Once upon a time I thought people who talked to themselves were not all there. Now I do it. Isolated by an ongoing pandemic and having moved across the country after a 30 year stay in another province, socialization has become a thing of the past – except on a superficial level. So I talk to myself regularly. Sometimes it’s to assist my getting organized. Sometimes I have to chastise myself for having lost my keys for the second time in one day. Other times I have to give myself a pep talk. I’m there for me. Positive and negative thoughts find me talking to myself daily.
Is Talking To Oneself A Sign of Mental Decline?
Apparently not. Studies indicate that those who regularly self-talk may have a higher level of intelligence!
Is it more common to self-dialogue out loud if you are a senior? It is said that 96% of us conduct internal conversations while 25% talk out loud. Like me. I see it as a reflective exercise: sorting out difficult issues and keeping them in perspective.
One of the great advantages of talking to oneself is the fact that whatever is discussed is unlikely to be repeated in a gossip circle of one.
One anecdote cited a psychiatrist who was asked if talking to trees and other objects is “normal?” He responded with the suggestion that you call him only if the trees and flowers talked back.
One of the worrisome thoughts about self-talk is that it might be indicative of schizophrenia. But unless self-talk is accompanied by hearing voices, delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thoughts, we can rule that one out.
The Etiquette of Talking To Oneself
Experts advise us to keep the inner and outer monologues positive. Choose the places you talk to yourself with care. Avoid elevators for example—especially elevators with other people in them.
Self-talk can be likened to a form of meditation or journaling out loud. Sometimes surprising revelations result. When we organize our thoughts, we shut out the noise and can problem-solve one-on-one.
Rather than running through life on autopilot we focus and practice situational awareness as in hazardous traffic. We tell ourselves to slow down and be mindful of any dangers. We shut out distractions and ensure our safety; it doesn’t have to involve traffic but any situation in life in which we feel imperiled.
Self-talk can reduce stress when we talk ourselves metaphorically down from the ceiling and away from that ledge. We give our rational selves the mic and quiet the hysterical muddled thinking that can arise when we are troubled and seeking answers.
Personal out-loud appraisals can be beneficial: how does this behavior benefit me or defeat me or my goals in life? Am I moving forward, treading water, or in the process of drowning in a situation?
When talking to yourself address yourself by name. Reiterate what you know to be your strengths and remember past successes. Personal traits you employed to succeed in the past can be drawn upon again for future endeavors.
In a world of constant competition, athletes come to mind as needing the benefits of self-talk in order to remain positive, motivated, remain calm, and believe they are stronger than their nearest competitor. Studies have shown that self-talk is a tool that has demonstrated positive results.
And in closing, I’m reminded that Billy Idol liked dancing with himself: