Too much self-talk is dangerous

Talking to yourself increases success - with a trick

Whoever mumbles loudly and in public and speaks to himself always seems a little crazy. Are there Self-talk a healthy thing. Sure, interesting self-talk requires a clever conversation partner, as the writer Herbert George Wells once mused. In that case, they are not only particularly stimulating and witty, but also increase success - but only if you are with them use a trick

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96 percent of people talk to themselves

Most of us talk to ourselves, even on a daily basis. This is completely normal. It's just mostly a silent, inner dialogue with the self.

By the way, already do that children so. Between two and four years of age, they talk to themselves regularly (quietly) and verbalize the day's experiences. At the age of five this noisy shifts Autolog however, more and more inward and in the end most of the time is only thought.

Adults, on the other hand, speak audibly to themselves from time to time - US research assumes, for example, that 96 percent of adults verbalizing their inner voice regularly - but mostly only when they feel unobserved - in the car, in the shower, on the toilet. And then mostly only when they are annoyed with others or themselves, motto: "How could I be so stupid!"

OK then! Because self-talk - whether in your head or loudly verbalized - act as a kind of valve:

  • Anger, sadness and frustration can then not eat their way into you so easily.
  • Unclear thoughts and feelings are put into words and sorted, making decisions easier.
  • And last but not least, you remember Heard mostly better than just imagined.

The downside: Such Self-statements shape our Self-image.

If negative feelings and thoughts predominate and these constantly revolve around your own failure, then you can unsure, dissatisfied, make you bitter or even angry. The thoughts then literally eat their way into the soul and finally manifest themselves in everyday life as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Or as a completely distorted worldview.

With this, the noisy thoughts and self-talk can also provide clues to a mental illnesssuch as schizophrenia. Psychologists consider a strong symptom, for example, when people keep repeating the same sentences, mumbling loudly to themselves or speaking to themselves in public places (e.g. in the subway or in waiting rooms), i.e. talking to themselves with people who are not present or commenting on their surroundings as if it weren't there at all.

That sort of thing uncontrolled Talking to yourself can be a sign of lonliness be, but also an indication of a veritable psychosis.

The same thing happens in people with dementia and severe depression Thought articulations often before. Those affected should be really alarmed when they begin to hear strange voices and speak to them. But strictly speaking, these are no longer self-talk either.

Talking to yourself - a sign of intelligence?

Quotes about self-talk ...

Thinking is a self-talk of the soul. [plato]

One of my greatest pleasures is to have long and long conversations with me. [Oscar Wilde]

You don't have enough self-talk these days. One is probably afraid to speak to oneself. [Jean Giraudoux]

Self-talk is one of the most important tools we use to control our behavior. [Dolores Albarracin]

A prayer is always also a self-talk, you don't want to lie or sneak around, you have to talk softly. [Dieter Bohlen]

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More success through self-talk

That self-talk is also very real too better results several studies have already shown.

For example, the psychologists Dietrich Dörner from the University of Bamberg and Ralph Reimann from the University of Vienna let 17 test subjects one Construction task solve each one alone and watch them by video.

And indeed: The best results were achieved by those students who completed the 100 minutes himself who had asked almost 60 questions thinking aloud. However, the researchers noted at the same time: Only analytical questions of the type were helpful "How do I fix this here now?".

Category questions or statements "I'm stupid!" in contrast, had no positive effect whatsoever.

Dörner thinks that if you have a problem, you should formulate it. Whether by talking to yourself or by scribbling - the fog of problems is lifted and we see increasingly more clearly ourselves, can identify and structure the problems and triggers and thus ultimately develop solutions.

Also Conflicts could be solved in this way. This is also confirmed by the sports psychologist at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, Dorothee Alfermann. She is convinced that words can "motivate, calm or activate". She not only regularly observes this in athletes who talk to themselves prepare mentally before a competition. In this way, drivers could also calm down in a traffic jam and see their tension from the outside.

When the two psychologists Gary Lupyan and Daniel Swingley from the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and Pennsylvania examined self-talk more closely (PDF), they were able to prove that they were help with concentration as well as with memorizing or finding things again.

In the memory game in particular, the test subjects were able to use the loud self-dialogue and expressing individual motifs to find them more quickly.

Various scientists have found that talking to oneself has a complex effect. You can…

  • the own Increase performance.
  • Block out distractions and background noise.
  • help, Solve problems faster and better.
  • reduce stress.
  • aggressions to reduce.
  • for one differentiated view to care.

The latter has, among others, the US psychologist Thomas Brinthaupt with his Investigations can prove.

And there's another study by researchers at the University of Michigan. It also occupies the anew Use of self-talk - including their positive effect on our success.

But only with a trick!

In a series of experiments, the subjects were asked within five minutes to explain why they are qualified for their dream job. To make it a little more stressful for them, the researchers told them that they would then have to make their plea in front of numerous experts and key HR managers. To increase the agony even more, the participants were only given exactly five minutes to prepare and were not allowed to take any notes. For that you should Talk to yourself to reflect and reduce your stress levels.

Only difference:

  • Half of the subjects were instructed to do this to themselves I-form to speak. So roughly: “I'm totally stressed right now. But I can do it ... "
  • The second half should instead share your own feelings and yourself only by name and in a third person verbalize. So: “[Own name] is totally stressed out. But [own name] can do it ... "

Admittedly, the second variant sounds like someone with a huge roof damage, but it had an enormous effect:

  • Not only that the test subjects, who only spoke to themselves in third person, consistently in the experiments do better and presented themselves more confidently to the jury.
  • Medical examinations also showed that the participants stayed more relaxed and experienced the situation as less anxious and more challenging.

Psychological distance to yourself

So the key trick was building a psychological distance to yourself by using the third person in self-talk. At the same time, they removed themselves from the predicament and mentally operated as their own (but external) adviser.

A technique that comes from the NLP (Neurolinguistic programming) is known to relieve stress. But with noticeable success.

So the next time you are faced with a challenging task, talk to yourself a few times beforehand - but in a third person. And maybe not necessarily loud.

Talking to yourself is a "Tool of thought“, Says the renowned psychologist at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Thomas Brinthaupt. They promote self-control and provide clarity and clarity. And they are an important outlet for frustration, sadness or anger.

The so-called Self-Talk-Scale also comes from Brinthaupt - Self-talk scale, which shows the four dimensions or functions of the ego-reference:

In the meta-study published in 2009, the scientist and his colleagues came to the conclusion that the type of self-talk depends greatly on the personality of the individual depends:

  • Who for example frequent too Self-criticism and to social evaluation ("What do the others think?") tends to have low self-confidence.
  • Who, however, is more likely in the first-person dialogue confirmed and managed, which are mostly self-confident characters who also master new challenges well. The main purpose of auto-verbalization is to “raise the current mood or neutralize negative experiences”.

Talking to yourself as memory training

Scientists advise that older people in particular should regularly talk to themselves. With age, leave that Short term memory to. But if you talk to yourself, you can counteract this.

The "Memory effect“Be a different person when you talk to yourself out loud instead of just playing through everything in your mind,” says psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dirk Wedekind from the University of Göttingen.

As early as 2007, researchers led by psychologist Adam Winsler from the George Mason University of Fairfax in Virginia published a study that showed that people Solve puzzles better and fasterif you are talking to yourself while doing this.

Verbalizing even helps you concentrate better, especially when the thoughts are being spoken out loud. For example, to memorize a path: "First I passed the bakery, then turned right, then left again at the gas station ..." But even those who stand in front of a complicated machine to buy a ticket, for example, should speak out loud to themselves, what to do and why. In most cases this will loosen the knot in the head.

How to better talk to yourself

So that you can use the potential of Monologues with the self we have a few more here Basic rules put together for self-talk:

  1. No negative statements.

    Thoughts have tremendous power. The inner dialogue shapes our actions and our feelings supposedly up to 95 percent. And the Talmud already warns: “Pay attention to your thoughts because they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Pay attention to your actions because they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character." So avoid negative statements like "You can't do that again!" or "You're just too stupid for that!" or "The day has already started well ...". Use positive sentences like: "From now on it can only get better."

  2. Do not make a flat rate.

    "That's typical for you again!", "You never finish a thing!", "My colleagues keep ignoring me!" - Such generalizations are usually not only factually wrong, they also have a disastrous effect. Inferiority complexes can hardly be created more effectively. It is better to get such thoughts out of your head immediately and categorically.

  3. Be honest with yourself.

    This does not mean ruthless or even destructive self-mortification, but an honest analysis of your weaknesses and failures. This is the only way you can learn from it what you will do better next time. You should then formulate and express this as concretely as possible.

  4. Weigh it up.

    If you are already taking time for yourself, then do it thoroughly: Discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of a decision that come to mind and weigh them up. The main thing is that you make a decision afterwards. Otherwise, you will only increase the size of the obstacle in front of you.

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