Approximately 1989: “MOM! Why do you talk to yourself so much?”
Me: “Because I listen and don’t talk back!” My children questioned my ‘ways’ and wondered if I was “OK,” hahaha.
2021: “MOM! Do you realize how much you talk to yourself out loud?”
“YES! Tradition! And now I LISTEN and respond! Pandemic isolation and indoor wildfire smoke living requires creative strategizing for a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes I spice it up with self-disagreement!” Reader: Picture rolled eyes from those hearing this, hahaha.
Research on talking aloud to oneself finds it helps you stay focused. For example, explaining processes to yourself aloud assists in finding solutions and working through problems. You can focus on each step necessary.
Recently, I was challenged with a medical situation. I had to hear myself talking about it in order to denote the changes in my vocal tone which dictated to me what I needed to do. I was able to assert myself speaking up for my own health benefit.
Kitty and I meow to each other. But telling the ant invaders I am on the warpath does not seem to phase them. They say nothing. Telling my living space I’ll be back right after errands appeases me. NO response is a flatline on the vocal meter. I enliven myself talking to either me or SOMETHING!
When recording a commercial for BookStayHop recently, I observed it’s not much different than talking to myself. I share information but no response from potential listeners.
Keep these concerns in mind: When we talk to ourselves (most of us do), are we listening to what is going on inside us? How do we learn more about our mental/emotional state if we are not really listening to the vocal tones?
Complimenting myself is very helpful. “Efficient job on that sink full of dishes, Janai!” Or acknowledging my creativity: “Wow! Nice feather colors in your hat!” My enthusiastic voice empowers me.
Some research found participants who spoke out loud to themselves while solving abstract logic puzzles performed three times better than those who worked in silence! Positive tones work better so instead of (which I do sometimes): “Oh, JANAI! Where did you misplace your cell?” It works easier with “Cell phone, I appreciate you, let me find you.” FYI: I call myself more than anyone else does…. from my landline trying to find the cell!
“Janai, where did you leave the grocery list?” I mutter, “Shopping list, where ARE you?” According to 2012 research, saying the name of whatever you’re looking for out loud can help you locate it more easily than simply thinking about the item. The authors suggest this works because hearing the name of the item reminds your brain what you’re looking for. This helps you visualize it and notice it more easily. (https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-i-talk-to-myself)
Talking to yourself aloud can help you stay focused. Imagine a frustration that has pulled out some exclamations (even expletives). Talk yourself through the toughest parts, state progress when you feel like giving up, and find success more easily. Explaining processes aloud helps you see solutions and work through problems because you focus on each step. Concentration is enhanced with hearing a voice talk through it.
“Talking out loud is perfectly normal,” according to neuropsychologist Paloma Mari-Beffa, Ph.D. She reports it is a state of high cognitive functioning. (https://theswaddle.com/is-it-normal-to-talk-to-yourself-out-loud/)
Talking to yourself helps motivate you when challenged or stuck. When we have positive self-talk and affirmations, confidence is gained. Encouraging words carry more weight when said aloud than just thinking them. They become more ‘real.’
Using second and third-person also works. “You are doing great!” “She is something else!” This can provide emotional distance when stressed or have difficult emotions by talking through them.
Self-talk certainly can be a powerful tool for boosting mental health and cognitive function. Reframing negative self-talk to positive can boost morale. “Janai, you’re doing great!” “Janai, you know you’ll feel better when you state where you set the cell down.”
Talking out loud and thoughts being closely related emerged in Ancient Greece and Rome with great orators like Marcus Tullius Cicero. In 1805 German writer Heinrich von Kleist used speech as a thinking method. He insisted if it can’t be discovered by thinking, improved discovery can occur with free speech which turns obscure thoughts into whole ideas. Speech is a creative process.
Go ahead! Talk to yourself out loud. It has been written that many famous leaders used this tool such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Oprah….. and now there’s all of us!
Janai ‘Grandma Boom’ Mestrovich
For all ages: Life Coach/Stress Mgt.
Social Emotional Learning