The next time you find yourself thinking really hard about a problem in your life, try to think out loud to yourself instead of just keeping it in your mind.
This is because often when you say something out loud, it can sound very different than when you’re just playing with thoughts inside your head.
When you keep your thoughts inside, they can quickly become muddled, blurry, and disorganized. We often jump from one thought to the next, with very little connection between them.
However, when you think out loud to yourself, it forces you to be more logical and reasonable with your thoughts.
Just like when you have a conversation with someone, when you talk to yourself you have to draw a line from one thought to another in a coherent way. They can’t just be random – you have to explain yourself each step of the way.
A recent study found that talking to yourself out loud can have cognitive benefits and improve your performance on difficult tasks. This also explains why many people may naturally talk to themselves when they are trying to figure out something they are having trouble with.
One popular example of this is when computer programmers use a technique called “rubber duck debugging” to help them discover problems in a piece of code. The basic idea is to explain your problem to a rubber duck on your desk, which allows you to speak out the problem and hear yourself think it through out loud.
When you think out loud to yourself, it allows you to stay more focused on the problem you’re thinking about, rather than letting your mind drift and daydream.
This simple tool can have many different applications. You may want to think out loud while solving a difficult problem at work, or learning a new skill or hobby, or studying for an important exam, or just to walk yourself through any personal issues you may be currently going through.
Another related study found that speaking out loud can improve learning and memory. This fits with something known as the production effect, which says we often learn better when we generate something based on what we’re learning, rather than just absorbing it passively.
In general, whenever we think out loud we keep our minds more focused and active on whatever is we are doing. You may even want to find a “rubber duck” of your own, or some other inanimate object you can talk to when you are working on something that needs your full attention.
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