New research finds benefits in talking to yourself in the third person
Psychology researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Michigan (UM) - my alma mater! - have found evidence that speaking to yourself in the third-person can greatly relieve stress and help you control your emotions.
MSU and UM conducted two separate yet similar experiments in which participants were asked to describe stressful or disturbing situations or memories both in the first and third person. The researchers monitored the participants brain activity throughout and found two fascinating pieces of evidence.
First, researchers noticed that when participants were talking about their experience in the third person, their "emotional brain activity" decreased rapidly. One theory of why this happens is because referring to yourself in the third person puts more separation between you and the situation you are confronting. I often use a similar technique in my guided imagery and this can be especially helpful for problem solving or working through a stressful situation. This kind of separation can make it easier for you to give yourself advice or praise like you would a close friend or loved one.
Secondly, in both experiments researchers saw that it took the same amount of effort for participants to talk in first and third person. This means that it is equally as easy to talk to yourself in the third person and give yourself the calming benefit! Read more.