Use This Trick to Lower Your Stress Level

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The next time you are feeling stressed, instead of asking yourself, “Why am I getting so upset?” try, “Why is [insert your name here] getting so upset?” or “What is bothering [insert your name here]?” Referring to yourself in the third person during times of stress can help you control your emotions, say psychology researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Michigan (UM), reporting in Scientific Reports.

The study involved two separate experiments that reinforced the same conclusion: Referring to yourself in the third person allows you to think about yourself in a way similar to the way you think about others. There’s even evidence for this in the brain, according to Jason Moser, MSU associate professor of psychology.

In one experiment, participants viewed images designed to be either neutral or disturbing, and reacted to them in the first person and then in the third person while researchers monitored their brain activity using electroencephalography. Emotional brain activity decreased within one second when the participants referred to themselves in the third person while viewing upsetting images. In the second experiment, participants thought about past painful experiences in the first person and then in the third person while researchers monitored brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This study also showed less emotional brain activity when participants referred to the painful experiences in the third person.

Sourced from: Michigan State University