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Talking to Yourself: Is It Normal?

In movies, people are portrayed as eccentric by showing them carrying on conversations with themselves; the same goes for real life. However, is talking to yourself really a sign of mental illness? This article explores the appropriateness of conversing with yourself. Interested? Read on.

In today’s society, talking to yourself is associated with an unstable mentality. People who communicate with themselves think they are going mad and thus quickly seek professional, psychological help at the first instance. Why does society frown for doing so, automatically regarding these people as barmy? Is it merely paranoia or is there a darker side to it?

For adults who do so, don’t worry. Scientists advocate talking to yourself, believing it to be perfectly normal as well as having phenomenal emotional benefits. According to a recent poll conducted by Nottingham Trent University, passengers on a bus or train are able to release their inner stress by quietly humming a tune or simply whispering to themselves.  However, they try to do this as inaudibly as possible, feeling “it’s legitimate to communicate to others, but not with themselves” as cited from leading researcher Dr. Glenn Williams.

Furthermore, children also stand to gain by speaking to themselves. A study conducted by Dr. Adam Winsler of George Mason University deduced that kindergarten kids who talk to themselves are more confident, participating actively during class compared to their more introverted peers. By chatting with themselves, they are able to put their problems into perspective and reflect upon their past actions. Dr. Adam says “private speech” was essential in childhood development and should not be censured, but rather heartily embraced and encouraged.

For that reason, there’s nothing wrong with talking to yourself at all! Most of us probably do it too; remember that nerve-wrecking job interview you had and when you kept telling yourself “It’ll be alright”? You were simply reassuring yourself. This is 100% typical of a normal person. So don’t worry if you do so. Instead, think of the advantages you attain by talking to yourself.  

However, my concern is that the reason for you talking to yourself could be troubling you. Could it be that you’ve been emotionally hurt? After all, it is of the utmost importance that you seek help for your condition (if any). One word: Forgiveness. Forgiving and forgetting the past works wonders; believe me. Learn the magic of forgiveness from someone who learned first hand I’ve read it before myself and believe me; it worked well for me. Not quite wonders, but substantially. Hope it helps you too! Till we next meet, cheers!

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  1. I have solved many problems by talking to myself. talking to myself has helped me to locate misplaced items. talking to myself has kept me from acting like a fool in public or at gatherings. Talking to ones self I believe is very theraputic.

    Some of best conversations have been with me, myself and I
    Good subject to delve into!!

  2. I feel better now. Before I read this, I was having a long conversation with myself. I thought I was mad for doing so but not any more. :)

  3. This article was not in the least bit helpful for me trying to understand why my aunt whispers to herself as if she is answering some invisible person.

  4. Thank God for this article!!! I have done this most of my life and was wondering and I’m crazy because my mom is. I’m so afraid of becoming her because of childhood trauma. Therapy is finally healing after 5 years. Doing your homework actually works and doctors advice, that is why you go 2 get advice. If you are not going to follow it, why bother…waste of time and money and life!

  5. I seriously was considering maybe attending to professional help , not that I thought I was going mad but do to the simple fact of me talking to my self sometimes . weather if its finding a solution to a problem or just simply reflecting on a current situation at hand . This article definitely put me at ease …. Thank you

  6. Thanks for this article. One question, tho. Is there a latin term for self-talking in medicine or psychology science ? Any help on that is greatly appreciated.

  7. i feel so so so much better now ..i always have very long huge conversations with my self and i thought something was wrong with me mentally ..and now that i saw this article and saw that so many other ppl do it ..i feel way better…i ws actually talking to my self a few mins ago and i decided to look it up..idk but i find my self doing it without notcing until a while into the convo

  8. im happy i found this website my family are ALWAYS telling me
    that talking to yourself is not normal, whenever im angry, they
    wont let me talk to them, so i go and talk to myself, well as
    that my sister always asks me why im angry, even when im not!!
    and i tell the truth and i say im not and she starts backsassing
    me with things like “you were getting angry i heard you” and things
    like that it drives me insane!! she also listens out for whenever im
    getting angry/talking to myself just so she can have a complete moan and a complain my dad sometimes does this too, mostly when im talking myself

  9. I have been talking to myself since I was a little kid. Not just little reassurances either, full on monologues/narratives, whether I’m in public or not. I don’t care if people think I’m crazy, they’re just missing out on this great conversation.

  10. Same here, I have talked to myself ever since I can remember. Helps me to make decisions and reaffirm my thoughts.

    Just would love to break this habit because it’s embarrassing when someone catches you talking to yourself.

    I even realized I was doing it the other day while driving through the small town I live in, past people I know, with no one else in the truck lol.

    Also concerned if it’s a deeper psychological problem because I also suffer from skin Picking or Dermatillomania, a problem I’ve also had since I was a kid. I’ve done it so long that I’ll even do it when I’m not nervous and things are going well.

    Anybody else have these combined problems? I would welcome your experience or suggestions.

    alane48@hotmail.com

  11. i need to no is it safe to live with someone who fights and talks to himself.i get little scared the things i hear him saying , can someone please help me

  12. Thank goodness. I just consider it as “thinking out loud”!

  13. hi..ive been talking to myself for years and never realy thought it a problem but ive never been violent with it…i suppose if the violence is taken out on an inanimate object (with no real value)its mearly a vent for anger and stress..if its turned on yourself or anyone else…get out! and dont look back! hope this helps.

  14. Thanks alot for this truely appreciated article. Its helped me wonders. I was wondering if I had gone completely Insane but after this article I’m fully reassured that I am perfectly sane. I’d have to assume I begun speaking to my self somewhere around the age of 8 I am currently 12. Fortunately for me no one has ever caught me talking to myself. I would think it would be slightly embarcing. I was thinking for educational reasons is there a average age where self-talking or speaking to my self starts? Thankyou very much for this wonderful article Cam.

  15. So Talking to yourserlf, happens alot here.
    Well not alot alot, but quite often.
    Yer i was kinda thinking about it, and so hence- google search.
    This article has reasured me that talking to self= good.
    Not bad :)
    Thanks

  16. Thank God for this article.I`ve been talking to myself since I was a kid.So,I thought I was mental….Is there a way how to break this habbit as it is embarrassing if someone ketches you…..
    Talking to yourself helps a lot to solve problems.So,there is nothing wrong with it,and the most important thing is that I am not alone…..:-)

  17. I am practically the only person I like consistently talking to about everything, and I sure know that I’m not crazy. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re mentally ill for this reason; they’re fools afraid only of what they only wish they understood.

  18. thank god for this article and all of your comments. i used to think i was the only one doing this. i talk to myself all the time and whenever i try to stop i end up doing it again w/out realizing it. sometimes i even laugh to myself, its embarrassing cuz everyone tells me to stop it but i cant. my mom told me it was just a phase but for years its been going on. but now i feel better knowing that im not the only one.
    i was just talking to myself moments ago!!!

  19. Yes, I talk to my posters but it’s not because I’m crazy or lonely. It’s cause its just like a way for me to express whats on my mind without someone talking back to me or disagreeing with me or anything like that. I feel like I can do all the talking without interruptions and that no one will judge me for what I think. I talk to my posters very often. And I know it might make me sound like a nutjob but thats just my way of releasing everything thats on my mind before I explode because there’s no one in my life that I can really talk to about what’s on my mind. And yes, I talk to myself but don’t we all do? I mean, I don’t really see anything wrong with that. I think it’s kind of therapeutic. In fact, it is self-therapy!

    It’s totally completely normal if I talk to my posters. And honestly it’s helped my control my anger and just feel a little safer. AND it’s helped me overcome my incredible shyness. I mean, I’m still shy, but not painfully shy.

    Sorry this is long but I just really needed to get that off my chest. Anyone agree with me on this? Anyone else talk to themselves or there posters?

  20. Finding this web site and all your comments has been a huge relief to me. I have been talking to myself for years and have occasionally been overheard. My last partner heard me and almost convinced me I was mad. I believe talking to oneself is one of the last great taboos. I never dared discuss it with anyone even good friends in case I was rejected It seems its fine to discuss masturbation these days, comedians joke about it, but talking to oneself is the last of the great ‘pastimes which dare not speak its name’ Thanks all of you for sharingxxxx

  21. Hi i also talk to my self ,from how many years i do not remember, but know i am worried about it because i am
    young and i am afraid of marriage that my partner will leave
    me. Also people lough and make fun of us and than u feel embaress and do not want to set in the people .It is the proplem in which u can not do any thing about ur desires
    and no one want to hear u espascially if ur short height ,
    ugly ,not talanted . And as more time pass its became hard
    because than not only u talk aslo act like laughing , tears ,
    shouting ,angry at ur self that what i am doing . Is it has any
    treatment thah i became normal. Please send me on my email.
    THANKS

  22. Interesting post

    I am completing a Masters degree in law and I am pleased to say that I regularly talk with myself whilst studying complex ethical concepts. Talking to myself from varying perspectives helps me clarify my thoughts as sometimes I feel as though my mind is so full of information. I guess this is the reason why some people choose to use journals and diaries, whilst others like myself and other people commenting on here prefer to chat with themselves.

    ….Sometimes my cat sits by my side and stares at me in a ‘knowing’ manner…even the great philosopher Derrida dedicated a book about his cat doing this…

  23. As a passing thought on this topic….

    Western societies are deeply afraid of becoming ‘mad.’ One of my theories it that western cultures value rationality over the emotional…..

    Modernisation, urbanised environments, and globalisation have left many individuals as feeling alienated, and thus the rise of mental illnesses. There is always an emotional factor behind talking to yourself, and therefore it is perceived as insanity. However, you made an excellent point about the reasons of ‘healthy’ talking and the ‘unhealthy’ reasons.

  24. I talk to myself all the time if I’m alone. I thought it was odd, so tried to stop. I was doing very well for while, so well that I found myself having a conversation with myself about how I didn’t talk to myself anymore. :)

  25. hey, so i have a serious problem with talking to myself, i am 18 years old and i do it all the time, i ask myself my own questions and i answer them as well, its like i am talking to another person but i dont hear voices and i dont see people, i am myself’s best friend pretty much. i do it while walking the halls at school, i even do it when i am around people. i have been doing it since elementary school and im starting to notice i do it way to much. can someone tell me if i need help or if this is normal

  26. i talk to myself all the fucking time when im doing anything. i could be talking to someone and then i add in talking to myself and the person looks at me like im a weird fucker. I mean WHAT THE FUCK!

  27. I was having a BIG trouble with my talking to myself. I have been doing this all my life (ever since i could talk) and now i feel better thanks!

    :D

  28. well …i have the same prob

  29. i talk to myself everyday for the past 25 years. I am my own best friend. I actually listen to myself when I’m talking to myself. Anytime I feel I need someone to talk to, I turn to myself because I am open years, especially to myself because I like myself.

  30. Yes I totally understand you. I too have full blown convos with myself and I do get caught by sum folks when I drive but I’m like whatever. I’m not a crazy weirdo though so I don’t at all beat myself up about it because you have to remember if you do something strange and wonder to yourself if your the only one…no your not whatever it may be someone else in the world does it too. I too suffer from skin picking called trichotillomania and I do it when nervous bored or just perfectly fine. Its a habit. Also pick at my hair also so your okay.

  31. This article is wonderful. I am in the middle of a big blow-up with my wife and step daughter (She’s 17, yike!) and one of the (many) criticisms that they hurl at me is that I talk to myself too much. Both think it’s crazy, creepy, and not normal. The irony is that I am the most emotionally stable person in the house. I explain to them that I talk to myself because it helps me lower stress and takes me down a level — I have a temper but have learned to control it. Neither buys that explaination. As my wife says “everyone in the world knows that talking to yourself is not normal…” Well, like so many other things that she “knows” she is wrong. Anyway, talk to myself a lot and plan to continue to do so… So, self, let’s chat…

  32. Talking to yourself is normal and even answering yourself is normal just as long as you dont say “huh?”

  33. I was carted off to a trauma center because I was seen talking to myself in my doctor’s office! I had a hell of a time trying to convince people that I wasn’t crazy, that it was simply a bad habit of moving my lips in public. I suppose I might think the same thing if I saw someone doing the same thing, but for Christ’s sake, it seems like you can’t open your mouth these days without someone sticking their foot in it.

  34. I’ve always talked to myself, I’ve attributed it to being an only child and no playmates growing up. I use to play monopoly with myself in a game that would last a week!
    When I was an young adult with a 2yr old and my husband’s first deployment to the first gulf war and I went to a dr. for therapy because I was becoming housebound, having panic attacks when asked to make phone calls, panic attacks driving and panic attacks at the grocery store when it came to writing a check.
    The dr. asked me if I talked to myself and I said yes. Then he asked me did I answer myself and I said yes too and he stopped writing and looked up with me very alarmed. This concerned me of course that he was taken aback over my answer. I assured him that my answering back is my way of working through the oral questions I give to myself. 21yrs later I still talk to myself. I really do think that it’s no different than if you did it in your mind. It’s kinda like reading. I have come to find that when I read something, sometimes I have to read it out loud for me to retain what I have read. So maybe talking to myself works the same way. I have to do my mental thinking out loud to work things out. Makes perfect sense to me!

  35. If it embarrasses you to be seen talking to yourself in front of others, their are ways to combat it:

    Try talking without moving your lips. It’s a little hard to pronounce certain letters, but with a little practice, it can be done.

    Speak in a low voice, and use various gestures, such as yawning, covering you mouth, et al.

    Try talking to yourself in front of a mirror, or better still, in front of other people, without moving your mouth. If they give you funny looks, it means you’ll have to practice harder.

  36. although i talk to myself for gazillions of reasons, sometimes it is sorta weird since i am always told it “will be a sign of mental disorder”. but other than that i find this to be useful because i am often preoccupied with the past, once i forget the past comments and figure out how to make the future look good and shape well i will be on my way to success

    thanks to HealthMad, i will be on my way to becoming a model student that will have advantages in an increasingly competitive global society.

  37. Out loud, Robinson! Not just holding conversations in ones mind, but conversing with oneself out loud on a daily basis, and then answering oneself. Two people in one\’s body, both \”me,\” yet each has some insight into the world that the other may not have. Where in the hell is that plate? You left it in the bedroom. How can this house be so damned filthy? Because you don\’t clean the damn thing! My G-d how can I be such a pig? Because you are. you are, you are a pig! Just leave me alone. I\’m tired, man, I\’m really tired and I want to sleep.

  38. Out loud, Robinson! Not just holding conversations in ones mind, but conversing with oneself out loud on a daily basis, and then answering oneself. Two people in one’s body, both “me,” yet each has some insight into the world that the other may not have. Where in the hell is that plate? You left it in the bedroom. How can this house be so damned filthy? Because you don’t clean the damn thing! My G-d how can I be such a pig? Because you are. you are, you are a pig! Just leave me alone. I’m tired, man, I’m really tired and I want to sleep.

  39. It’s normal. It is perfectly normal to speak with oneself, especially if one happens to be in a lonely place. In such a place there is no one to answer, so why wouldn’t one do so? It’s perfectly normal.

  40. It\’s normal. It is perfectly normal to speak with oneself, especially if one happens to be in a lonely place. In such a place there is no one to answer, so why wouldn\’t one do so? It\’s perfectly normal. A bit of food and one is right as rain.

  41. Sure, posting error and then you post it anyway. You’re screwing with me aren’t you?

  42. Thank God, I was just told last night from a good friend the reason that people don’t like me at work is because they think I’m crazy. I have been doing it for years and I am so glad I am NOT crazy. Thanks to all!!!

  43. Thanks for writing this article and bringing this subject to the surface.. I realize that society views talking to oneself as weird and labels the individual as mentally crazy or insane. However, this isn’t true. The individual may be frustrated over issues that are plagueing their lives and cannot find a suitable human to talk the problem with. Also, it can indicate that one’s spirit is restless and is desiring a fulfilling change. There is no harm nor wrong with speaking with yourself. Who else would be a better listener.

  44. I agree with you. You’re not crazy nor insane.

  45. Thank God!! I talk to myself a lot … my little brother do too … its good to know that we are not crazy xD or forever alones….

  46. Thank God!! I talk to myself a lot … my little brother do too … its good to know that we are not crazy xD or forever alones….

  47. i wz so woried bou dis stuff at frst buh afta readin dis article i feel much bttr n i feel more light wen i talk 2 mieslf bou mie problms

  48. Im glad I read this too! I talk to myself all the time when im alone and have to catch myself when im around others sumtimes. However, I am a bit worried about what it is I talk about. I answer myself like most of you all say u do but I also play out senerios that have happened or may not have happened. I also repeat these things over and over in different ways sumtimes perhaps trying to think of a way I could have said or done something with a better affect. Also with things that havent happened. Now that im thinkin about it, maybe this is a problem, is that part normal???

  49. Wow, this took me to a place I wasn’t expecting. I guess I don’t talk to myself, I just express things aloud. I think everybody does that. You know, when you drop something and say, “Oh, for Pete’s sake!” or “There goes butterfingers again!” or one time at work, when I forgot to put the coffee pot under the brewer for a few seconds before I remembered and said, “Ack! Oh, no! What a mess!” These outbursts occur whether I have an audience or not. I guess I’m just very vocal and have to express strong feelings aloud. But I have to admit, I don’t ask myself questions and answer them aloud. That happens in my head. It goes without saying that I don’t hear voices and talk to them! Anyhow, I have said on occasion when I’m with people kidding around, “Well, I talk to myself, but I don’t TALK to myself.” One time a guy said, “Well, as long as you don’t answer yourself back, you’re fine!” I live alone, so I guess I just need to use my voice sometimes, though I would feel comfortable at work around people I know. (And I’m not the only one!) The standard response is, “Thinking out loud again?” to which I chuckle ruefully, “Yeah.” I have also been known to talk to the Xerox machine when it is being uncooperative! (Well, stubborn, I already pushed Start!” I wouldn’t do this in public like at the store, however, unless I dropped something and said, “Oh, shoot!” There’s a time and place. Ha ha.

  50. HA! My mom thought I was crazy for talking to myself sometimes. I do it as a way to express myself and express my thoughts. I talk myself through problems, sometimes encourage myself, review things in my mind, etc…turns out it’s perfectly healthy. I’m not surprised thought because I KNEW this already, but there’s something about reading an article like this and being reminded that others do this too, that just happens to be comforting.

  51. It’s ironic how society looks down on something that a LOT of people apparently do.

    But just like masturbation and homosexuality, it’ll one day be more accepted as normal and people will get over their ridiculously absurd viewpoints.

  52. I asked myself if I was crazy.

    He said yes.

    What should I do?

  53. When I was learning to drive an 18 wheeler my trainer asked me why I talked to myself, and, he said only crazy people talk to themselves. It was embarrassing, so I stopped unless he was asleep. My training went down hill from there. I work out problems, and, help myself when I say things audible to myself for some reason.

    I ended up with a different trainer. This one noticed how it helped me. She told me not to stop because it obviously helped me a lot. lol I’d say stuff like “ok… at 45 miles per hour shift into 9th gear… look at rpm’s… Ok, go farther out before you turn at the light.. watch the trailer… I don’t know why this conversation doesn’t work as well when I just say it in my head. hahaha

  54. I do the same thing. Usually in math tests or with homework; it really helps me concentrate and I say exacly what I’m writing which is why the few people who noticed don’t bother to try cheat on my tests, they just listen to the solution LOL. It’s a really great trick that always works and that I use regardless to other’s opinions. However, it really bugs me when others do it, as I need as much silence as possible, to get my thoughts in order. (I know, ironic, right?)

  55. tnk u so much,before reading this i was thinking m mad..m going to get marry wat other will say abt me..wat will they think..my parents says to me u r hving mental problem but now i got the solution of this problem :) tnk u so much

  56. I talk to myself and I’m not at all ashamed or embarrased to admit this fact. My girlfriend Knows I talk to myself, hell, even my siblings. Though I dont do it around them at all. I’m 18yrs old yet I still have imaginary friends that I talk to, one of them is ‘Buddy’. I know it sounds weird to many but its cool, I’m perfectly sane. I’m smart and really creative and I think talking to myself is part of who I am :)

  57. I do the same , yester day my father and mom were talking about me talking to my posters , they thought I was crazy and going insane , but think god I\\\’m not alone I real thought I was , I\\\’ve been this way since I was a baby can\\\’t help who I am :)

  58. Who is this Myself everybody keeps talking to, and why haven’t we been introduced yet?

  59. Really interesting article, but hey — “introverted” does not mean “no confidence”. Someone who is introverted simply doesn’t feel the need to talk to people constantly. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, so please try not to use it to imply otherwise. Us introverts get a bad enough rap as it is. Thanks!

  60. I am so pleased to see so many people speaking out about their own mental struggles or habits. I also talk to myself, I have since I was 12, after I experienced a traumatizing surgery which left a serious impact on my life. And with abusive parents and no one to talk to, my counselors often instructed me to go in a empty enclosed room and talk to myself. So I started doing that…but it became a habit. And now that is the only way I know how to get rid of my stress! I feel as though it is no different from having a diary, don’t people make video blogs of themselves all the time? Or record conversations on audio tapes (such as investigators, researchers, etc) So why should this be viewed as being any different? Mental stuggles are a part of life and its about time society begin to realize it. .

  61. REVELATION!!! I have been talking to myself for many, many years, as long as I can remember!! I find I do it with things I wouldnt dream of bringing up with friends or family…. it helps me de-stress.
    So glad to hear its “normal” lol I was begining to panic. I also thought to look it up while having a convo with myself!! Haha
    Happy to read these comments :-)

  62. its okay to talk to yourself. its when you start arguing that there might be a problem.

  63. healthmad 2012,thank you

    merry christmas !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ANGELA MARIE TAFT
    89 SAINT PETERS DRIVE
    BRENTWOOD,NEW YORK 11717-1025

  64. I thought i was getting crazy. thanks to this article i feel better. lol

  65. I literally do this all the time, probably every day. I’ve never thought I was crazy, but wasn’t quite sure how common it was to do this. I mean, I know everyone makes small statements aloud, like working through a math problem, or while you’re searching for something, trying to remember where you put it…but I have full-on monologues with myself for hours on end sometimes, usually when I’m really bored and/or have a lot of stress or something important on my mind.

    I find it helps tremendously. It lets me air-out my thoughts and make decisions, reassure myself, and just think more critically about things because they’re being said out loud instead of just bottled up in my head. I solve a lot of issues/questions in my life by just speaking everything running through my head –it really helps not only thinking it but also hearing it too. It’s just my way organizing all my thoughts.

    I think as long as you’re not expecting someone to answer or talk with you, you’re good. :-p

  66. I have been talking to my self ever since I can rememeber. I tend to be shy and keep my emotions bottled up and I feel like it’s a way of expressing my self when I would not do it in a social setting. My boyfriend recently noticed I talk to my self and he thinks its really weird. I felt self conscious about it. I decided to look it up and I feel much better at the fact that a lot of people do it and it is “normal.”
    Thanks for the information

  67. it’s good to see that I’m not an abnormal person in this sense. I ALWAYS talk to myself and every once I would think to myself Am i crazy? It makes me feel comfortable to talk to myself for reasons unexplained, I guess i will never fully understand the purpose.

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