Health And Wellness

If You're Always Talking To Yourself, Here's How It Really Affects You

Photo: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
woman looking in the mirror

Do you ever catch yourself having a conversation in your head? Of course, you do! That might make you wonder: why do people talk to themselves?

In fact, is it healthy to talk to yourself?

There are many reasons people talk to themselves and almost all are entirely harmless. It can actually be helpful to keep your mind focused, if you are looking for something or working through a problem.

So, exactly why do people talk to themselves?

Is it normal to talk to yourself? Yes, so relax!

Psychologists and other mental health professionals say that talking to yourself is completely natural and everyone does it. In addition, some people talk out loud to themselves which is also considered normal.

RELATED: 10 Steps To Starting A Healthier Relationship With Yourself

What mental illness causes you to talk to yourself?

In cases where there's mental illness, schizophrenia is one that causes people to talk to themselves.

However, they are actually responding to other voices they hear in their head vs. talking to themselves, and that is a big difference.

Not to worry, this happens to only one percent of the population.

So, now, you might be asking, "Why do I talk to myself out loud when I'm alone?"

This is a great question. The reason you talk to yourself more often when alone is likely because of the privacy and how you prefer others not to hear you.

There is a bit of stigma associated with talking to yourself in public. That’s why it’s more likely to happen when you're alone.

You have a follow-up question: "Do I talk to myself because I'm lonely?"

Being lonely is not as likely to cause self-talk as you might think.

There are some real benefits to talking to yourself like creativity and problem solving, rather than just keeping yourself company.

How does self-talk affect someone's mental health?

When you speak to yourself in a kind, supportive way, this is the best way to use self-talk.

You can build confidence and increase feelings of worthiness by repeating uplifting statements such as, "You've got this," "You're almost there," or "You are smart enough to figure this out."

On the other hand, when you beat yourself up and give yourself a hard time internally, you can lower self-esteem.

Many times, people say the meanest things to themselves that they would never utter to another human being.

This is the time to pay attention to your inner chatter. If you notice your internal dialog becoming negative, stop. Then replace those thoughts with positive statements.

If you have a tendency for self-criticism, being ready with an alternative can be helpful.

Come up with a couple of supportive and empowering sentences like the ones above, so you can switch to and repeat these to uplift your spirit. This works!

RELATED: 5 Strategies To Outsmarting Your Inner Critic & Silencing Negative Self-Talk

It can be helpful to talk to yourself.

Surprisingly, self-talk can be incredibly helpful. If you're asking why do people talk to themselves, one big reason is that it can be super helpful.

You might talk to yourself when you are:

1. Trying to solve a problem

Talking out loud can be a very helpful method when looking for solutions to a problem.

It doesn’t matter if it’s about your relationship situation or an engineering issue, talking through it aloud helps your brain focus and explore ideas.

2. Looking for clarity and understanding 

When you are trying to understand something that happened, talking to yourself can bring you greater clarity.

By speaking what you are thinking out loud and asking yourself questions, you can get different viewpoints that allow you a deeper understanding of the situation,

3. Being creative and generating ideas

If you are working on a creative project, talking to yourself is a great way to come up with many more ideas than simply thinking.

Thinking out loud strengthens concentration and keeps your brain involved.

4. Staying motivated to keep going

Positive self-talk can be enormously helpful when you need to stay focused, motivated, and optimistic. This is like being your own cheerleader, to stay positive and keep going, even if you are tired or struggling a bit.

5. Memorizing a list

Speaking out loud will make trying to memorize something a lot easier.

For example, if you want to remember your shopping list without writing it down, recite it out loud while at the grocery store. (Just not too loud, right?)

Do smart people talk to themselves more than others?

Yes, they sure do!

Einstein was known for talking to himself as a child and people thought he was odd, to say the least. But, later, it turned out he was a genius.

So, maybe you are just showing signs of remarkable intellectual prowess!

When does talking to yourself become a cause for concern and what can you do about it?

Keep in mind that everyone experiences some amount of self-talk.

But, if you're worried about it or feel like you might be annoying others by voicing your thoughts, here are 3 tips to break this habit of talking out loud:

Pop a lozenge, candy, or gum into your mouth to prevent you from vocalizing your thoughts. This is an easy way to stop talking out loud.

Write your thoughts down on a pad of paper rather than having this conversation aloud. If talking to yourself is a healthy part of your problem-solving process, you may want to try journaling as well.

Listen to music with headphones, rather than hear yourself talk. When appropriate, this can be a great alternative that's both energizing and uplifting.

Given there are many incredible benefits to positive self-talk, go ahead and enjoy it!

Hopefully, you no longer will worry about it or even ask the question "why do people talk to themselves.: Use this as a tool to solve problems, buoy your spirits, and gain a better understanding of the world around you.

RELATED: 3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself When You Get Up In The Morning

Ronnie Ann Ryan is a love and dating coach who has shared her sound advice and practical magic for mindful dating, love, and life with thousands of successful single women. For more information, visit her website.