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

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

https://aeon.co/ideas/why-speaking-to-yourself-in-the-third-person-makes-you-wiser

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Key Ideas

Worrying Constantly turns to Depression

We are generally advised to do self-reflection and examine our lives, but we may not be doing it right.

Rumination, the process of recurrent worrying or brooding, is the default process of the brain but can lead to impaired decision making and even depression.

Third-Person Thinking

Third-person thinking, or talking to yourself about the problem as an outsider, or as a witness, can temporarily improve decision making, according to numerous studies.

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.
The creation of an alter ego

Creating a fictional persona is a strategy that involves taking a step back from our immediate feelings to allow us to think rationally about a situation. It allows us to rein in feelings like anxi...

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.

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We Don't Understand Ourselves

We don't realize that we are a bundle of contradictions and are trying to look for someone who can understand us, while we haven't been able to understand ourselves yet.

We think we are a gre...

We Don't Understand Others

Like us, other people are stuck in the same low-level self-realization: we try to gauge the other person by their looks or family or social status, which is a futile exercise in most cases.

We Don't Know Happiness

We aren't accustomed to being happy or have a misguided idea of what happiness is.

We find the ones who would be right for us, to be wrong for us, because of our lack of experience in what good is, and the fact that we don't associate love with being happy and fulfilled.

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Stress defined

Stress is a state of mental tension or emotional strain due to adverse or demanding circumstances, events, and situations.

Stress is hard to measure and someone may be suffering from i...

Causes of stress

The American Psychological Association (APA) says that the most common causes of stress (in the US) are finance, work, and family-related and that they affect more of the younger generations.

Constant stress

There is a constant need to be hyper-connected in today's modern workplaces, leading to a constant feeling of anxiety. 

Social media is bombarding everyone with unattainable, unrealistic goals. There are rising cases of high blood pressure, headaches, and insomnia, all related to stress. Constant stress can lead to heart disease, diabetes, mental disorders and depression.

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The Real Career Landscape
The Real Career Landscape
If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using outdated convention...
The career pitfall
Careers used to be kind of like a 40-year tunnel. You picked your tunnel, and once you were in, that was that. You worked in that profession for 40 years or so before the tunnel spit you out on the other side into your retirement.

Today’s career landscape isn’t a lineup of tunnels, it’s a massive, impossibly complex, rapidly changing science laboratory. 

Why Career-path-carving is important.

Time. A typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time.

Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all your non-career hours.

Impact. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it.

Identity. We tell people about our careers by telling them what we are.

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Sadness as a Person

A study found that people feel less sad if the feeling of sadness is personified, as it leads to a certain distance between the person and the emotion.

Detached from Sadness

By imagining that Sadness is a person, the sad person becomes detached from his/her sadness.

They can picture the sadness to have human traits or mannerisms, leading to an internal regulation of that particular emotion.

Not for the other Emotions

While this approach of humanizing the emotion appears to work for sadness, it can make a happy person less happy, if that feeling is humanized.

Other complex emotions like guilt and embarrassment may have any kind of effect and are yet to be studied. 

The Decoy Effect

It is a marketing tactic used to nudge you into purchasing a higher-priced variant of a product or service.

The Decoy effect can be applied in recruitment, polls, elections, or anywhere else ...

The extra-large glass

A well-designed decoy can shift our decision making between two options as much as 40%.

For example, we are more likely to buy the large glass of juice at the counter when we have been provided with a choice in which the smaller glass is priced only slightly less. We tend to opt for the bigger glass (even if we don't need more juice) as it looks like a bargain.

The Unattractive Option
  • The Unattractive Third Option (The Decoy) has no real value in itself and is just placed to sway the decision maker towards the higher-priced option.
  • The Decoy's only purpose is to make the expensive option appear like a bargain.
  • This has also been widely used in subscription options of magazines and in the high-end diamond market.

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Daydreaming about goals
Daydreaming about goals

It is natural to daydream about the things we want - how wonderful it would be if you learned a new language or wrote a novel. But, merely visualising a brighter future won't m...

The "Fantasy Realisation Theory"

It is speculated that people confuse daydreams for reality. The warm emotions from the fantasies lead them to feel as if they'd already met their goals. It results in not putting in the hard work needed for success.

Positive thinking on its own could be counter-productive. Research shows that dieters who fantasized about weight loss are less likely to lose weight. Students who dream of academic success tend to get worse grades than those who don't.

Mental contrasting intervention

Mental contrasting is engaging in a positive fantasy, followed by thinking about the obstacles that might stop you from achieving that goal.

Mental contrasting is a versatile and valuable tool. It is particularly effective when it is combined with implementation intentions ("if-then" plans).

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The Issue Behind Reading Hacks

Often manifesting as techniques for faster reading, nowadays, there is a mass illusion that reading many books by itself can bring about change into someone’s life. 

Many try to do it as...

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr Seuss

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr Seuss