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6 Benefits of Talking to Yourself (No, You’re Not Crazy)

6 Benefits of Talking to Yourself (No, You’re Not Crazy)

My mother always says if she didn’t talk to herself, no one would listen to her. While her sentiment is comically cynical, there is some truth to it. Talking through your thoughts can be incredibly beneficial to your memory and cognitive functioning, as well as your mental and physical health. While you may catch some odd looks from people if you get caught talking to yourself at length in public, just take comfort in knowing that doing so is keeping you well-adjusted to the hectic day and age we live in. Talking to yourself helps:

1. Your brain work more efficiently

I hate grocery shopping, mostly because I can never find what I’m looking for. I find myself muttering “cilantro, cilantro, cilantro…” as I sort through various herbs and spices in search of the only one I’ll ever be able to recognize without a label. I’m glad to find I’m not the only one. A study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that people who repeat the name of an item they’re looking for were able to find it much quicker than those who silently lurched through the store. The hypothesis is that repeating words aloud sparks memory recall of known objects, making them more tangible and likely to stick out to an observer.

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2. Children learn

If you have or work with children, you know they almost never shut up! But that’s a good thing. As children grow, they use their voice to mimic adult conversation (okay, that’s not always good). But they learn vocal inflection, vocabulary, and syntax by listening to and repeating what their parents say. It also helps them work through problems and processes, as they put operations in sequential order. If you’ve ever sung the Peanut Butter and Jelly song with a kid, you’ve seen how well this works first-hand.

3. Organize thoughts

In today’s busy world, we have a million thoughts running through our heads at all times. Our thoughts get jumbled up in our minds and can become incredibly overwhelming if left unchecked. Talking through your thoughts, much like children do, helps you prioritize the “big things” affecting you. It also helps us realize the “small stuff” is fairly insignificant, and we had been making mountains out of molehills. By talking out our thoughts, we’re able to make much more sense of the world around us.

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4. Achieve goals

Making a to-do list sounds like a great idea, but if the list gets too long it can be overwhelming. Not only does talking through your list of obligations help prioritize them, but it also makes your goals seem attainable. Much like repeating “corn flakes” over and over at the store subconsciously jogs your recall and makes “corn flakes” a tangible item in your mind, talking through your to-do list allows you to visualize yourself completing the tasks you’ve written down. Psychologist Linda Sapadin reports that saying your goals out loud “focuses your attention, reinforces the message, controls your runaway emotions and screens out distractions.”

5. Relieve stress

Since talking to yourself allows you to organize your thoughts and prioritize your obligations, your mind isn’t constantly racing, wondering when you’re going to have enough time to get it all done. In turn, you’ll become more relaxed and able to go with the flow. Furthermore, talking to yourself helps you prepare for difficult times in life, such as a conversation with a loved one, colleague, or boss. Whether giving yourself a simple pep talk or rehearsing what you’re going to say, hearing the words come out of your mouth make the action doable, and allowing you to face tough situations with courage and confidence.

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6. Foster self-reliance

Those that talk to themselves look inward when they need help solving a problem. While others may automatically go to a colleague or supervisor when in need of assistance, people who talk to themselves are able to analyze situations and come to conclusions independently without any outside guidance. Also, by talking to ourselves, we listen to our inner voice, and discover what it is we truly want to get out an experience. Simply put, those that spend the time talking and listening to themselves, know themselves best.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm7.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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