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Is Talking to Yourself Normal? The Good & Bad of Self-Talk

If you’re wondering if talking to yourself is normal, take a look at what the we found out. The answer might surprise you!

is it normal to talk to yourself?

If talking to yourself is considered abnormal, then most of society will have to check into a mental hospital. While it may be embarrassing to be caught talking to yourself, it turns out that self-talk is completely normal. Most people talk to themselves when they are alone. It is a perfectly ordinary trait done by most intelligent beings–such as yourself. [Read: Intellectual questions: 43 cues to spark smart talk with anyone]

The reason many people wonder if talking to yourself is normal. This is because there are instances where talking to oneself is considered a symptom of a serious mental disorder. But these cases are more likely to be the outlier than the norm. 

To alleviate your fears, we’ve provided an explanation on whether or not you’re in the boundaries of normal and healthy when you are talking to yourself.

When is talking to yourself normal?

Talking to oneself is an effective coping mechanism. In moments of solitude, we turn to the only person in the room that we trust: ourselves. When that happens, we end up muttering our thoughts aloud. This can be either to practice a conversation we may have or work through something that is on our minds. 

Most people talk to themselves as a way to help their brain is process information. Not everyone talks out loud when pondering something, but when they do, they may start to wonder whether it is normal or not. And it is. [Read: 8 positive ways to deal with rejection in any scenario]

Why do people talk to themselves?

There are a lot of reasons people talk to themselves, but most of them fall under the umbrella of self-soothing or critical thinking. Here are some examples.

1. Problem solving

Sometimes you need to work through the steps of a problem out loud to come to a solution. Saying it out loud, and hearing yourself say it, uses different parts of your brain. This can help you new perspectives of the problem. That is why some people tend to talk to themselves when they’re busy contemplating a task. When it feels like you’re stuck in the middle of your problem, talking to yourself might just yield the perfect solution.

2. Planning

Many people feel overwhelmed by complicated, multi-step planning tasks. Talking to yourself while planning tasks is a similar organization technique to writing down steps.

Some people are more likely to remember something that they hear, which is why they automatically talk to themselves when they’re trying to outline the things they have to do. [Read: How to plan a date to knock the socks off anyone you want to impress]

3. Remembering

When you forget something, discussing the possible avenues of your memory out loud can be very helpful. That is why you end up asking yourself, “Where did I put that?” or “What was I supposed to do, again?” over and over again until you remember.

This talking to yourself technique is also useful when you remember only half of an important conversation. By saying what you do remember out loud, you can hopefully shake loose the information from your memory. 

4. Motivation

“You can do this,” “You’re amazing,” and “Don’t worry. You’ll get through this,” are just some of the phrases you can expect to hear from yourself when you need a little pick-me-up.

When you look in the mirror, you may feel the urge to cheer yourself on out loud. That’s perfectly normal time to talk to yourself. [Read: Build your self esteem instantly: 35 funny things to tell yourself in front of the mirror]

5. Admonition

Some people cannot resist the urge to negative self-talk. This kind of talking out loud is also normal, especially as a reaction to making a big mistake.

But for some, it can turn into a toxic pattern of negative self-talk that worses low self esteem, depression and identity issues. While not an indicator of any psychotic episode, negative self-talk is common among people who suffer from depression, low self esteem and anxiety.While still on the spectrum of normal, you have to be careful not to fall into negative patterns when talking to yourself.

6. Identifying

The best way to learn something is to try to teach it to someone else. Identifying is the process of learning something by trying to teach it to yourself out loud. 

When you see something new or something you need to learn, talking to yourself about it means you are trying to help yourself understand what it is you are faced with. People identify problems, ideas, objects, and people by describing them to themselves, which in turn allows them to store new information more effectively. [Read: 10 signs of low self-esteem and five ways to increase it]

Benefits of self-talk

Not only is talking to yourself normal, but there are many real benefits to certain kinds of self-talk. Read on for examples.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills is a term that roughly translates to the ability to assess situations and make good decisions for yourself. People with poor critical thinking skills often find themselves in an endless cycle of bad choices, unable to grasp cause and effect or see the big picture. 

Talking to yourself can help improve your critical thinking skills. By talking through situations out loud, even with yourself, it can give you time and perspective on the situation to make better choices. 

Anxiety and Stress Reduction

If you have ever muttered angrily to yourself on your commute home from a bad day, you have participated in stress reductive self talk. Sometimes, talking to yourself allows you to vent the feelings of anger and fear that you have bottled up, giving you a safe and healthy outlet for these feelings. 

Those who suffer anxiety can sometimes find talking to themselves soothing, especially if they can calm themselves doing so. In this way talking to yourself is not only normal, but a productive and healthy outlet for stress. [Read: How to reduce stress: 17 fastest hacks to a calmer & happier life]


Not all of us were gifted with natural social graces. Many people talk to themselves as a way to practice social situations in a safe setting. People often talk to themselves when they are faced with some kind of difficult situation they need to practice for– such as dumping a partner, or asking their boss for a raise. 

Not only is talking to yourself normal, but it is a great way to practice how your words sound to others. You can see if what you had planned to say sounds too harsh, and try to reword it to be more kind. 

Problem Solving

When faced with a difficult problem, it helps to walk through all the possible choices and their potential consequences out loud. If there is no one around to talk to, or if the problem is too personal to share with others, it is perfectly normal to talk to yourself. 

After talking through the problem, you might find that the solution was easier than you thought. [Read: 25 honest, self-reflection questions to recognize the real YOU inside]

Different kinds of talking to yourself

We have discussed that talking to yourself can be beneficial, but not all self-talk is created equal. There are three different kinds of talking to yourself which, while all considered normal, may not all be good for you.

Negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is the act of berating yourself outloud. This practice is very bad for your mental health and self esteem. Instead of making you feel better, negative self-talk affirms your insecurities, which can further fester mental illness and self esteem issues.

Neutral self-talk

Neutral self talk is exactly what it sounds like. If you are wondering aloud what you will have for dinner, or trying to work through a complicated problem, then you are participating in neutral self-talk. This kind of talking to yourself is very normal and can often be beneficial in ways we have listed above. 

Positive self-talk

Positive self-talk is talking to yourself to pump yourself up and boost self esteem. This has been shown to be a very effective technique. If you are having a down day, try to give yourself a pep talk out loud. It may feel silly, but talking to yourself positively has been shown to improve your mood and self esteem.

When is talking to yourself not normal?

We have established that talking to yourself is normal for the most part. Talking to yourself is considered a red flag only if it is accompanied by other symptoms of a mental health disorder. Some of the most common accompanying symptoms for different illnesses are listed below.

1. Talking to a different persona

If you’re talking to yourself, but you think you’re talking to a completely different version of you, you may be suffering from dissociative identity disorder. This rare mental disorder is when two or more personalities, with different memories and behavior, exist within one person.

2. Talking to something that does not exist

People who appear to be talking to themselves, when they actually believe they are talking to something only they can see, may be suffering from a schizo-affective disorder. This is usually associated with hallucinations and the feeling of seeing or hearing something that isn’t there. If you suspect you are hallucinating, consult a medical professional immediately.

3. Talking to oneself in a manic way

Those who suffer from a disorder that causes manic episodes may end up talking to themselves to cope with their current status. This is not normal, self-soothing talking to oneself. 

Manic self-talk, also called pressured speech, tends to be confusing, rapid and incoherent. The speaker will jump from one subject to another at random, and seem to be incapable of holding one thought at a time. [Read: Sabotaging your happiness: 12 ways you can ruin your life]

Talking to yourself is completely normal

The takeaway is this: differences between normal and not normal are quite vast. You cannot mistake one for the other, unless the signs of a mental health disorder are present and obvious. It might be scary to think that you could be suffering from this, but you don’t need to worry unless a doctor says so. [Read: Why we need to break down the stigma of mental illness]

So go on, talk to yourself! After all, you might need the opinion of an expert on being you! 

We hope this information has helped alleviate your concerns about talking to yourself, but talking to your personal doctor may help alleviate your concerns more effectively. As long as you remain in the bounds of normalcy, talk away! 

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Danielle Anne
Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...
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