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Talking to Yourself? It’s Perfectly Normal!

And it’s good for you

Ophélie Ostermann / Madame Figaro


Talking to Yourself? It’s Perfectly Normal!


Do you prefer packing your suitcase while talking out loud, listing what is in your shopping cart before leaving the store or you feel like commenting on a documentary you are watching on Netflix alone? Don’t worry,this is actually very normal andvery useful.


You recognize that you are often speaking alone, whether you live with someone or not. You regularly think out loud, while on the street, at home or at the office, walking the hall that leads to the coffee machine. If this happens, it doesn’t mean that you are going crazy, on the contrary, your neurons are working pretty well.


A harmless act

Your surrounding can tell a lot on why this is happening and you will be able to understand this phenomenon.


"It is quite rare not to do this. Those who do not do it, have very repressed personalities, and speak only in their heads, or say to themselves "I don't need anyone, not even myself," comments Laurie Hawkes, psychologist and psychotherapist.


This common habit reveals nothing in particular about the personality of the speaker. "However, extrovert people tend to do it stronger and longer than others. They like to have an audience and prefer to think out loud with someone. When there is no one there to listen to them, they do it more,” explains the psychologist.


Thinking out loud clarifies thoughts

If the fact of speaking to oneself - or simply speaking - and thinking out loud, is often associated with craziness, the act would nevertheless be very natural. For the psychologist, speaking to oneself can be useful. Thinking out loud for instance helps us to think better, allows us to clarify our thoughts, "it makes things more concrete than keeping them in our heads," adds Laurie Hawkes.

Presenting information orally could help unblock a situation, just like resolving a math equation. The concept is the same when we do our calculations. We don't even finish our sentences.


“We can also use it to reassure, motivate, or congratulate ourselves. This leads to moral independence and knowing yourself better. We can also use it to reframe, with sentences like "but what an idiot, why did you do that?" says Lawkes.


A process of "digestion"

Talking to ourselves can also be a rehearsal before a stressful meeting, as a way toknow what to say to someone else. “It is useful when you have a job interview or a test for example. We also use it in therapy, we ask the patient to imagine his boss on an empty chair,”comments the psychologist.


Finally, Laurie Hawkes sees this as a “digestive” function. "When we have had a difficult or shortened conversation, or both, we need to finish the story. Talking alone can lead to ruminations because we want this scene to end, or we are left wondering the reason and it's very difficult to bear,"says the psychologist.


Speaking alone is certainly not a red flag, but if it occurs very often, it can possibly be the result of a lack of exchange and invite you to see other humans to exchange.