Using Self-Distancing in Decision-Making

Do you tend to let your emotions lead your life? Are you guilty of making irrational, quick decisions when faced with a tough or stressful choice? There is a way to stop this behaviour, it is called Self-Distancing.

In today’s blog post we will discuss Self-Distancing and how it can help your professional and personal life if you, like many of us, are guilty of making emotional decisions in stressful situations.


What is Self-Distancing?

Self-Distancing is the practice of taking a step back and evaluating your situation from an outside perspective.

Who Would Need Self-Distancing?

Most of us have been in a situation where we have become emotional and made an irrational decision. If there was a way that we could step back and look at our situation from a neutral perspective then we would be able to make more rational decisions. This can be done! All it takes is a shift in our perspective!

How Does it Work?

An easy way to distance yourself from your situation is through the language you use in your inner monologue. We all have an internal monologue in the way we think to ourselves. Changing the way you think from ‘I” to “you” or “(Your Name)” will help give you distance.

For instance, instead of saying ‘I am in this situation because…’ you could say ‘ You are in this situation because…”.

Talking to yourself as if you are giving advice to someone else is an easy way to give yourself distance and shift your way of thinking to provide a more rational solution to your problem.

But Does Self-Distancing Actually Work?

Studies suggest that this way of thinking really does work! Creating a psychological distance in one way (i.e. your inner monologue) can promote distance in other ways (i.e. decision making).

Studies show that people who Self-Distance:

  • Gain more insight into their situation
  • Have a better sense of closure
  • Experience less anger and negative emotions
  • Resolve conflict quicker
  • Have healthier conflict resolution

So the next time you are experiencing a stressful situation try Self-Distancing as a practical step for more rational decision-making!