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To help control emotions, mental experts recommend talking to self in third person
2017-07-28 12:54:36
Oliver Smith

Photo by: Irreversibility via Flickr

People who talk to themselves are often considered nut cases or wackos.But mental health experts recommend for people who need helpin controlling their emotions to talk to themselves.

However, they must speak in third person -- meaning they must use the pronouns "he," "she," "it" or "they" to refer to themselves rather than "I"which is a first-person point of view, or "you," the second-person perspective. People who talk to themselves often use first person.

Keeping psychological distance from experiences

Jason Moser, an associate professor at the Michigan State University, explained that when people refer to themselves in the third person, it leadspeople to think of themselves more similar to how they think about others. "That helps people gain a tiny bit of psychological distance from theirexperiences, which can often be useful for regulating emotions," Moser said, Mid-day reported.

The evidence on the impact of talking to the self in third person could be seen in the human brain, according to the research published in the ScientificReports journal. The study made two experiments. 

Participants viewed neutral and disturbing images in the first experiment.While they were viewing those images, an electroencephalographmonitored their brain activity. An example of a disturbing photo is a man holding a gun to the head.When the participants reacted in third person tothe disturbing image, it just took one second for their enotional brain activity to go down. It was held at the Clinical Psychophysiology Lab of Moser. 

The participants, for the second experiment, reflected on past painful experiences while their brain activity was measured with the use of afunctional magnetic resonance imaging machine. Similar to the first experiment, when the participants used third person talk, their brain activityshowed less activity in the region which is commonly implicated as where painful emotional experienced are reflected.  The result indicated betterregulation of emotions, Ethan Kross, a professor at the University of Michigan, said. The second experiment was held at the Emotion and Self-ControlLab directed by Kross. 

The researchers, however, believe that the discipline of Psychology could further benefit if more studies on the subject would be done. The twouniversities in Michigan have plans to continue their collaboration in further exploration of the impact of how talking in third person during self-talkcompared to other strategies that aim to regulate the human emotion, Moser and Kross said, Science Daily reported.

Not A Red Card campaign

If you are not comfortable talking to yourself, there is a new campaign, Not A Red Card, which encourages to bring your mental health issues to theworkplace. Launched by Legal & General, a financial services company, the campaign has Clarke Carlisle, a former professional footballer, serve as itsspokesman. He was picked by Legal & General because Carlisle is open about his mental health issues.

The athlete has been battling depression throughout his career. Carlisle began his professional football career in 1997 when he played for Blackpool,representing Lancashire.  He first grappled with the problem in 2001 when a tackle by a Fulham player resulted in a torn posterior cruciate ligamentthat sidelined his booming career for one year and raised the possibility that his athletic career could be over.

He became depressed and was told to have a drink as a coping mechanism.Carlisle tried suicide, leading to a diagnosis of major depressive disorder  later. He was able to return to professional football after a year, but in 2003, he was admitted to a clinic for a 28-day treatment for alcohol-relatedproblems. 

The main target of the campaign are men, especially those in the age bracket of 18 to 44,  who are more prone to suffer from adverse mental healthproblems and have the highest suicide rates. With Carlisle as the poster boy of the campaign, Legal & General is tapping sports and humor to get malesto discuss in their workplace their mental health issues, Coachmag reported.

The campaign emphasized the importance of discussing mental health issues in the workplace because many people spend their waking hours withwork colleagues. They are the best people to discuss these issues  because many of them faced, grappled with, and eventually addressed the problemsuccessfully. 

But it is a permission-based environment. It there is no such atmosphere in your workplace, chances are it has small chances of someone beginningthose types of conversation. However, when someone has initiated the conversation, it paves the way for others to do it also. To make thoseconversations become part of the workplace environment, Carlisle recommended asking for an endorsement of the behavior from seniormanagement.

Carlisle pointed out that instead of drinking, men who have mental health issues could talk a work colleague about his issues which is a better copingmechanism. For people who may have verbalizarion isssues, he recommended writing their issues on paper or talking to yourself in the mirror as thefirst step.Do remember, though, to use the third person. 


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