Is Talking to Yourself Bad?

Talking to yourself is a common human behavior that often carries a stigma. People engage in self-talk for various reasons, ranging from loneliness and stress to processing thoughts and experiences. In this blog post, I will discuss the nature of talking to oneself, its prevalence, potential concerns, and practical suggestions for managing this behavior.

Talking to Yourself: A Common Practice

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Contrary to the perception that talking to oneself is an unusual or abnormal behavior, it is, in fact, a commonplace occurrence. Many individuals engage in self-dialogue as a natural way to navigate through their thoughts and emotions. This inner conversation can serve as a form of self-reflection, problem-solving, or simply a means to verbalize one’s inner world.

The Silent Majority: Inner Conversations

While audible self-talk might raise eyebrows, it’s essential to recognize that the majority of people engage in a different form of talking to themselves—silently, within their minds. This internal dialogue is a fundamental aspect of human cognition, enabling individuals to organize thoughts, make decisions, and process information without external expression. It’s a silent conversation that occurs regularly without societal scrutiny.

When Talking Aloud Becomes a Concern

The line between healthy self-expression and potential concern is drawn when one loses self-awareness during externalized self-talk. If an individual is unaware that they are speaking aloud to themselves, it may indicate a lapse in self-perception. This lack of awareness could be linked to heightened stress, anxiety, or even traumatic experiences.

Consider Sarah, a college student overwhelmed with exams. Unbeknownst to her, she starts muttering equations while studying at the library. If she remains oblivious to her audible self-talk, it could be a sign of heightened stress affecting her self-awareness.

The Social Stigma of External Self-Talk

One of the reasons talking to oneself is perceived negatively is the potential embarrassment associated with being caught in the act. Society often deems audible self-conversations as odd or even a sign of mental instability. The fear of being labeled as “crazy” may deter individuals from embracing this natural behavior openly.

Imagine John, a professional working in a busy office. Caught up in a complex project, he unconsciously articulates his thoughts aloud. Colleagues overhear him and exchange puzzled glances, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Finding Healthy Alternatives

If externalized self-talk raises concerns or discomfort, there are practical steps to redirect this behavior towards more socially accepted alternatives.

1. Take a Walk and Clear Your Head

An Elderly Man Walking with Cane

Feeling the need to talk to yourself? Instead of verbalizing your thoughts in public, take a short walk. Physical activity can provide a welcome distraction and allow you to process your thoughts without the risk of social judgment.

2. Find a Buddy or Family Member to Talk To

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Human connection is a powerful antidote to the isolation that may drive audible self-talk. If you need an outlet for your thoughts, consider sharing them with a trusted friend or family member. They can offer support, understanding, and a different perspective on your concerns.

Mary, feeling overwhelmed with work stress, decides to call her sister during a break. Sharing her challenges with someone she trusts not only alleviates her need for self-talk but also strengthens her emotional connection.

3. Consult a Therapist for Professional Guidance

If talking to yourself becomes a habit you struggle to control, seeking professional help is a prudent step. A therapist can explore the underlying causes of this behavior and provide coping strategies. It may be an indicator of underlying stress, anxiety, or a mental health condition that requires attention.

Tom, consistently finding himself talking aloud without awareness, decides to consult a therapist. Through sessions, he discovers that his behavior is linked to unresolved trauma, and therapy becomes a crucial tool for his healing journey.

What does the Research say?

In a study, J. J. Andresen delved into the intriguing world of people talking to themselves, and the findings were pretty eye-opening. Picture this: a group of individuals found solace and joy by having conversations with themselves. No, they weren’t losing their marbles; instead, they were creating a comforting illusion of someone else’s presence. It’s like having a personal chat buddy without the need for a physical companion.

Now, why did they engage in this seemingly quirky behavior? Turns out, these self-talkers used this technique as a remedy for moments when they would otherwise feel shame or loneliness. It’s like a built-in emotional support system. Imagine you spill coffee all over yourself in a crowded café – instead of sinking into embarrassment, you start chatting with yourself about how everyone has clumsy moments. It’s a bit like having your own motivational speaker inside your head.

What’s really fascinating is that the “presence” these individuals conjured up during their self-talk sessions was typically a family member from their past, someone whose departure hadn’t been properly mourned. It’s like they had this emotional void, and talking to themselves became a way to fill it with the familiar warmth of a long-lost relative. Think of it as a mental time machine that transports you back to the comforting embrace of your family.

The study uncovered that the reason for this peculiar self-dialogue was rooted in a failure to mourn the loss of these family members. Since the grieving process hadn’t taken place, these individuals hadn’t fully absorbed the enriching aspects of their family connections. It’s like missing out on a key ingredient in a recipe – your emotional stew just isn’t as flavorful without it.

Interestingly, these solo conversations sometimes posed a challenge in the context of psychological treatment. As the participants started to confront and mourn the losses they had previously pushed aside, the need for self-talk diminished. It’s as if the self-conversations were a protective shield, and once they mourned and accepted those losses, they were able to internalize the important lessons and interactions they had with their departed family members.

So, in a nutshell, talking to yourself isn’t necessarily a sign of going bonkers. In fact, it can be a coping mechanism, a way to navigate through moments of shame or loneliness, and even a tool for revisiting the comforting presence of loved ones from the past. It’s like having a friendly chat with your own mind to make sense of the emotional roller coaster we call life.


In conclusion, talking to yourself is not inherently bad. It is a natural and often beneficial way for individuals to process thoughts and experiences. The key lies in maintaining self-awareness and choosing appropriate outlets for self-expression. If audible self-talk becomes a source of concern or discomfort, exploring alternative coping mechanisms, such as walking, seeking human connection, or consulting a therapist, can be invaluable. In essence, talking to yourself is a nuanced aspect of human behavior that, when managed responsibly, poses no inherent risks.

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