#209 – Self Talk

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Based on research by Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., … & Ayduk, O. (2014) written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.

We all have our own internal dialogue. Does the language we use when referring to ourselves influence how we think, feel, and behave under social stress? If we use non-first person pronouns such as you, he, she or our name, when referring to ourselves, instead of first person pronouns like “I, me, we, us” in past or future situations, do we give distance to the situation, think about ourselves more objectively, thus gain self-regulation?

Psychologists studied the impact of using non-first person pronouns and one’s own name during introspection.  They examined different types of self-talk for controlling stress regarding good first impressions. Compared with the first person group, the non-first person group performed better, displayed less distress, and engaged in less negative post-event thinking.

They also found that using non-first person language leads us to evaluate future anxiety provoking events in less threatening ways. Therefore, small shifts in the language we use during self-examination of a situation influence our ability to regulate our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Be mindful of your internal dialogue. To remain calm, try using your name.  Like, “George/Georgia Think carefully here. Does this make sense to you? “

References:

Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., … & Ayduk, O. (2014). Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: how you do it matters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106 (2), 304.

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