Life Lessons From Seinfeld

One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld was “The Jimmy.” It was about the guy who talked about himself in the third person. Remember that great dialogue where he announced, “Jimmy’s sweet on Elaine?” Research now shows that talking to yourself in the third person can help regulate your emotions.

According to a University of Michigan study, using third-person self-talk may allow you to quickly gain psychological distance between you and a bad experience. Subject’s brains in two different studies reacted faster when they used this approach than when they used first-person self-talk. And it’s very simple to do. All that’s required is using your name instead of using “I” when you refer to yourself.

Although more research is needed, it doesn’t hurt to experiment. The next time I’m feeling stressed, I’ll ask myself, “Why is Teressa angry?” Or “What is Teressa afraid of?” and see what comes of it.

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