October 27, 2020

“I can’t stop talking”

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Do you know a programme to help people who can’t stop talking? I do, its called, “On and on anon.” Yes, that is a joke, although excessive talking is not funny because it is never accepted socially. Our social norms dictate that we should be polite and attentive to others, speak only when spoken to and are brief and concise when we are putting forth a point. However, while these are the societal norms, some people are not able to follow these inadvertently.

Yes, incessant talking is a common addiction called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is more common in children (8-10% in their school going age are affected) but it is now increasing in adults and it is to this latter group this article is aimed.

Non-stop talking is about using others for attention and approval because of not giving oneself enough attention and approval. The talker is not actually offering anything to the listener. Instead, the talker, in going on and on with a monologue, is pulling energy from the listener. People who end up listening to a talker go on and on are often caretakers who are afraid to hurt the talker by disengaging or by telling the truth about their boredom.

Talkers are often needy people who attempt to assuage their emptiness by trapping people into listening to them. For example, I saw a woman the other day in Cayman National Bank telling a teller her life story, while the trapped teller didn’t know how to disengage without being impolite. The problem is that one of the reasons these people are without friends is that no one wants to be with them. Its draining to be at the other end of a needy person who uses talking as a way to fill up.

If you can’t stop talking, perhaps you believe that you are being interesting when you go on and on about yourself. However, you might reconsider the truth of this belief if you find that many people avoid you. Most people will not tell you the truth that they feel tired, drained and trapped in your presence, and bored by your talking. Not wanting to offend you, they just stay away rather speak their truth. They don’t answer the phone when they know it’s you, and they find any excuse to not spend time with your company. It’s not that they don’t like you: it’s because they don’t want to be used by you to fill up your emptiness.

Can too much excessive talking undermine your health? Normal people, as one Western study found, breathe twice as much air when they speak. That reduces their brain CO2 and O2 stores. Excessive talking can thereby lead to dizziness, light-headedness, loss of concentration, emotional instability, muscular tension, abnormal posture and other negative effects.

Furthermore, even 10-20 minutes of continuous speaking resets the breathing centre to lower arterial and brain CO2 levels promoting hyperventilation, tissue hypoxia and chronic diseases.

So how do you stop
excessive talking?

One should always have something important to contribute. Whatever you say should have an impact on others. They should want to listen to you. Conversation should
be interesting.

• Try to allow the other person to say something. It may be difficult, but one needs to practice self-control. A good conversation is a two-way process. All of those taking part in the conversation have much to contribute. Each person must get a chance to say something.

• One must seek professional help if excessive talking is a compulsive behaviour. Often people speak due to some psychological disorder or problem. A  person with a nervous disposition will speak more.

• One should avoid being pushy or aggressive while conversing.

• One need not express everything on one’s mind. Certain things you must keep to yourself.

• Think before you speak. It may be difficult if you are nervous. But it is better to be aware of what your saying. You need not regret later.

• One can take up courses in being a good conversationalist. In today’s modern world it has become essential.

• Try not interrupting another person’s conversation as far as possible

• Do not talk for the sake of talking. Restraint is good

• Be more conscious of your behaviour patterns. Acknowledge that you speak too much and accordingly behave.

• Appreciate what others have to say. Listening to other person’s viewpoint allows you to permit him or her to express an opinion Be a good listener. People like to be listened to.

• Try to convey things in fewer words. Be brief in what you say.

If none of the above works do not be afraid to consult your doctor.

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