… although it may test your colleagues.
Tortillas. Tortillas, tortillas. You’re in a grocery store, saying the very word not only reminds you over and over again of what you’re looking for, but also of the object itself. Tortilla. You’re looking for the circular stack of the flat, white, unleavened bread speckled with brown spots. Tortilla. You can see it in your mind saying the word, the stack of tortillas stacked and twisted up in plastic wrap. Tortilla. Maybe you get one concerned glance when you whisper tortilla to yourself, but in the context of a grocery store, what you’re trying to do is quite clear. You’re looking for tortillas. Believe it or not, talking out loud to yourself, makes you smarter.
Studies theorize talking out loud helps with a number of skills, from focus to problem-solving. In the grocery store example, by repeating tortillas out loud, it helps the brain and eyes focus on locating one object. Ever been to a grocery store hungry? You’ll leave with far more than you need as all the foods catch your eye before your distracted brain can rein them back in. Grocery stores are designed to shift your focus around, from strategic product placement to ingenious aisle end caps. (Think about Costco, your normal shopping routine becomes a treasure hunt to find the new location of a product.) By repeating what you’re looking for, and also visualizing it in your mind, grocery store trips can be a bit easier.
Grocery stores pull your attention in all directions, similar to a busy life. Balancing a workload, family, romantic relationships, relationships with superiors, coworkers, and subordinates, it seems the distractions never end! Try listening to your inner voice, rather, try letting your inner voice out. Talk yourself thoughtfully through one task after the next to maintain your focus in all aspects of your life as opposed to trying to divide your attention constantly.
When it comes to solving problems, who better to talk to then someone who intimately knows you and the situation at hand? Turns out, that person can be the very one you see in the mirror. From childhood, curious kids explore how life works, and talk through it as they learn. They reason aloud as they talk through basic math and pattern recognition until these skills become second nature. While we do grow up, studies suggest some of the benefits of talking aloud we do not grow out of. It helps us focus and organize our thoughts, in a sense being our own council. Not to say outsider perspective and second opinions don’t help, but it certainly helps to consider your own perspective and ground yourself before seeking help from others. Give yourself a little pep talk! It’s not crazy to seek a smarter you!
What else in life could you stand to think of differently? You won’t know until you reframe your perspective. Don’t know where to start? Try reaching out to Brain Basics, our certified life coach can help you find simple ways to make your brain more efficient. Get the most out of your brain and talk yourself through your goals with the guidance of a life coach.