«Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance» (Psalm 42:5).
Have you ever seen a person talking to himself? It is funny seeing someone who is talking to himself and even making gestures to emphasize his or her inner monologue. Some think that this is a sign of craziness, but it is certain that this practice can have important effects on behavior. According to a study published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, talking to oneself can be advisable especially when it is about strengthening an action and being more efficient in performing a task. To test such hypothesis, the researchers Gary Lupyan, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Daniel Swingley, from the Department of Psychology of Philadelphia (USA), made an experiment where 20 participants had to look for different products in a supermarket. Interestingly, those people who were ‘constantly reminding themselves about the name of the product they were looking for were the first ones to find them, proving that self-talk affects both behavior and efficiency.
In a similar way, Donald Meichenbaum developed a self-instructional program with the aim of helping people organize their thought, control their emotions and manage their behavior. The technique basically consists in channeling and organizing the behavior through guided thoughts. Such thoughts or utterances indicate through an inner dialogue which way of thinking could help solve or deal with a problem and, consequently, point out the steps to follow in order to assume the most beneficial behavior.
King David seemed to have been trained to use this type of psychological strategy. Feeling troubled and miserable, he identified the problem (his «anxiety-depressive» state), identified the solution (having faith in God) and began talking to himself to give self-instruction, «Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.»
It is true that not all people are successful in visualizing or identifying their problems. Others are not capable of identifying any beneficial solutions. Sometimes, the future looks so uncertain that professional help is needed. Despite it, you can help yourself like the Psalmist did by seeking calmness instead of anxiety, encouraging yourself and, above all, reminding yourself that God has a solution to all your troubles.