New-Found Wisdom - Deepstash

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Why speaking to yourself in the third person makes you wiser - David Robson | Aeon Ideas

New-Found Wisdom

Talking to yourself in the third person brings clarity, insight and greater emotional regulation about the current situation or problem.

The detachment that being in the third-person offers, removes the inherent emotional bias that one has, but is unaware of.

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Changing perspective and emotion regulation

Research shows that small shifts in perspective can help people in controlling their emotions.

In an experiment, when people viewed themselves as "distanced" from a situation, they were less anxious than the group that viewed themselves as in the middle of the situation.

Thinking in the third person

Self-distancing enables people to focus on the bigger picture rather than concentrating on immediate feelings. It improves the sense of emotional regulation, self-control, and general poise.

In a study, participants were asked to practice self-distancing when faced with various kinds of food - for example, fruit instead of candy. When participants asked, "What does David want?" instead of "What do I want?" they were more likely to choose the healthier option.

Emotional Clarity And Depression

Studies have found that just having negative feelings isn’t enough to lead to depressive symptoms. You also have to be unable to put a name to your feeling state, and then dwell on trying to ide...

Emotional Regulation

 Is your ability to modulate or control the type of emotion you’re feeling, how long you feel that emotion, how strong it is, and whether you can turn it from negative to positive. Good emotional regulation, lets you get over negative feelings relatively quickly.

Having bad emotional clarity is thought to lead to low emotional regulation, which is linked to depression and rumination.

Emotional Clarity

Involves your ability to identify what you feel with ease. It affects mental health by predisposing people to depression.

This is a “subjective” ability. There is no external objective reference point for naming your emotions. Emotions are also relative qualities, meaning different people have different definitions and experiences for a given emotion. 

Self-distancing

The act of increasing the psychological distance from your own subjective perspective when assessing events that you experience.

Is an external perspective that you can use when th...

Benefits of self-distancing
  • It can help people cope with difficult events from their past.
  • It can  help people deal with socially distressful situations.
  • Useful because of our tendency to display high levels of wise reasoning when we give advice to others, but not when we decide how to act for ourselves.
  • It reduces decisional biases and improves decision-making during times of information overload.
How to create self-distance
  • Use self-distancing language:  refer to yourself in the second or third-person.
  • Try to view the situation from an alternative viewpoint, that is different from your own.
  • Try to visualize the perspective of  someone you admire, and then ask yourself what would they do in that situation.
  • Try expressive writing: write about your thoughts and feelings when you’re trying to analyze an event that you’ve experienced.