Negative self talk is a common (sometimes even encouraged) form of mental self-abuse and one of the worst things you can do to the literal structure of your brain. I’ll explain in the thread how mean self talk impacts neuropsychological health, but tldr, don’t do it to yourself.
First, there are 2 things you should know.

1. Human brains are negativity biased. They spend more time looking at, processing, and returning to negative stimuli. Not to be monsters (tho brains are absolutely monsters), but as a protective measure.

The brain evolved in a world where paying close attn to possibly harmful or socially damaging things could save your life. And it's all in on survival, so it prioritized a strong awareness of that shit.

Thousands of years later, we’re predisposed to fixate on things that suck.
2. Ppl tend to use the term “chemical imbalance”, but most mental health issues are actually CONNECTION imbalances, meaning the pathways in the brain regions responsible for managing certain neurotransmitters shrink/grow in a way that causes dysfunction.

I’ll do a separate thread on the ways that stress & trauma harm brain structure (Nietzsche was on some fuckshit with his “what does not kill me makes me stronger”), but brain regions can ATROPHY under stress.

Literal loss of neurons. Shrinkage of shit you'd rather not shrink.
Keep these two points in mind for the rest of the thread.

They’ll help you understand not just how negative self talk totally jacks your brain, but also why it can be so hard to stop once you start.
Let's be specific and define what we're talking about, bc there are LOTS of different types of negative self talk. The more common:

- Excessive Worry (insecure ideation abt ability/social status/value)

- Defensive Pessimism (unnecessarily low expectations, self minimization)
- Perseveration/Rumination (reliving/overthinking bad experiences)

- Habitual Negative Self Thought (talking so badly about yourself, so often that it becomes ingrained and feels like *normal* thought. You may no longer even consciously recognize when you're doing it)
Some of these are worse than others (Habitual Negative Self Thought is pretty fucking bad) but all of them suck, bc they have limited outlet, meaning they reinforce themselves, looping and repeating, which only strengthens their neuronal pathways, making them difficult to stop.
They are also unconstructive. In this case, that means that their consequences are, at best, psychologically limiting, and at worst, mentally and physically damaging.
Here’s a compilation of 100+ studies examining forms of “unconstructive repetitive thought”.

You can see a summary of each study's findings in the last column, and across the board, the consensus is: “Shit is fucked up”…
People who engage in this kind of self talk are shown over and over again to be prone to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

They’re less able to recover from illness & trauma, less able to self assert, more susceptible to manipulation, worse at performing self care.
They exhibit impaired executive function (the skills that help us manage our day to day lives), worse memory, and poor interpersonal skills.

Higher risk of suicide, poor physical health outcomes, higher likelihood of neurological disease, increased risk of intrusive thoughts.
And to top it off, (it seems obvious, but it’s significant) lower self esteem.

There's evidence that ppl w/ low self-esteem have less grey matter in brain regions that regulate emotion, planning & memory. But also basic functions like sleep & hunger.…
The brain responds to neg. self talk this way bc it sees it as a threat. It has mechanisms to protect a stable, positive self-view and manage threats to that self-view. But when the call is coming from inside the house, the mechanism are less effective, so the outcome is STRESS
Scientists aren't 100% on why certain brain regions shrink under chronic stress, but it might be preservative. Other areas, like the amygdala, grow in these instances, ⬆️aggression. Maybe stressful situations were once more survivable w/ less thinking power and more abject rage.
But it doesn't work that way anymore. There aren't many circumstances in the modern world where brain fog and heart palpitations will do you many favors.
In summation, negative self talk is a recipe for a fucked up brain. A brain w/ less gray matter in significant places over time, increases aggression and intrusive thoughts, risk of health and mood disorders, poor interpersonal skills, and overall life deficits.
Many people think that neg. self talk can improve productivity, and maybe for some people. But you'll suffer elsewhere. Is it worth it?

Also, parents who talk shit abt themselves make kids who talk shit abt themselves, and is this really the kind of harm you want to pass down?
If you're a self-shit-talker, you didn’t get there in a vacuum. Whatever traumatic life event, or harmful adult influence when you were a kid, or capitalistic hellscape soul suck job brought you to this point, know that you can change it. You deserve safety inside your own head.
1st - Find your ass a therapist.
2nd- Consider practicing thought replacement (…)
3rd- Consider mindfulness meditation, and thought observation.
4th - Definitely find a therapist.
If you've developed negative self talk, what's the type you engage in the most?

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More from @JonelleCapri

22 Dec 20
A lot of people see this lady’s story and think “mental illness”. But her brain is likely standard issue and pulling some very typical neurochemical fuckshit. Because the human brain is a monster, and the process of romantic attraction is terrifying. I’ll explain:
In very basic terms, the brain evolved to get high on survival. It doses itself with bursts of feel good when encountering things that assist in staying alive. Food, new information, other people, all of these feed into various brain highs.
The problem is that the brain’s reward system can really press the point, and what are meant to be reinforcements to feed your body, or learn something important, or reproduce, become addictions to sugar and twitter, and, of course, being attracted to a psychopath.
Read 20 tweets
21 Dec 20
Snitching is a behavior based in conflict aversion. It allows people to displace responsibility. Most of the risk involved in addressing a problem, or managing conflict, shifts to someone else, generally an authority, because the brain HATES being responsible for hard shit. 🧵
We're most conflict avoidant w/ our in-groups. Your brain wants you to stay in the good graces of your friends and family, so being direct with people you care about when they do something wrong feels hard specifically because your brain is processing a risk to the relationship.
Brains LOVE letting other brains be responsible for hard stuff. It's comforting when there's someone else around to handle it. This is why little kids tend to tattle a lot. It's their way of recruiting adults to fix problems they've perceived as outside of their control.
Read 10 tweets
3 Dec 20
Twitter is a behavioral addiction & cocaine is a substance addiction. Substance addictions suck b/c they alter neurotransmitter-receptor interaction & change the brain's homeostatic set point. Behavior addictions suck b/c the brain is basically addicted to its own damn self 🧵
Addictions that are BOTH substance & behavioral, like smoking (addiction to nicotine AND to the act of smoking), are surveyed consistently as the hardest to kick.

Spontaneous resolutions to both kinds of addiction do happen. Some people just... stop. But it's NOT typical.
Because the brain is a big ol' asshole about addiction, and it really digs in on those reward pathways once they're set.

The pathways used in both addiction types are super similar. But the engagement with the neurotransmitter-receptor system is different (direct vs indirect).
Read 18 tweets
19 Sep 20
For no reason at all, here's a behavioral scientific review of hypocrisy

Definition of behavior: Hypocrites are people who violate standards that they publically enforce. There are a few types of hypocrite that have been individually studied.
1. Inconsistent hypocrite: Telling you to do what they will not (ex: a senate leader telling opponents to follow the norms of democracy while he does not)…
2. Pretense/Moral hypocrite: Appearing to be virtuous, or pretending to hold specific beliefs to curry favor or rewards from an ingroup (ex: the lady picketing the local reproductive health clinic w/ fellow church members the wk after clinic staff helped her get a safe abortion)
Read 13 tweets
25 Aug 20
Power is intoxicating & the human behavioral response to it is fucking bonkers. Brains love power. Power=controlled environment=improved survival chances. But the more we have, the more likely we’ll abuse it, and the less likely anyone will tell us “Go home, you’re power drunk”
When given social power (the ability to influence others, control resources, and mete out reward/discipline), studies show that we become more goal oriented & less anxious. Cognition increases, as does self-actualization. We reach peak human.

We also reach peak butthole.
Studies have shown that people with social power tend to objectify others based on their productive value, experience a decrease in empathy and an inflated perception of their own reputation, as well as a decreased willingness to accept ideas different from their own.
Read 29 tweets

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