The next time you talk to yourself, you should tell yourself, “It’s okay, this just means that I’m a genius!” When talking to ourselves, we sometimes wonder if we are going crazy, but the truth is that our brains work in wonderful ways by using speech to help us process information.
Talking to Yourself Helps Memory
A study in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that self-directed speech can help people trying to find a specific object in a group of other items. Saying aloud the name of the item they were searching for helped participants find the object more accurately than if they did not talk to themselves.
This research implies that speaking 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 their opponent’s possible future strategies. That is a lot of visual information, so talking to them helps them recall the important details.
If you talk to yourself but have tried to stop, it may be better to allow yourself to keep 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 talking to yourself to work through everything 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 and current processing memory. Talking to yourself helps with the information you are currently processing, also called your working memory.
Talking to Yourself Helps Regulate Emotions
Self-talk also gives you genius points for managing your emotions better. Rather than getting furious when something doesn’t go your way, you can rationalize why it didn’t work out and talk through possible solutions. 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 can 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. 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 can 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 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 help you to concentrate and focus on things more clearly. Just like how self-talk can help you multitask, talking to yourself can also help maintain focus on a task for a sustained period of time.
When you talk to yourself, you can focus on what needs to be done. Your goals become clear as you speak to yourself while performing a task. By focusing on the sound of your own voice, you can mentally remove the distractions around you.
Final Thoughts: 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 speech will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your confidence in yourself is infectious.
- Give yourself instructions. Tell yourself the first step in the task you are working on, then the next, and so on.
- Encourage yourself. Try saying, “Yes, you’ve got this,” or “That looks great. I knew you could do it!”
- Block negative discussions. 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 the 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.
- Forgive yourself. Making mistakes is human and when you do, forgive yourself by saying, “It’s okay, you didn’t do that intentionally.”