There is no better way to start a piece on the benefits of talking to yourself than to quote Mr. Jones.
“One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know at least somebody’s listening,” Franklin P. Jones.
Taking to Yourself – Why so Many Bad Associations?
Cognitive Benefits Of Talking To Yourself
When people think of themselves as another person, “it allows them to give themselves objective, helpful feedback“, says Ethan Kross, associate professor of psychology and director of the Self-Control and Emotion Laboratory at the University of Michigan
In another study, psychologists Gary Lupyan (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Daniel Swingley (University of Pennsylvania) conducted a series of experiments to discover whether talking to yourself can help you to locate lost objects.
Long story short – they established that speaking facilitated search, particularly when there was a strong association between the name and the visual target.
You see? Not only children can augment their thinking while doing some tasks!
Are there any other benefits other than being more likely to stay on task, staying focused better, and showing improved perception capabilities?
Sure! Better memory. Think about it – when you talk out loud, you stimulate more sensory channels than when you subvocalize. You hear the sounds. What’s more, even though you may not realize it, your body feels sounds as they are conducted through your bones.
I hope that by this moment, you’re at least muttering to yourself!
Benefits of Talking to Yourself – Overcoming Stage Fright
Everybody has his favorite tricks to deal with anxiety. But the one which I find the most effective is preparing yourself for what’s about to come.
Have a presentation?
Stand in front of the mirror and go through your presentation as many times as it’s necessary to turn it into a brilliant performance. Who knows? Maybe you will enjoy it that much that you will join Toastmasters.
Have an interview?
Collect the list of 20-30 most frequently asked questions and rehearse the crap out of them!
Want to confront your boss about the long-overdue raise?
List all the possible questions that may come up during such a conversation and prepare your answers. Doing so will put you in a much better position when push comes to shove.
And so on. You get the idea.
Proper preparation kills stress and anxiety.
Benefits of Talking to Yourself – Practicing Languages
What if I told you that you could learn a language without uttering a word to anyone else but yourself? You would probably think I’m crazy. And I certainly am. After all, I’m writing an article about talking to yourself.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I learned Swedish (B2 level) to get the job in less than four months without talking to anyone in Swedish (but myself). And while working 50+ hours per week.
Talking to yourself is one of the best (and cheapest!) ways to improve your language skills. Conversations with others always impose various limitations on you. It’s entirely understandable – It’s much more important to keep the talk alive than to experiment with different grammar constructions or new vocabulary.
Self-talk enables you to concentrate on your weaknesses. Such deliberate practice can significantly improve your language level.
How to Talk to Yourself?
All conversations are based on the “action-reaction” principle. Somebody asks you some questions – you answer. It goes on and on. That’s why, if you want to prepare yourself for conversations with, say, friends from abroad, you should list potential questions that might come up, together with answers to them. Don’t forget about taking into consideration the interests of potential conversation partners!
Of course, you don’t have to come up with all the questions by yourself.
I want to recommend two fantastic websites which I have been using for many years:
They cover almost every socially acceptable topic which might crop up during your conversations. Together with some more “unusual” subjects, such as – eye contact or Jamaica.
If you discuss most of these subjects with yourself, I can guarantee you that you’ll be able to talk with every native speaker about almost anything you want. Isn’t it a definition of being fluent?
Overcome Weirdness of Talking to Yourself
Picture by: Gabriel77
Rubber duck debugging is an informal term used in software engineering for a method of debugging code. The name is a reference to a story in the book The Pragmatic Programmer in which a programmer would carry around a rubber duck and debug their code by forcing themselves to explain it, line-by-line, to the duck. Many other terms exist for this technique, often involving different inanimate objects.
So don’t be a weirdo and don’t feel ashamed to talk to yourself!
Other Benefits of Talking to Yourself
That’s right. You might use the self-talk for various things, such as:
- Energizing and motivating yourself – you can psych yourself up with: “Come on!” “Let’s go!” “You can do this!”. Martial artists have been using screams for hundreds of years to give them some extra energy. I’m pretty sure there is a good reason for that.
- Playing devil’s advocate – find the weaknesses in your argumentation. Try to debunk your theories. Saying your options out loud and elaborating on the pros and cons can help bring the right choice to light, and you might be surprised at the unexpected direction your thoughts take when they’re audible.
- Blowing off steam – don’t keep it all inside. If your colleague is a massive w*nker, say it out loud and scold him. Scientists found out that swearing can alleviate pain and decrease stress.
- Cheering yourself up – sometimes, it just happens that others don’t appreciate you enough. So what? You can pat yourself on the back for being a great human being!
Benefits of Talking to Yourself – FAQ
My spouse/brother/friend is talking to himself/herself a bit too much? Should I be worried?
Generally, no, unless you notice any of the two following symptoms.
- The self-talk is accompanied by general hostility towards others, cupping some object and calling it “my precious.”
- It turns out that they are talking to the invisible friend called Jimmy
Remember, it’s not weird until you make it weird!