We’ve all done this in our lives in more than one occasion – whether we’re muttering under our breath, or talking ourselves into doing something scary or challenging, or just when we’re alone – we’ve all done SELF-TALKING. This is the strangely human phenomenon of verbalizing our thoughts even if there’s no one around to hear them other than ourselves.
Now research has show that there are some very surprising benefits to talking to yourself, and that it does have some impact on behavior and decision-making skills. The study, published in Procedia, has outlined the effects of self-talk among subjects who played basketball. And here is what they found out:
1. Talking to yourself can help you perceive situations more objectively.
Language has a way to make us gain distance from our own experiences when we examine our lives. That’s why when we self-talk, it’s as if we’re talking about our own experiences from another person’s point of view, which is almost always more objective.
2. There are two types of self-talk that you can use… One is the instructional self-talk…
Instructional self-talk is when you talk yourself through a particular task. So instead of just silently wondering what to do next, you verbalize your thoughts and ideas, subconsciously commandeering yourself, telling yourself what to do or what to focus on. So when you’re getting groceries or building furniture, you’ll usually find yourself doing this.
3. The other is the motivational self-talk.
This is much more common. It’s when you try to encourage yourself by verbalizing motivational thoughts. It can be something as simple as “You can do this,” or “One more lap to go, come on!” when you’re jogging, or “You’re gonna be okay,” when you’re feeling down. It may sound corny to some people but it does work and it does make you feel more motivated.
4. Self-talk can help speed up cognitive abilities in relation to problem-solving and task performance.
For example, if you’re stuck at a grocery store looking for an item that is hard to find, talking to yourself can help the process go faster. This because of something called “feedback hypothesis”. Basically, when you say the name of a thing, you visualize said object more clearly in your head. Not only that, it helps you distinguish said thing from the all other objects.
5. Lastly, self-talk can help you focus.
Feedback hypothesis furthermore states that self-talking helps you focus on a specific task/object/goal and blur the rest of the noise that serve as your distractions. This is especially true with tasks that take a lot of steps. Talking to yourself will remind you where you are in the process and eliminate all the things that aren’t necessary to completing the task at hand.