The next time you talk to yourself, you should tell yourself, “It’s okay, this just means that I’m a genius!” When we talk to ourselves, we sometimes wonder if we are going crazy, but the truth is that our brains are working in wonderful ways by using speech to help us process information.
TALKING TO YOURSELF HELPS MEMORY
A study in the The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that self-directed speech can help people who are trying to find a specific object in a group of other items. Saying aloud the name of the item that they are searching for helped participants to find the object more accurately than if they did not talk to themselves.
The implications of this research are that talking to yourself helps you process visual information better. Think about chess players who have to remember the positions of the pieces on the board and plan for the possible future strategies of their opponent and themselves. That is a lot of visual information to remember, so talking to themselves helps them to recall the important details. If you do talk to yourself but have tried to stop, it may be better to allow yourself to keep right on talking. Other research has shown that suppressing the tendency to talk to yourself will hurt your ability to switch from one task to another. The ability to multitask has become so important for our modern lives, so keep right on talking to yourself to work through everything that you need to get done. When it comes to memory, we have a limited storage capacity. Just like a computer, your brain has long-term storage memory as well as current processing memory. Talking to yourself helps with the information that you are currently processing, which is also called your working memory.
TALKING TO YOURSELF HELPS REGULATE EMOTIONS
Talking to yourself also gives you genius points for being able to better manage your emotions. Rather than getting furious when something doesn’t go your way, you can rationalize the reasons that it didn’t work out and talk through possible solutions as well. You might say “OK well that didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but that’s alright because I can try this instead.” People who talk to themselves are able to maintain a positive outlook more easily than those who do not talk to themselves. Negative attitudes are programmed into us sometimes in childhood and we can lose faith in ourselves as a result. Positive people use self-talk to overcome that negative outlook and coach themselves to a positive frame of mind. You might be a genius if you are able to talk to yourself and re-training your brain to take negative self-talk and turn it into positive self-talk. Positive self-talkers enjoy a more productive and enjoyable life. When you learn to rely on yourself for help, you develop your sense of self-esteem. Rather than having a friend there to assist you, you act as your own best friend, guiding your thoughts and encouraging yourself along the way. Giving yourself positive feedback helps you to feel good about your accomplishments.
TALKING TO YOURSELF HELPS CONCENTRATION
Talking to yourself can helps you to concentrate and focus on things more clearly. Just like how self-talk can help you multi-task, talking to yourself can also help with maintaining focus on a task for a sustained period of time. When you talk to yourself, you are able to focus your attention on what needs to be done. Your goals become clear as you talk to yourself while performing a task. By focusing on the sound of your own voice, you are able to mentally remove the distractions around you.
HOW TO START TALKING TO YOURSELF
* Ask yourself questions. Ask yourself about what you’re doing right now. Try “Will I be successful?” and then answer yourself, positively with a “Yes, of course I will be successful.” This kind of positive self-talk will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your confidence in yourself is infectious. * Give yourself instructions. Tell yourself what the first step is in the task that you are working on, then the next and so on. * Give yourself encouragement. Try saying “Yes, you’ve got this,” or “That looks great. I knew you could do it!” * Block negative self-talk. If you find yourself saying discouraging things like “I’ll never be able to do this right,” say “Stop” back to yourself. This is a way to block negative language before it affects your mood. * Focus on positives. Rather than saying “Don’t mess this up” which focuses on what could go wrong, say “You’ll do just fine” which is more positive language.