How self-talk promotes self-regulation
In this chapter, the authors explain how J. M. Barrie astutely captured a tool that has been empirically shown to aid people in their ability to regulate their behaviors, thoughts, and negative emotions, including those that stem from experiences of social rejection. They outline a theoretical framework that explains why they expect using one’s own name and other non-first-person pronouns should enhance self-regulation, and focus on the role that psychological distance plays in this process. A large body of research suggests that enhancing psychological distance from the self facilitates self-regulation. The authors describe the implications that such “distanced self-talk” has for emotion regulation, and discuss the mechanisms that underlie its benefits. They also describe other linguistic mechanisms that promote psychological distance and discuss the implications of this body of work for interventions aimed at experiences of social rejection. The authors explore the benefits of distanced self-talk for helping individuals regulate their emotions in rejection-relevant situations that elicit social stress.