Secrets of Self-Talk: Why talking to yourself needs to be normalized

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Reminding ourselves of our self-worth and our beauty can alter our mind’s state for the better and improve our vision of ourselves. Though it seems straight forward, it is easy to forget the power we hold over our mood and actions; it is easy to forget how one pep talk can change a bad day into a tremendous one. Illustration by Kanako Muratomi.

In the bustle of life, many individuals often forget to speak to their closest friends. With a torrent of exams and extracurriculars bombarding our schedule, it can be hard to find time to talk to the one person who has been by our side from the start. Ourself.  

Talking to yourself, commonly referred to as self-talk, is not often seen as a proper action in many societies. Due to the stigma surrounding speaking to oneself, we don’t commonly associate talking to ourselves with ‘healthy and helpful activity.’ And yet, that is the label self-talk should be given. The New York Times states that research suggests that self-talk can influence our behaviors and awareness of the world around us.

We can vividly remember the movie scenes when a team is 12 points down, and winning seems like a faraway dream. We remember hearing the awe-inspiring coach rally the players until we can feel the uplifting energy through the screen. That same energy can also emanate from you. Though giving pep talks to yourself can seem cliche and strange, it can significantly impact your cognitive state. Positive self-talk “has a tremendous impact on our self-esteem, beliefs about self-efficacy, and overall sense of worth.” Reminding ourselves of our self-worth and our beauty can alter our mind’s state for the better and improve our vision of ourselves. Though it seems straight forward, it is easy to forget the power we hold over our mood and actions; it is easy to forget how one pep talk can change a bad day into a tremendous one. We forget that even if all those around us abandon us, we would still have ourselves; that is a powerful thing. And something as trivial as a stigma should not block you from speaking to this boon companion.  

We forget that even if all those around us abandon us, we would still have ourselves; that is a powerful thing. And something as trivial as a stigma should not block you from speaking to this boon companion. 

One obstacle many of us face can be just as daunting as negativity: an exam. Often we can find ourselves rifling through pages of a textbook we should have familiarized ourselves with days ago and skimming through notes we hope our past selves did well. Though cramming is not ideal, self-talk can help us understand the information we perceive while also remembering the information we learned long ago. Dr. Don Vaughn, a neuroscientist at UCLA, stated that narrating the ideas you are trying to learn “can help expedite and cement your understanding of the topic.”   when we say a word, an accompanying image often follows in the lens of our brains. When we use this internal projector while studying, it can help us in deciphering complicated concepts and processes. This same internal projector can help us remember things. Mr. Lupyan, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, found that naming an object out loud almost helped your brain put a spotlight on the item. Yelling “Where is my phone?” can help you find your phone while also disturbing those nearby. Self-talk is not a quirk or a sign of instability; when we look at it with an open mind, we can see the benefits of self-talk and how truly standard the action is.  

Society has a dangerous tendency to generalize the world around us. It can often be more comfortable to sort everything into good and evil, so we do so, fueling stigmas and stereotypes. Self-talk is not the only action marked as abnormal, despite its advantages due to a few occurrences. It will not be the only action seen as impermissible due to a few negative moments. But if we allow those instances of negativity to blind us to the positives, we will never move forward. Whether it be our country’s history or one’s ability to empower oneself, individuals must see both the unpleasant and the pleasant. We must approach assuming ambiguity and keeping a clear mind.  

Next time you feel down, do not be afraid to yell and shout how much you think you are worth it. And if some deem you weird, dismiss them and inform them of the truth behind self-talk.  

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.

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