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Science Explains How Talking To Yourself Improves Your Brain Functions

Science Explains How Talking To Yourself Improves Your Brain Functions

Many of us start talking to ourselves when we are children. Speaking out loud and directing internal conversation at yourself is more intelligent (and less crazy) than you might think.

Why do people talk to themselves in the first place? If you imagine speaking to someone else to provide them with direction, speaking to yourself works in the same way. There are many reasons for self-directed speech, though most are reminding yourself to focus on what you’re doing. From looking for a pair of keys to shopping for a particular item in the supermarket, self-talk is all over the place.

Science explains self-talk

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    Directed internal (or external) thinking processes are significant because this behavior allows people to find things quicker, according to a study conducted by Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley. They found that you can enhance your visual system to detect an item by hearing the name of the item. Thus, when you talk out loud, you’re essentially cueing your system to get ready to perform better.

    The goal of the study was to see if self-directed talk has an effect on what you visually process. This was done by giving 26 undergraduates (50% male, 50% female) search tasks in a complex supermarket display. Lupyan concluded that hearing the name of the items actually assists with visual perception. Simply hearing the name of the item helped participants find the items better as opposed to only thinking about them.

    It was found that you can cue your visual system to detect items better. Participants in the study had to look for common objects. The more the word was spoken aloud differentiated from the object the participant was looking for, performance worsened. If precise labels were given, the participant’s performance improved.

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    Those little conversations you’ve had with yourself have been helping you all along. Next time you’re looking for something, speak out loud and test if you found it faster than normal. Want to increase your brain function? Make your brain perform better and do your bidding more easily by simply talking to yourself. The research suggests that doing it until it comes naturally to you will help you complete goals and tasks.

    The positive results of self-talk

    You’ve heard it before. There are so many benefits to visualizing what you’re looking to achieve. Things tend to go more according to plan if you’ve mapped out the plan in your mind beforehand. Seeing the goal accomplished in the mind’s eye actually helps you manifest it in daily life. Now you have more reasoning behind your daydreaming, it’s an early stage of the creation process.

    Visualize objects so you can actually see them better through your eyes. Being able to visualize an object helps you physically see it better.

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    The previous study summarized, “Speaking facilitated search, particularly when there was a strong association between the name and the visual target. As the discrepancy between the name and the target increased, speaking began to impair performance.”

    This indicates that if you’re searching for coffee online, for example, and you begin thinking about cell phones, this is going to render your search much more ineffective. You may think, “Of course, think about what you’re looking for while you’re looking.” However, you know how the mind can drift to other thoughts. Having internal focus can be a challenge for anyone. Luckily, simply speaking out loud will help you perform better.

    How can you best use self-talk in your life?

    Start talking to yourself! Are you having the most important conversations in life with yourself first? Talk to yourself through an interview, sales call, or conversation with your significant other. Science is on your side. Going through this simple exercise is worth your while. Though it may seem elementary, self-talk is actually high-level preparation and focus.

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    Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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