art – are also useful, helping with that sense of perspective.

Writing a daily journal can prove efficacious for some (something that felt terrible one day physically becoming old news the next), while neat freaks like me will be thrilled to discover that what he calls “compensatory control” – the creation of exterior order, better known as tidying up – really does have an impact on interior order. Reorganise your sock drawer, and you may find that your voice quietens.

Research shows, too, that superstitions, rituals and lucky charms can be useful, though most of us will draw the line at, say, taking our milk teeth with us when we fly, as the model Heidi Klum is said to (she keeps hers in a tiny bag, which she clutches during turbulence). Placebos have been found to work on chatter, just as they do in the case of some physical illnesses.

In one study in which Kross was involved, a saline nasal spray acted as a kind of painkiller for the inner voice: data from brain scans showed that those who’d inhaled it, having believed they were inhaling a painkiller, displayed significantly less activity in their brain’s social-pain circuitry compared with those who knew they had inhaled only a saline solution.

No wonder, then, that Kross believes children should be taught the science behind all of these ideas, and in the US he has already begun working with teachers to make this happen: “We want to find out if knowing this stuff influences how they regulate themselves.” Does he make use of the toolbox? (Physician, heal thyself.) “We should probably ask my wife,” he laughs. “But yes, I do, absolutely. I’m human, too.” In particular, he is “very selective” when it comes to friends from whom he seeks “chatter support”.

Kross finished his book long before the outbreak of the pandemic, let alone the storming of the Capitol. But as he observes, it could hardly be published at a more opportune moment. “This is the perfect chatter episode for society: a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, political uncertainty, widespread groupthink.” His most cited paper to date looked at the harmful implications of social media, often “a giant megaphone” for the inner voice – Facebook expressly asks its users: “What’s on your mind?” – and an environment that he thinks we need to learn to navigate with more care.

As for the pandemic, though, he is less pessimistic than some about the effects it is likely to have long-term on mental health. “We are already seeing signs that depression and anxiety are spiking,” he says. “Everyday feelings of sadness are elevated for many, and then there are more full-blown episodes. But there is also a lot of resilience, and we often underestimate that. A lot of people are doing quite well. They’re managing this hardship in an adaptive way. I am an optimist. We will return, I think, to a nicer place, though how quickly that will happen, I only wish I could say.”

Which technique should the pandemic-anxious deploy? “Well, one that I personally rely on is temporal distancing,” he says. This requires a person to look ahead: to see themselves determinedly in the future. Studies show that if you ask those going through a difficult experience how they will feel about it in 10 years’ time, rather than tomorrow, their troubles immediately seem more temporary. Does this really help him? “Yes, it does. I ask myself how I am going to feel a year from now, when I’m back in the office, and I’m seeing my colleagues, and travelling again, and taking my kids to soccer – and it gives me hope.”

It is, as he says in his book, a form of time travel: a mental Tardis that, if only we can manage to board it, may make everything from a bereavement right down to a silly argument seem less brutal, just a little easier to bear.

By: Rachel Cooke

Source: Why Your Most Important Relationship Is With Your Inner Voice

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More Contents:

There’s a Dark Side to Meditation That No One Talks About

The Running Conversation in Your Head

People Who Hear Voices in Their Head Can Also Pick Up on Hidden Speech

The ‘Untranslatable’ Emotions You Never Knew You Had

Hallucinogen Therapy Is Coming

How you attach to people may explain a lot about your inner life

How can you conquer ordinary, everyday sadness? Think of it as a person

How anxiety scrambles your brain and makes it hard to learn

10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck

How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life

How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power

How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

How to Be More Self-Aware and Strive to Be a Better Person

How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide)

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