"I can do this!" You may have probably talked to yourself in this manner – one way or another. It could be to motivate yourself or condition your mind to accomplish something. Surprisingly and for some reason, it does work, and it gives you that much-needed encouragement to perform a certain task. This is a form of "self-talk" or the act of talking to your self.
Psychologists refer to self-talk as a normal behavior among humans, especially if it yields positive results and delivers favorable outcomes. The most common examples of self-talk remind yourself that you can overcome your negative thoughts and execute something that you find extremely challenging to do. In its broadest sense, encouraging and motivating yourself is a silent form of self-talk.
Two Ways of Talking to Yourself
According to psychologists, there are two ways in which people talk to themselves. The relatively common habit of talking aloud to oneself refers to external self-talk, while its silent counterpart refers to internal self-talk. Let's discuss them individually to identify their differences.
External self-talk is when you talk to yourself aloud, whether you're doing it unconsciously, subconsciously, or consciously. Although it may seem like an odd and bizarre quirk, studies reveal that this manner of talking to one's self can significantly influence behavior and cognition. It also facilitates the mind to perform better and contributes to productivity.
Perhaps you find yourself talking on your own while doing something or figuring out what to buy in a store. You may even refer to this as "thinking out loud", but the truth is that you are guiding your actions with your own words.
According to psychologists, whenever we talk to ourselves, we are attempting to view things more objectively. In this sense, what we tell ourselves matters greatly and can directly influence our thoughts, actions, and decisions. Thus it's safe to assume that what we say is what we feed our mind.
Internal self-talk happens entirely within our heads. That means we don't verbally express what we're telling or "feeding" our minds, but there's an actual conversation that's going on within ourselves.
However, you should not mistake "thinking" deeply to self-talk because internal self-talk is the act of silently talking to yourself with a specific intention or goal in mind. It could be to remind yourself about a certain task and tell yourself to control your emotions by acting naturally or motivating yourself to perform better.
Internal self-talk commonly happens when difficult or stressful situations confront us. Examples are; having a sudden face-to-face encounter with your crush, delivering a speech in front of an audience, and urging yourself to focus on something important.
Although there are many circumstances wherein we secretly talk to ourselves, this habit in effect enables us to become more optimistic about a lot of things to achieve our goals in the process.
Why Do People Talk to Themselves?
If you're wondering about the reasons why people talk to themselves, just think of it as an essential aspect of human behavior. It could be a natural brain response, or our own way of dealing with certain situations.
Therefore, it doesn't matter whether you're an external self-talker or an internal self-talker. What matters is that you can derive beneficial outcomes from talking to yourself. In fact, if you view it from a broader perspective, it's a healthy way to deal with your emotions, battle against the negativities, and discipline yourself.
For instance, telling yourself to walk fast while in a dark alley and not to look back is one way of overcoming your fear so you can reach your destination. Just the same, reminding yourself that you're saving up for something important enables you to spend wisely and to avoid making unreasonable purchases.
Three Main Reasons Why People Talk to Themselves
There are three main reasons why people talk to themselves. Psychologists refer to these as Instructional Self-Talk, Motivational Self-Talk, and Positive Self-Talk or Self-Affirmation. All three are healthy practices that create a sense of optimism.
Here's what makes one distinct from the other;
Instructional self-talk refers to the act of talking to yourself to execute a task effectively. It's like giving yourself some instructions or telling yourself what to do to achieve your goal.
An example is when memorizing dance steps.
You may find yourself audibly saying, "left, right, up, down, twist and turn; then whoa!" In this case, talking to yourself enables you to perform the dance steps and execute them properly.
Instructional self-talk also works when practicing a speech, rehearsing some lines, working on your self-confidence, remembering a direction, or learning how to do something.
Motivational self-talk refers to the act of talking to yourself mainly for encouragement and inspiration. It's much like giving yourself a pat on the back when you need it the most, to push yourself to work harder and perform better.
The most classic examples of motivational self-talk are when you tell yourself, "I got this" and "I can do this". Other examples are; when you wake up in the morning, and you say, "another day, another beginning", "it's a beautiful day", and "rise and shine". Apparently, you are not talking to another person, but you're verbally communicating with yourself and giving yourself a much-needed motivation in the process.
There are many other different forms of motivational self-talk. Basic examples are; motivating yourself to forget your ex-boyfriend, boosting your confidence so you can talk to your crush, convincing yourself that it's time to move on, and driving yourself to accomplish something meaningful.
As long as you're delivering an encouraging and inspiring message to yourself (from your own self), whether inside your head or out loud, you can consider it as a form of motivational self-talk.
Positive Self-Talk (Self-Affirmation)
Positive self-talk is talking to yourself for self-empowerment and enlightenment. It's the act of constantly reminding yourself about your strengths, capabilities, and worth as a person. This form of self-talk is a powerful way to start your day. It allows you to embrace who you are and to appreciate your value as a person.
For example, saying "I am loved, I am worthy, I am capable" every single day is a constant reminder of just how blessed you are as a person. Such daily affirmations are believed to be good for your mental health and elicit self-love and appreciation.
Talking to yourself kindly and instilling many positive thoughts enable you to accept yourself for who you are – including your flaws and weaknesses. It's one way of embracing your uniqueness and sense of individuality.
Through daily affirmations and positive self-talks, you can also gain a sense of independence to make you love yourself more. And we can all agree that those who are truly empowered don't depend on others to be happy. In fact, they won't even settle for anything less than what they deserve, and no amount of negativity can dim their spark.
Is It Normal to Talk to Yourself?
Talking to yourself is just as normal as talking to anyone else. So apparently, the act of talking to yourself is an acceptable behavior that's part of your human responses. Whether it's pushing yourself to work hard or cursing yourself under your breath for acting weird, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, every person tends to talk to themselves in one way or another.
Talking to yourself is an extension of what your mind is thinking or what you're feeling. If you have a tendency to verbalize your thoughts, you are not exactly different from a lot of people. The inner talks we have with ourselves can sometimes come out of our mouths unconsciously or subconsciously.
While it may attract some strange looks and curious stares from other people, it is good for your mental health.
As long as you are in your right state of mind, talking to yourself can help you make rational decisions and enables you to detangle your thoughts so you can focus on your goals regardless of how trivial or significant they are.
Furthermore, expressing your inner thoughts and talking to yourself also helps you organize your priorities more precisely. This contributes to higher productivity and more efficient planning.
So the next time you find yourself having a "staff meeting" on your own and inside your head, embrace it and rest in the assurance that it's perfectly normal and healthy. Keep in mind that for a lot of people, talking to their selves is an essential part of their self-care regimen because it helps them put things into perspective and contributes to their mental health and emotional wellness.
Benefits of Talking to Yourself
Talking to yourself is beneficial in a lot of ways. According to Dr. Jessica Nicolosi, a New York clinical psychologist, self-talk is completely normal and constantly happens to many people. In fact, dwelling on our thoughts, making daily reflections, and quietly contemplating our decisions are just some of the ways we talk to ourselves.
To shed light on why this behavior is completely healthy and normal, take a look at these pointers that highlight the benefits of talking to yourself;
1. Promotes self-reliance.
Talking to yourself while working on a task allows you to carefully analyze what you need to accomplish. In the process, you can come up with good conclusions on your own and without relying on anyone else.
You also tend to listen more to your inner voice as you organize your thoughts and think of effective solutions by talking to yourself. This enables you to transform any situation into a learning experience because instead of immediately seeking for other people's help, you are spending your time talking and listening to yourself. In effect, you become more independent and self-reliant.
2. Decreases stress levels.
Talking to yourself allows you to clear your mind to effectively organize your priorities and manage your thoughts well. It allows you to put things in the right perspective instead of constantly worrying, cramming and rushing throughout your day.
This can significantly decrease your stress levels since you're giving yourself enough space and time to sort out your daily issues and concerns. As a result, you'll find a pace that works best for you.
Self-talks can also help you prepare for challenging situations, such as striking a conversation with your crush, making compromises with your partner, or accidentally bumping on your ex-. Giving yourself some words of encouragement through a little pep talk and rehearsing what you intend to say can reduce your stress levels during these tough circumstances.
3. Allows you to develop a positive mindset.
What you feed your mind directly impacts how you think, act, and react to certain situations. Fortunately, talking to yourself can help you develop a positive mindset. It makes it possible for you to see the brighter side of things and to focus on the solutions rather than the problem.
For example, constantly telling yourself that you can complete a difficult task and achieve your goal despite the odds elicits a positive mindset. It enables you to believe in yourself and your capabilities, which ultimately increases the chance of having favorable outcomes. Talking to yourself can become your driving force to perform better and become more confident in whatever you do.
4. It enables you to understand yourself better.
Talking to yourself allows you to become more in-tune with your own thoughts, ideas, and emotions. As a result, you're able to understand yourself better, which is essential to your overall development and maturity as a person.
Understanding yourself makes it easier for you to manage all aspects of your life, including your relationships, aspirations, and career. It also contributes to a well-balanced emotional health.
5. Allows you to explore your talents and capabilities.
Talking to yourself means that you are self-sufficient, unrestrained, and strong, especially exploring your capabilities. Take Albert Einstein, for instance, who is well-known for being gifted and extremely intellectual. He acquired his ability to exploit his talents during the early stages of his life.
For many geniuses and gifted individuals, Einstein's life is a testimony that people who know how to talk to themselves have a stronger means to explore their talents and capabilities than those who don't spend time doing this.
In this sense, communicating with yourself cultivates proficiency in your talents and makes it possible for you to figure out exactly what you need to do to further improve and develop.
6. Promotes greater satisfaction in life.
If you're wondering why people talk to themselves, the answer is because communication with yourself and with your own thoughts promotes greater satisfaction in life. It makes you feel a strong sense of empowerment and appreciation for everything that you have.
For example, daily affirmations like "I am enough. I am good. I can do anything" enables you to envision yourself as someone who finds life good and satisfying. This results in a positive mindset and clear disposition about your own purpose, contributing factors to over-all life satisfaction.
7. Nurtures your self-confidence.
Do your find yourself wondering why some people are oozing with guts and self-confidence? The truth is that; it's all in mind. If you want to develop the same level of confidence and raise your self-esteem, talk to yourself and remind yourself about your strengths and qualities. Feed your mind with positive words and thoughts, and allow your mind to absorb these.
Many people face the mirror while talking to themselves, while others incorporate the habit in their self-care routine. So basically, you don't need a lot of resources to talk to yourself. You just need some quiet time on your own to organize your thoughts, gather your emotions, and verbalize the things that you need to remind yourself. Practice doing this, and you'll feel a remarkable improvement in your self-confidence.
8. It makes you realize and achieve your goals.
Regardless of how small or big they are, your goals are attainable and can become more feasible with the power of self-talk. From finding something in a department store, to memorizing your lines for a presentation, all the way to conditioning your mind to accomplish something, talking to yourself makes it easier for you to realize and achieve your goals.
Psychologists state that talking to yourself makes it easier for you to visualize a situation and watch it unfold. It allows you to envision different possibilities and probabilities. Therefore, reminding yourself about your goals and verbalizing them can help you structure ways to fulfill them.
By doing so, you can focus your attention on your objectives and prevent distractions from setting in.
Conclusion: Know Yourself Better
No other person in this world deserves to know and understand you better than your own self. You may develop feelings and relationships with other people, but what truly matters are your feelings and relationship with your self.
Remember that what you put inside your mind reflects in your words and actions. So learn how to talk to yourself kindly – to see the brighter side of things, become more self-reliant, achieve your goals, and realize everything you are capable of.