Why talking to yourself is very much NOT a sign of madness…

I talk to myself a lot, always have done, and I’m pleased to say that research is showing it may be doing me a lot of good, I may have been on to something all along…

Neuroscience and brain imaging has shown that we may be able to calm ourselves simply by talking to ourselves in the third person. So by using your own name or “she/he” rather than “I”.

You may find you do this naturally

When I’m out running and the going gets tough I often find myself saying “Debbie, you can do this”. If I am running too fast and not pacing myself well I might say “Debbie, just slow down…. that’s right…. good”. I suppose I am giving myself some self-coaching.

The good news is this works whether you say the words out loud or silently to yourself, so there’s no need to worry what others may be thinking as you coach yourself.

So why might this work?

Researchers have found that doing this creates distance between yourself and whatever is triggering your negative or anxious feelings.

It also gives you headspace to allow other perspectives in, which I think is really important.

How many of us are able to give compassionate, supportive advice to others but not ourselves? Sounds familiar…? So by speaking to ourselves as if we were someone else, we may be more willing to take those words on board.

So if you have ever found yourself saying “I don’t seem to be very good at taking my own advice” – some third party self-talk may be just what you need to prescribe yourself.