As a child I used to act out my fantasies in these elaborate theatrical performances in front of my bedroom mirror. Out loud. Very loud. I’m have no idea how the other members of my household didn’t hear me, because I’m sure if they had, they would have surely tried to have me committed. Sometimes I was an internationally acclaimed pop star, or a rich and beautiful but humble princess. Other times I was an intensely driven and mega successful executive with a briefcase and heels. The one constant in all of my grandiose daydreams was that I was always the conquering hero, adored and celebrated by the masses. This may have been my way of making up for the appreciation I probably felt I was lacking at the time. These days, my fantasies revolve around getting a nap, or 45 minutes to myself, (selfish, I know) but I think I probably still feel a little under appreciated at times. So, while I am no longer a member of my one man theater, I do still give myself a little pep talk from time to time, or the occasional “atta girl” after a job well done. Why not, I mean who else can tell me exactly what I want to hear.
I find that I talk to myself a lot. Crazy? Perhaps. But as it turns out, a little bit of solo coversation can actually prove quite beneficial. Here are a couple reasons why.
Talking to yourself can help you concentrate despite distractions.
Imagine that your brain is like a high school cafeteria. It is filled with all the noise and indistinguishable chatter of your many thoughts. By talking out loud you become the loudspeaker demanding some order in all the chaos. It helps you to prioritize your thoughts by recognizing what is important and putting into perspective, the trivial things.
It can help you to remember.
This is called the production effect. Studies have shown that reading a word out loud will help you to remember it better than reading it silently. There are visual pathways in memory and there are auditory pathways in memory. By saying the word out loud you form both the visual and the auditory pathways, thus increasing your chance of remembering the word.
This can be used to remember other things as well. If you frequently misplace things, make it a habit to tell yourself where you are putting them. For instance, saying aloud, “I am putting the gift certificate in my desk drawer,” will significantly improve your chances of finding it when the time comes to use it.
I talk to myself whenever I am leaving the house. I say things like “I am locking the front door” or “I am turning the flat iron off.” My kids look at me like I’m nuts, but I can proudly say that I have never once caused our house to burn down. (Knock on wood)
Self-talk can improve your confidence.
Giving yourself a few words of encouragement in the morning can really help set the tone for your day. We are so accustomed to the steady stream of mental chatter that plays in the backgrounds of our minds that we don’t even recognize that we are constantly judging ourselves. More often than not we are internally berating ourselves with negative feedback in the form of thoughts such as “this looks terrible on me” or “why did I just say that?” Instead of being our biggest critics, we can drown out the negative thinking by making statements, out loud, to create tangible ideas that are positive. Take a good long look in the mirror in the morning and say something like “you are going to dominate that proposal this afternoon,” or “stay calm, you’ve got this.” ?Believe in yourself and others will too.
So go for it, start talking to yourself. I think those of us who already do – and take the time to listen to ourselves as well – are those who understand and appreciate ourselves the best. Cheers!