Self talk is not an uncommon thing. It is more about what you talk to yourself rather than how much you talk to yourself.

While growing up, we would talk to ourselves and create imaginary situations in our mind regarding our future. We loved cooking up stories in our minds while having that internal dialogue, also known as self-talk. If you notice closely, that self-talk habit is not just restricted to kids. As grown-ups, many people continue to have that internal dialogue. At times you may wonder, “Is talking to yourself normal?” Trust us, it is! But it is important that you recognise the impact of both positive and negative self-talk.

Why do we talk to ourselves?

Self-talk is normal in most cases. However, its severity might be a sign of a mental health condition. Self-talk generally increases with loneliness and social isolation. However, as per research, what you say to yourself matters more than often than how often you talk to yourself.

Positive self-talk will boost your self-confidence and overall well-being!

Self-talk could be due to any of the following reasons:

1. If it was more common in your childhood

Internal dialogue is more commonly seen in children while growing up. Children who have an imaginary friend in their growing days tend to speak to themselves more as they become adults. As per research, people who have a creative mind, have a creative imagination and are more self-aware in terms of their emotions tend to talk to themselves more.

2. Before something challenging

Before something very important or big like a presentation or an exam, people generally indulge in positive self-talk to curb their anxiety levels and boost motivation to perform better at the task at hand.

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3. Out of loneliness or isolation

People who feel lonely or socially isolated talk to themselves more. As per Sage Journal, people who have fewer social connections lack a sense of belongingness in their lives. So, to fill in that void, they tend to self-talk more to fill that gap that is not met through other social interactions or friendships.

However, extreme loneliness can lead to extreme negative self-talk when such people constantly start thinking low of themselves. The severity of it can increase the risk of conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, or schizophrenia.

What are the benefits of positive self-talk?

Talking to yourself is not always bad if you use this tool wisely to accomplish goals, comprehend challenging situations, or improve your performance. Here are the advantages of self-talk:

1. Improve performance

As per research, children who repeated positive affirmations to themselves loudly and uttered that they would put their best foot forward, identified less with their negative beliefs and achieved better scores.

2. Can be beneficial before challenging activities

Self-talk can benefit athletes, especially beginners. As per research, positively talking to oneself can help such people become open to learning new skills, perform better on tasks demanding accuracy and even hone areas that require strength and power. Even endurance sports like cycling, swimming, or running can benefit from positive self-talk.

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Is talking to yourself normal
Positive self-talk can be life-changing. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Can boost self-esteem

Having a conversation with yourself positively can boost your self-esteem and can even help calm down anxiety in everyday life. It can help you feel more empowered and in control of your life. It can even reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, personality disorders, or eating disorders.

Also read: Positive self-talk: Stop saying these toxic things to yourself!

Positive vs negative self-talk

Self-talk can be both positive and negative. You can easily notice negative self-talk patterns within yourself when you find yourself laying more focus on your worries, concerns, fears, or areas where you have flunked. Being extremely critical towards yourself or thinking about yourself as unworthy or unsuccessful can have an unhealthy effect on your overall well-being. Seek help in the form of therapy if you notice this pattern in yourself more. A professional can help you restructure your thoughts by replacing them with positive affirmations or beliefs.

On the other hand, positive self-talk is about repeating positive affirmations to yourself. This type of self-talk can boost your self-esteem, enhance your attention, and even help you solve problems.

How to develop positive self-talk?

At times, a bit of negative self-talk can encourage a person to change and take the right action towards the right direction. However, excess of it can be harmful. Here are some ways you can silence your inner critic and inculcate a more positive internal dialogue:

1. Address yourself in the third person

As per research, motivating yourself in the third person can prove to be helpful. For example, saying “You are strong!” can have more effective results than saying “I am strong”. Not only does it help curb anxiety and stress, but it can also help you distance yourself from the challenges you are facing.

2. Give cognitive restructuring a try

Cognitive restructuring is a technique that helps change the way you think. This creates space for reframing negative thoughts and beliefs into more positive ones. Instead of saying “I can never do this”, say this “With the right tools and my internal strength, I will be able to achieve my goals”!

Or instead of saying “I am not good enough”, tell yourself, “I have full belief in my potential to do my best”.

Doing so regularly will turn your negative beliefs into more positive ones, improving your self-esteem, reducing stress and making you feel more confident within yourself while facing tough challenges.

3. Make gratitude practice a priority

Our mind’s natural tendency is to look for things that are not working out in life. By doing so, we lose sight of the positives and the blessings we have in our lives. Focus on mindfully practising gratitude for the little things. Be grateful for your positive experiences, everyday pleasures, or the people you adore. This will shift your focus from the negatives that you might be experiencing.

This habit can help develop resilience while helping boost your self-esteem. Being thankful mindfully can control intrusive thoughts and slow down brain activity.

4. Mindfulness is the key

Mindfulness helps bring your focus back to the present moment. Instead of whining about your past or worrying about the what-ifs of your future, you can take one day at a time, one task at a time, and engage mindfully in whatever moment you are in. This will help balance your mind and will bring more sense of calm. Some of the effective mindfulness techniques include deep breathing, grounding techniques, or yoga.

5. Acknowledge your inner critic

Understanding that you have an inner critic, and embracing it will help you come up with tools and techniques to acknowledge your vulnerabilities and then deal with them. Accept that it is there, and then work towards it.



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