Have you ever caught yourself giving your own damn self a pep talk? Like, you literally look in the mirror, and you say, “Girl, you got this. I promise you, nothing is ever as serious as you make it out to be.” If you have, don't be ashamed to admit it. In fact, according to a new study, talking to yourself isn't weird; it's actually really good for you.
A study led by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) found that talking to yourself in third-person can have a healing effect on the mind, and it can help you regain some psychological footing when your emotions feel like they're all over the place. In a way, it can make you feel as if you're giving advice to a friend.
Jason Moser, an associate professor of psychology at MSU, told EurekAlert! Science News,
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.
Talking to yourself can make it feel like you are your own friend, and let's be real, who knows you better than, well, you?
The overall study involved two experiments. In the first one, participants were instructed to view both neutral images and disturbing images (like a man holding a gun to his head), and react to both in first- and third-person. While they did this, their brain activity was monitored by the researchers.
When reacting to the disturbing photos from a third-person perspective, participants' emotional brain activity decreased very quickly (within one second).
In the second experiment, participants reminisced on painful past experiences, using first- and third-person language to do so, and again, their brain activity was recorded during the task.
The results showed, when using third-person speech, the participants displayed less activity in a brain region commonly associated with painful emotional reflection.
So, while it may sound a bit strange, this self-talk can be an excellent way to bolster emotional regulation.
Plus, it's worth noting that this research demonstrated it doesn't require any extra brain power to speak to yourself in the third-person instead of first-person. So it's easy AF to get into this practice if you've never tried it before.
Go ahead and let go of any weird or judgmental feelings you may have when it comes to self-talk. What it really means is you're brave enough, and self-aware enough, to take control of your emotions and direct them in a way that benefits your mental health.
Trust me, it's not weird; it's not narcissistic. It's self-care in its greatest form.