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Self-Distancing: What It Is and How You Can Use It to Make Better Decisions

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.

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Self-Distancing: What It Is and How You Can Use It to Make Better Decisions

Self-Distancing: What It Is and How You Can Use It to Make Better Decisions

https://effectiviology.com/self-distancing-rational-decisions/

effectiviology.com

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Key Ideas

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 thinking about an event that you’ve experienced, where the self who is analyzing the event is considered to be distinct from the self who experienced it. 

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.

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Examples of the egocentric bias
  • When you are giving a public talk, you assume that your nervousness is more apparent to others than is actually the case.
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  • You might believe that your colleagues all share your political beliefs and social values.
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What causes the egocentric bias

It occurs primarily due to the fact that we tend to naturally examine and remember events primarily through our personal point of view.

Even when we realize that we should adjust our perspective to see things through other people’s eyes, we tend to anchor this new perspective to our own, and we often fail to adjust from our original viewpoint enough to properly assess how other people feel.

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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.

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

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