Want to feel good? Talk to yourself.

Folk lore has it that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. Being a life long “self talker” I hide this habit.  If my friends thought I was mad who would want them as friends?

Now that cell phones are ubiquitous my car is the one safe haven where I can unleash my monologues. I figure that anyone who passes me while driving assumes I am talking on the phone.

(According to some research when you are having a conversation, about 60 percent of what you say will be about you.  That statistic rises to 80 percent if you are communicating on social medial.)

Need an audience? Talk to a mirror.

The Neuroscience of Everybody’s Favorite Topic. 

Researchers from Harvard University’s Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab wanted to see what parts of the brain became active when subjects talked about themselves rather than about other people.

They discovered that talking about yourself activates the same areas of the brain as sex, cocaine, and good food.

Researchers took these findings one step further. Does someone else need to be listening to you when you talk about yourself, for it to be a pleasurable experience?

  • The same process was repeated with one difference. This time some of the responses would be shared and some would be kept private.
  • Each participant brought a friend or relative with them. These companions were put in an adjoining room.
  • Before subjects were asked questions about themselves or others, they were told whether their response would be live broadcast to the person they brought with them, or kept private, even from the research team.

The results showed that both talking about yourself and sharing your response brings pleasure.

The greatest enjoyment comes from talking to other people about yourself; the least from talking privately about others.

Although it isn’t as high, talking privately about yourself still comes with a strong hit of pleasure. That means that private self-reflection like writing in a journal or talking to yourself are feel-good activities.

Who knew I talk about myself because it feels good?  I thought it was because I liked my own company.


Click here for post on journaling: The Write Way to Physical and Emotional Well-being