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Is it normal to talk to yourself?

Conversing with Yourself: The Normalcy of Self-Talk

By avaPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Picture this: you wake up to the sound of your alarm blaring, groggily muttering to yourself, “Why did I set it so early?” While brushing your teeth, you ponder, “I need a haircut... or maybe not?” Rushing out the front door, you frantically reach for your keys, only to realize they’re nowhere to be found. Frustrated, you blurt out, “I can’t do anything right!” just as your neighbor gives you a puzzled look. Ever been caught talking to yourself like this? It might feel a bit awkward, maybe even embarrassing. Some folks might even think it's a sign you're not all there mentally. But guess what? Decades of digging into psychology tell us that chatting with yourself is actually totally normal. In fact, most, if not all, of us do it in one way or another every single day. But why do we do it? And does it matter what we say?

First things first: what exactly is self-talk? It's like having a little conversation with yourself inside your head. You know, those thoughts that go on while you're doing stuff. It's not just remembering stuff or picturing things, though. Self-talk is when you actually talk to yourself, whether out loud or in your mind. And here's the thing: it's not just grown-ups who do it. Kids do too! Back in the 1930s, this Russian psychologist named Lev Vygotsky thought kids talking to themselves while they played was super important for growing up. He figured that by pretending to have chats with adults, kids were learning how to handle their feelings and actions all on their own. As they got older, this kind of talking morphed into the little conversations we have inside our heads.

So, why is all this self-talk so important? Well, it helps us get stuff done! Whether it's giving ourselves a pep talk or figuring out how to tackle a tricky situation, self-talk is like having a mini-coach inside our heads. It helps us focus, boosts our confidence, and keeps us motivated. Imagine you're practicing your basketball shots. If you tell yourself, “I can do this!”, chances are you'll be more focused and accurate. And just like chatting with a friend can help calm you down, talking to yourself can help you handle your feelings too. When stuff gets stressful, talking yourself through it can actually help you feel better.

But here's the thing: not all self-talk is created equal. Positive self-talk, where you give yourself a mental high-five and encourage yourself, is awesome. It helps you feel good about yourself and boosts your mood. But negative self-talk? Not so much. It's when you're constantly putting yourself down or being super hard on yourself. When this negative chatter happens all the time, it can make you feel anxious or down in the dumps. In fact, it's been linked to feeling more worried or sad, both in kids and grown-ups.

Luckily, there's a way to turn down the volume on all that negative self-talk: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short. This kind of therapy helps you spot those negative thoughts and switch them out for more positive or neutral ones. Over time, this can help you feel better about yourself and handle tough situations like a pro.

So, the next time you catch yourself having a little chat with yourself, remember: it's totally normal! Whether you're giving yourself a mental high-five or talking yourself through a tough moment, that inner voice is there to help you out. So be kind to yourself, because that little voice inside your head is sticking around for the long haul.


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