successful women

How to Reduce Negative Head Chatter


Do you believe that your internal head chatter impacts on your performance and confidence levels, or is a significant factor in your confidence?

Here is the simple intervention. Viktor Frankl (1905 -1997) developed the model below.

Stimuli are the things that come at us both internally, as thoughts and feelings and externally from others and environment.

Viktor Frankl’s was an Austrian Jewish Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. It was during his time held in concentration camps that he developed the model. Frankl discovered that even in the cruelest of environments… ‘Between stimulus and response man has the freedom to choose’.

Whilst for most of us there is no comparison to the suffering Frankl experienced, the model holds as true for us today as it ever has.

I think of the gap between stimulus and response as the ‘pause’. The pause enables you to give your thoughts a reality check. Use the pause to identify the root cause of your negative thoughts and raise your self-awareness to what is driving your thoughts and feelings and how they are affecting your performance or sense of wellbeing. Use your imagination to see things differently, or to visualise events and situations more realistically or positively. Listen to your conscience, would you speak to someone else as you are talking to yourself? Are you being kind or too hard on yourself? Are you berating or encouraging yourself? Finally to exercise your independent will, don’t be a victim of your own thoughts, most of the time they are just thoughts not a reality.

Once you have practiced the pause you will be amazed how quickly you can respond to your thoughts and feelings at a more conscious level. This will enable you to recognise rather than respond to negative head chatter.

I recommend you print out Frankl’s model and at the end of every day ask yourself, (1) Did I do my best to reduce my negative chatter (2) Did I do my best to respond to reality and not thoughts?

NB: If you want to hear more of Viktor Frankl here is a link to a rare short clip TED

The question format I have used in this text is taken from Marshall Goldsmith’s book Triggers.  Here is a link to one of Marshall’s blogs