Soothe sunburns with tea; make yogurt from coffee; curse to curb pain. The world is full of unexpected hacks, and here are Greatist’s top picks.
News: Talk to Yourself to Stay Motivated
Struggling to power through a workout? Can’t help a fifth trip to the fridge? A new study suggests talking to ourselves in the second person may aid willpower and self-control.
A team of social psychologists led by University of North Carolina’s Ethan Zell asked three groups of college-age men and women to jot down what they imagined they’d say to themselves (in their heads) in different situations. One group imagined negative and positive scenarios (being boo’d at a karaoke bar v. being applauded). Another group imagined making decisions and being told what to do (opting to order zucchini v. being forced to). The third group thought about different stages of planning for, attending, and reflecting on an event.
Participants used more second-person statements when envisioning themselves in negative situations, making decisions, and participating in an event (as opposed to planning or reflecting). First-person use cropped up more when participants saw themselves in positive scenarios, gearing up for and analyzing events, and being told what to do.
Talking to yourself as if you were someone else may boost self-control in some situations by “dividing that self into commander and doer,” Zell says.
Can We Trust It?
Other research suggests that self-talk can also bolster intellectual ability as well as athletic performance . Still, Zell cautions that not all self-talk has a positive outcome. Negative self-talk — you suck! — can actually hinder athletic performance . And people with low self-esteem, for instance, tend to feel worse when they repeat affirmations like “I’m a lovable person.” Researchers say that’s probably because they feel like they’re falling short of how people expect them to feel .
Zell’s research doesn’t prove that “you” statements boost self-control more than “I” ones. But sometimes mumbling to ourselves might just be the motivation we need. So next time you're in need of a little extra push in the right direction, say to yourself what you’d say to motivate another person. Let us know how it goes!
Have you used the second person when trying to subdue an impulse? How has it worked for you?
- Motivating goal-directed behavior through introspective self-talk: the role of interrogative form of simple future tense. Senay, I, Albarracin, D., Noguchi, K. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Psychology, Champaign, IL. Psychological Science 2010; 21(4):499-504.⤴
- Effects of self-talk: a systematic review. Tod, D., Hardy, J., Oliver, E. Sport and Exercise Science, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, United Kingdom. Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology, 2011 Oct;33(5):666-87.⤴
- Positive self-statements: power for some, peril for others. Wood, J.V., Perunovic, W.Q., Lee, J.W. Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Ontario. Psychological Science, 2009 Jul;20(7):860-6.⤴
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I use my own version of self-therapy almost every day. It consists of writing down what I'm thinking and then investigating the truth (a bit of homemade CBT) in my thoughts and replacing them with more balanced ones.
@Furries I do something very similar to this. If ever I find myself thinking something that I perceive as negative I stop, look at the situation as objectively as I can, and then rearrange my thoughts into more positive ones. Over time this has become habit and is taking less and less time each moment it occurs.
I sort of did this this morning when I didn't want to go to yoga, I repeated my mantra "erosion" and somehow even though I was a bit sore already, it got my rear moving. Mantras are really the key, I think, one key word that inspires you! :)
Great thought! I believe what we say to ourselves — and how we can say it — makes a huge difference. Language is very powerful. I always remember someone pointing out how saying something like, "This pain in my leg is killing me" over and over can lead to negativity and self-fulfilling prophecies. Saying something like "This pain in my leg is healing" instead can have very different results!
I use this technique all the time...and it has worked for me everytime! It allows me, to tell myself, what I need to do and get done, without the negitivity of the ones who dont understand the need for positive motivation!!! Great self-practise!!!