If someone catches you talking to yourself, you can now say you’re making yourself a better person.
According to BBC, an increasing number of research has shown that self-talk has a number of positive benefits.
One striking finding is that it can give you a better sense of confidence and control while you’re under stress—and is more effective if you refer to yourself in the second or third person.
Researchers headed by Ethan Kross from the University of Michigan did experiments where people were asked to recount experiences, but had to use their own name or “you,” “he,” or “she”. Those who used these pronouns instead of “I” had better control over how they thought, felt and behaved.
In the Harvard Business Review, Kross says that this shift in language has such an impact on our behavior that even if done silently, individuals prepping for a speech who used the second or third person for themselves had more sense of calm and confidence versus the first-person speakers.
The positive effect also lasted after the speech: those in the study said they were less shameful and dwelled on it less, which according to Kross is good both psychologically and physically. He pegs this to self-distancing, a way of having an observer point-of-view on problems.
A similar effect happened to clients under former psychologist Anne Wilson Schaef. After advising clients speak to themselves, strong feelings like anger would dissipate after talking about the experience. She also cited improved memory as a benefit.
When it comes to memory, our brain functions better when we say things aloud, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Gary Lupyan. In a 2011 experiment, people had to find objects in a computer screen. One set could say the objects out loud, while the others kept quiet. The former group located the objects at a faster rate.
This habit has benefits no matter what age. A 2008 study of five-year-old kids showed that during motor tasks, they perform better talking out loud than if they remained silent. Niña V. Guno/JB