Why Do I Talk to Myself? 

People who talk to themselves have their reasons. After all, they wouldn’t keep doing it if there wasn’t some reward (i.e., positive reinforcement). 

If you’re reading this for yourself, you might have some idea of why you started talking to yourself. Maybe it’s something you learned from the culture you grew up in. Or perhaps it’s been a coping mechanism since childhood.  

Which of the following reasons sound familiar? 

  • Loneliness — No one to talk to or no one who wants to hear you talk. 
  • Frustration — You need an outlet, and talking to yourself gives you that.
  • Early Education — Children learn by talking to themselves and through repetition. 
  • Habit — Venting, self-consoling, self-criticism, and/or thinking out loud. 

Maybe you talk to yourself more than the people around you, or maybe you don’t. As you’ll soon see, there’s nothing abnormal about it. 

Is It Normal to Talk to Yourself?

It’s not a matter of asking, “Is talking to yourself good or bad?” because, like internal self-talk, the goodness or badness depends not on the thing itself but on how you use it. 

Negative self-talk isn’t less dangerous when it’s all in your head. And with all the benefits of using what psychologists call “external self-talk,” how could this be a bad thing? 

By the time you get through this list, you’ll see what we mean. 

1. Talking to yourself is connected with high cognitive functioning. 

Talking to yourself can improve cognitive functioning and increase your brainpower. So, not only does talking to yourself not make you crazy, it can actually make you smarter. 

Albert Einstein admitted to a habit of talking to himself, quietly repeating his sentences. As a child, he was written off by adults as slow or “dull.” Some thought he was autistic or even schizophrenic. His habit of talking to himself probably contributed to that. 

Decades later, external self-talk is considered a sign of an active and adaptable mind. 

2. Talking out loud can improve focus and concentration in goal-directed behavior.

When you perform complex tasks, it’s normal to use verbal instructions as a guide. When you hear those instructions in your own voice, your brain gets more involved. So, talking your way through the project can improve your focus and concentration.

3. Hearing oneself talk has a stronger influence on our behavior than thinking alone. 

Since hearing instructions in your voice gets your brain more involved, talking your way through something has a more substantial influence on your behavior and its outcome than thinking it through quietly or listening to someone else speak. 

Saying things out loud makes your brain take ownership of the plan and carry it out. 

4. Talking to yourself helps you create distance between you and your experiences. 

Sometimes you need distance between yourself and your experiences to process what you’re going through. Self-distancing makes it easier to talk to yourself about a painful experience, so you can decide what to do about it. 

5. Talking to yourself can both improve your performance and decrease anxiety. 

One way to create distance is to talk to yourself as you would to another person. It’s easier to provide objective, helpful feedback to someone you care about, and the words you say to yourself have a more substantial impact when you use second or third person rather than first. 

Using non-first-person language enhances self-distancing and helps you regulate your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors more effectively