Why You Should Talk to Yourself in the Third Person

Decades of research now show that talking to yourself this way inside of your head — also called “distanced self-talk” — can help foster psychological distance, a phenomenon that leads to better emotional regulation, self control, and even wisdom. A recent study in Clinical Psychological Science is the latest in a robust body of work from University of Michigan professor of psychology Ethan Kross, Bryn Mawr College assistant professor of psychology Ariana Orvell, and others. It cemented the findings that when people use words for themselves that they usually reserve for others — their name, and third- and second-person pronouns — they are better able to deal with negative emotions, even in emotionally intense situations, and even if they have a history of having a hard time managing their emotions. Distanced self-talk also raises interesting questions about the ways that language influences our emotions, and highlights the importance of psychological distance overall.



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