If you’re like me, you sometimes feel like a victim of your own emotions. Something gets you down, or triggers ire, and suddenly you’re strapped in for a downward trajectory. It doesn’t have to be this way. Commanding yourself to feel happy may get you nowhere, but you can alter your perspective, interactions and environment so that good vibes ensue. (Which is not to say, mind you, that unpleasant feelings are always misplaced. Ire has its uses.)

The psychologist Ethan Kross explores these repositioning tactics, sharing some insights from his own lab at the University of Michigan in “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.” Despite the title’s reference to self-talk, the book uses “chatter” to refer to nearly any kind of negative thoughts or emotions. This comes to resemble a branding exercise—perhaps a necessary one to sell a book these days—but the advice is good, and some of it nonobvious.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required.)