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5 amazing benefits of talking to yourself regularly

5 amazing benefits of talking to yourself regularly
  • The mind doesn't differentiate between talking to yourself out loud and talking to yourself inside your head.

So pick whichever is comfortable for you and start to practice it consciously and in context and witness some of these benefits.

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Contrary to the perception that talking to oneself signals mental illness, true in rare and noticeable cases, talking to oneself is common among children and mentally sound adults. In fact, inner self talk is more common than outspoken self talk.

However, this ability is usually abused. Self talk is often reserved for the things we feel like we cannot say out loud and more often unconsciously or as an automatic reaction. But other than this security, self talk can also be practiced consciously to improve mental performance and greater self control.

It works best as a tool to link thought and action in reinforcing an instruction framework for personal tasks, skills, experience.

After all, “the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget observed that toddlers begin to control their actions as soon as they start developing language. When approaching a hot surface, the toddler will typically say ‘hot, hot’ out loud and move away. This kind of [behavior] can continue into adulthood,” says Paloma Mari-Beffa, senior lecturer in psychology at Bangor University.

Benefits

Self-talk may help your brain perform tasks better. In a study to measure concentration and task performance in people who read out loud instructions and those who read them silently, researchers found that the former had sustained concentration and boosted performance than the latter.

“The stereotype of the mad scientist talking to themselves, lost in their own inner world, might reflect the reality of a genius who uses all the means at their disposal to increase their brainpower,” said Mari-Beffa, one of the study authors.

More research backs up the above results, as self talk was found to help people find items faster. It also aids visual improvement if a person talks to themself while carrying out a visually complex task.

Success can be an internal affair. Encouraging oneself through self talk may heighten self confidence and reduce anxiety.

When it comes to self talk for encouragement, go with neutral self talk like "what can I do?" or positive self talk.

By all means, use it to get out of negative self talk. One study found that people with low self esteem feel worse after self talk regardless if it was neutral or positive.

Experiment:

  • In a study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 72 tennis players were taken through five rounds of play: one baseline assessment, three training sessions, and a final round.
  • The players were divided into two groups. Both groups followed the same training program, but only the experimental group was asked to practice self-talk.
  • At the end of the assessment, the experimental group demonstrated heightened self-confidence and reduced anxiety. Their game also improved.

Before engaging in self talk in a bad situation, first get some space from the situation. When dealing with negative emotions, informal evidence suggests that self talk works like a charm.

And the best way to achieve this is by talking to yourself in the third person.

Jason Moser, the lead author and professor of psychology at Michigan State University said in a statement, "essentially, we think referring to yourself in the third person leads people to think about themselves more similar to how they think about others, and you can see evidence for this in the brain. That helps people gain a tiny bit of psychological distance from their experiences, which can often be useful for regulating emotions.”

Experiment:

  • Researchers set up two experiments. Participants were hooked up to an electroencephalograph and then showed various images ranging from neutral to disturbing.
  • One group was asked to respond to the images in the first person self talk, the other in the third person self talk. The third-person group were found with decreased emotional brain activity much faster.
  • In the second experiment, participants reflected on painful experiences while connected to a functional MRI machine. Those who reflected in the third person showed less brain activity in regions associated with painful experiences, suggesting that they experienced better emotional regulation.

Self talk can help you calm down, but it can stop you from needing to calm down from negative emotions.

Lead author of a study published in Acta Psychologica, Alexa Tullet, said “we give ourselves messages all the time with the intent of controlling ourselves, whether that’s telling ourselves to keep running when we’re tired, to stop eating even though we want one more slice of cake, or to refrain from blowing up on someone in an argument. We wanted to find out whether talking to ourselves in this ‘inner voice’ actually helps.”

Experiment:

  • Participants were asked to perform a simple test on a computer. If the display showed a particular symbol, they were tasked with pressing a button. If it showed any other symbol, they were asked to refrain. 
  • One group, however, was told to repeat a single word continuously throughout, which effectively blocked them from accessing their “inner voice.”
  • The group that was blocked from their inner voice was found to be more impulsive than the other group. 

If you wish to recall something at the snap of a finger, research suggests that you read it out loud.

According to Colin M. MacLeod, chair of the Department of Psychology at Waterloo and co-author of a study published in Memory, “this study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable.”

The experiment:

  • Researchers tested four methods for reserving written information. 
  • Participants were asked to read silently, read aloud, listen to someone else read, and listen to a recording of themselves reading. 
  • Those who read the information out loud retained it best.

There are negative forms of self talk like telling oneself to go back to sleep, out of context ramblings that indicate or worsen mental suffering . So it takes mastery to employ self talk in contexts that are beneficial like gaining instructional framework for tasks, matching thought to action, encouraging oneself through a task step by step.

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