Researchers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University showed people threatening images and then asked them to give first-person and third-person descriptions of what they saw. They also asked the same people to describe traumatic experiences in both first-person and third-person.
Turns out brain activity in the region associated with emotional experiences was lower when they spoke in the third person. In other words, when they talked about the images and experiences as though happening to someone else, they were less stressed. The trick is, talking in the third person regulates our emotions as long as it’s done “silently in our head.”Bonus? People won’t think you’re nuts.
If you want to encourage yourself, say it out loud and refer to yourself in the first person. In case you’re wondering, most people already talk to themselves, now we know how to do it effectively!
The study was published in July’s issue of “Scientific Reports.”