Is It Normal To Talk to Yourself?

In this article...
  • Self-talk is a common behavior among people of all ages. Learn about when it's considered normal and when it may be linked to an emotional or medical issue.

Most people talk to themselves from time to time. Sometimes referred to as "self-talk," talking to yourself is a common behavior in which people simply express their inner dialogues out loud. Positive self-talk can be highly beneficial, and chronic pessimistic self-talk may leave a negative impact on an individual's overall confidence and self-worth. In some cases, talking to yourself may indicate underlying health conditions. 

Is It Normal to Talk to Yourself?

Talking to yourself is a natural human behavior that's considered normal under most circumstances. People talk to themselves for a variety of reasons, ranging from motivational pep talks to "thinking out loud" when looking for lost objects or watching a movie or television program. Individuals sometimes talk to themselves to "self-soothe" during periods of stress or when they're in pain, and others may recite daily affirmations to stay centered, positive and focused. 

Individuals who struggle with depression and low self-esteem may find that their inner and outer dialogues are
consistently negative. While negative emotions and feelings are also normal, repetitive self-criticism can lead to chronic feelings of despair and hopelessness. 

When Does Talking to Yourself Indicate a Health Problem? 

There can be times when talking to yourself may indicate a physical or mental health condition. Severe illnesses, certain medications and high fevers can sometimes lead to delirium, a condition in which individuals become severely disoriented and may speak in a rambling, incoherent fashion. In cases of illness, the individual usually exhibits additional symptoms that indicate an underlying issue. 

Alzheimer's disease and dementia can cause hallucinations, in which an individual may have false perceptions and see or hear things that aren't actually present. During an active hallucination, the individual may talk to themselves or appear to be talking to a person or a group of people who don't physically exist. 

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that causes disordered thoughts and hallucinations. Individuals with schizophrenia sometimes mumble, mutter and talk to themselves when their thoughts feel jumbled and disorganized. While schizophrenia and other mental health disorders may cause people to talk to themselves, this does not mean that everyone who mutters or mumbles on occasion has a mental illness. These conditions must be thoroughly assessed and diagnosed by a medical professional. 

What Are Some Examples of Positive Self-Talk?

Positive self-talk can range from simply stating, "You can do it," to reciting daily prayers or positive affirmations for 30 minutes to feel centered, confident and motivated. Some examples of positive self-talk include:

  • I am enough.
  • Fear cannot hold me back.
  • I am worthwhile and my needs matter.
  • Everything I need is within me.
  • I am confident.

What Are Some Examples of Negative Self-Talk?

When someone talks to themselves in a negative way, they may say things like "I'm worthless," "I'm so stupid," "I'm not good enough" or "I'm a failure." Individuals with consistently negative inner dialogues may shy away from trying new things and make statements to themselves such as, "What's the point?" or "Why bother?"

Are There Benefits to Using Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations? 

While specific results can vary from person to person, positive self-talk and affirmations may help reduce stress, decrease anxiety and boost overall confidence. Research has shown that reducing negative self-talk may also help improve psychological symptoms that often accompany anger and depression. While it can take practice to replace negative thought patterns with positive self-talk and affirmations, making an effort to choose happiness and positivity whenever possible can help individuals change their entire outlook on life. It's also important to note that while positive self-talk is definitely beneficial, there are circumstances in life that can cause sadness, anger, depression and other emotions that should be expressed and dealt with accordingly. 

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