Iactuallyseem to talk to myself a lot. I have been keeping an eye on it as I plan to write this article and this weekend alone I have had a number of captivating conversations with myself from anything from presenting my own cooking show as I make dinner – “So you just put a little drop of oil in the pan before carefully placing in the chicken breast”, to rehearsing for a presentation I need to give at work on Monday while in the shower.
If people could see me taking to myself (which they most likely do as I walk around the grocery store mouthing the list of shopping I need), they may be thinking to themselves that I look a little crazy.
Talking to myself really helps me get my head straight and materialize things I am thinking about. And for anyone who does think it makes me look crazy, they can go take a long walk off a short plank because the joke is actually on them. Taking to yourself is a sign of genius!
Albert Einstein used to talk to himself. He was somewhat of a social outcast and when growing up used to prefer to keep himself to himself. He reports that he “used to repeat his sentences to himself softly.”
So there you have it. I am not going crazy, I am actually really smart!
The science bit!
In the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, psychologists Daniel Swigley and Gary Lupya hypothesized that the act of talking to ones self is actually beneficial.
In one experiment 20 random people were given the name of an object (like an apple or a bar of chocolate etc), which they were then told to go find in a supermarket.
In the first round of trials, they were not allowed to talk or even mouth the items names to themselves before they went out to the store to search for them. In the second round of the test they were aloud to say the names of the objects out loud as many times as they liked.
According to Live Science, the test subjects found they object with greater ease when they were able to say the name of the object to themselves as they searched the shelves. Saying things out loud helps spark the memory and makes the end game more tangible.
It only helps when you know what you need.
When you want to find something, it is useful to speak the objects name but only when you are familiar with the objects appearance.
According to Lupyan:
Speaking to yourself isn’t always helpful — if you don’t really know what an object looks like, saying its name can have no effect or actually slow you down. If, on the other hand, you know that bananas are yellow and have a particular shape, by saying banana, you’re activating these visual properties in the brain to help you find them.
If you know what you need, saying it out loud can better your chances of finding it.
Children learn this way.
As a child you may not remember it but you were a great learner. You learned a whole new language (English) which as you will know if you have ever tried to learn a foreign language in your adult life, can be pretty tough. You learned the alphabet, to count, the names of all the animals in the farmyard and much more. You will have learned all this stuff by repeating and speaking out loud.
According to Live Science, “self-directed speech can help guide children’s behavior, with kids often taking themselves step-by-step through tasks such as tying their shoelaces, as if reminding themselves to focus on the job at hand.”
It is a great way to organize your thoughts.
When you have a lot going on, you will be amazed how helpful it can be to vocalize things. It can calm your nerves as you end up being your own kind of therapist. Your outer voice is helping the inner you with the problems.
Psychologist Linda Sapadin says that talking out loud to yourself helps you validate important and difficult decisions. “It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you’re contemplating.”
We all know that in person to person issues, the best way is to talk things out. Well the same applies in you to you problems.
So you are not crazy, you are just taking time to listen to and vocalize your inner voice. You are organized and more likely to achieve your goals this way so carry on muttering. It really is good for you.