AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new research discovered that talking to yourself in the third person may be one of the most effective ways to cope with stress.
Me, myself and I. All of which can help.
Think of all the ways you are stressed out nowadays: the boss, the kids, the spouse.
“I have definitely said to myself, ‘get it together, girl,'” said Tanya Goldsmith, who talked with KXAN during her lunch break in downtown Austin.
Researchers said that is one of the best ways to get a grip on stressful emotions. Self-talk. But, what about doing it in the third person?
“When I’m playing video games, I’ll be like, ‘Why? Melody, why are you doing that? Stop it,'” said Melody White, who works in Austin.
Scientists at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University recently teamed up for a first-of-its-kind study; and, they found that third-person, self-talk is highly-effective. And, just as easy as those first-person mental “notes to self.”
“If you make it a he or she or a Gloria, as in ‘what does Gloria want to do next?’ It takes away that subjective feeling of what am I going to do,” said Seton Shoal Creek Psychiatrist Dr. Gloria Oyeniyi, who backs the study.
Oyeniyi also encourages people to pay attention to their third-person conversations. There might be some good advice to receive when talking in the third-person.
“It’s as if you’re trying to tell someone else what they need to do,” Oyeniyi said. “I think it’s a little bit easier to give someone else advice sometimes than to give yourself advice.”
Oyeniyi believes this self-talk could be beneficial no matter where you are.
“For me, it’s almost worth the sacrifice to look a little bit crazy to get something right,” said Bianca Zavala, who works in the downtown area. “And, there’s also the idea of, ‘I don’t know these people in this store, so it’s OK if I look crazy,’ because I’m going to walk out with the right grocery list.”
Researchers said this should be just one method in a person’s sanity tool box. It can be like counting to 10 out loud or yelling into a pillow. Scientists at both universities said their teams will continue to explore how third-person self-talk compares to those strategies.
During the research, scientists tracked brain scans and discovered that negative emotional brain activity dropped within one second when participants referred to themselves in the third person.