Talking to Yourself Is Good for the Brain

Talking to yourself doesn't mean you're strange or that something's wrong with you. Find out how this habit affects your brain.
Talking to Yourself Is Good for the Brain

Written by Daniela Andarcia

Last update: 29 January, 2023

There are many times when talking to yourself happens spontaneously. When you’re in a hurry and looking for the keys to your car, before a presentation, or before an important event are some of the most typical examples.

Talking to yourself isn’t an indication that you’re a strange person or that something’s wrong with you. This habit is practiced by many more people than you probably imagine.

And we’re not referring only to the habit of thinking about certain issues in silence, but to talking to yourself aloud and, sometimes, even answering the questions posed.

This happens for various reasons, especially when we’re subjected to emotions such as anger, nerves, or high concentration. But do you know why talking to yourself is good for your brain? Discover the answer to this question.

A man talking to his own reflection.
The benefits of talking to yourself are interesting and numerous.

5 ways talking to yourself can affect your brain

There’s a big difference between a dialogue with yourself, knowing that it’s a conversation with yourself, and having a conversation with an external agent that only you can perceive.

Having clarified this, there are several who theorize that when we speak aloud with ourselves, we slow down our thoughts, among other things, which helps us to process them more effectively.

In general, this is because the language centers of the brain are put into action. Now, we’ll show you the ways in which this habit can benefit your brain.

1. Accelerating the learning process

Talking to yourself can greatly improve your learning process. Experts have shown that this habit helps to reinforce the information stored in long-term memory.

By asking yourself questions, answering them, and challenging the answers, you’re playing the role of a diligent teacher who tries to get their students to do their best and consolidate their knowledge.

2. It can reduce stress levels

It has been shown that in moments of confusion, sadness, anger, or stress, carrying out a monologue can be beneficial to mitigate these feelings. If you haven’t, you can try to get into this habit and consider it to be a kind of therapy to release tension.

Keep in mind that prolonged stress levels can negatively affect the health of your brain and your body in general.

3. Talking to yourself helps you stay focused

A study published in Acta Psychologica showed that asking yourself rhetorical questions while performing technical tasks can increase your level of concentration.

This is because self-talk is a useful tool for reviewing procedures and spotting faults, so wondering aloud whether or not a certain object fits into a hole, for example, is appropriate for these cases.

In addition to venting some frustration or other, it’s likely that repeating the instructions and processes out loud will increase your knowledge on the matter. And sometimes it can make you change your mind if you plan to give up, because by talking to yourself in this way, you’ll have remembered your progress.

4. Increase levels of motivation

Sometimes we have feelings of blockage that arise from having the sensation that a certain goal or project has been stalled. This negative thinking can be minimized if we use the tool of positive self-talk.

Words like “You’re doing a good job!”, “You can handle this!” or “You’re almost there!” raise your self-motivation and, being said out loud, they gain more force. After all, sound helps reinforce information.

Take into account that these phrases, according to a 2014 study, when pronounced in the second or third person, work better for you. This is because by using these pronouns, you create the feeling that you’re talking to another person, which leads to emotional detachment, thereby mitigating the distress functions associated with the goal that you think is stuck.

5. Helps process complex feelings

Sometimes, there are personal experiences that you don’t want to share with third parties or with those closest to you. In situations like these, you’ll likely seek to choose your words a bit before exposing them.

This requires taking time, reflecting, and segmenting the situation, so that the most appropriate solution can be found. Talking to yourself in the privacy of your bedroom, for example, can help you spot potential concerns that current tribulations may bring.

In the same way, having self-talk about some deep feelings minimizes them and makes them more resolvable. Or, at the very least, it’ll help you accept the situation, which helps mitigate its impact.

Learn to talk to yourself the right way

The way we communicate with ourselves can negatively or positively affect our thoughts. Monologues such as “I’m stupid!”, “I’m useless!”, or “This is a disaster!”, for example, are premises that tend to damage our self-esteem and significantly diminish our sense of worth.

This is known as negative dialogue, and we must avoid it at all costs. To do this, put these simple recommendations into practice:

Orient the monologue in your favor

Scenarios for talking only come up frequently during our day. Opportunities such as the loss of an object, a job interview, or the execution of some activity in general, are good for dialoguing with yourself.

According to a study published in the medical journal Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, asking yourself questions aloud such as “Where would I put that object?”, “Where did I last see that thing?” or simply mentioning the name of the missing item, can help you find it faster without generating tension.

Likewise, there’s scientific evidence that incorporating your monologue out loud as an extension of your ideas while you study is very useful for fixing and accelerating the understanding of the subject being studied.

A woman coming up with an idea.
If you’re going to talk to yourself, do so intelligently.

Listen to what you say

Talking to yourself as well as listening carefully turn out to be necessary and important combinations when talking to yourself. Paying attention to what your thoughts say favors the internal communication process, positively influencing your ability to be successful in any matter raised.

Keep in mind that this well-oriented habit serves as the support you need to cope with a certain situation.

Speak in the third person

This consists of referring to yourself in the second or third person. With this, you’ll create a feeling of emotional detachment, and you’ll be able to make a more objective and clear decision.

What to remember about talking to yourself?

  • Feeling comfortable and free to engage in a self-directed conversation can take time, but remember that this is more common than you think.
  • Eliminate the stigmas associated with this practice and keep in mind that, in the long term, it can benefit you.
  • Well-executed internal dialogue in times of trouble gives you the necessary support to alleviate this situation.
  • You need to refer to yourself positively and in the third person, as this will help you obtain better results.
  • Don’t forget to pay attention to what you say when you speak to yourself.

  • Forrin, N. D., & MacLeod, C. M. (2018). This time it’s personal: the memory benefit of hearing oneself. Memory (Hove, England), 26(4), 574–579.
  • Moser, J. S., Dougherty, A., Mattson, W. I., Katz, B., Moran, T. P., Guevarra, D., Shablack, H., Ayduk, O., Jonides, J., Berman, M. G., & Kross, E. (2017). Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRI. Scientific reports, 7(1), 4519.
  • Kirkham, A. J., Breeze, J. M., & Marí-Beffa, P. (2012). The impact of verbal instructions on goal-directed behaviour. Acta psychologica, 139(1), 212–219.
  • Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., Bremner, R., Moser, J., & Ayduk, O. (2014). Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: how you do it matters. Journal of personality and social psychology, 106(2), 304–324.
  • Lupyan, G., & Swingley, D. (2012). Self-directed speech affects visual search performance. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), 65(6), 1068–1085.
  • Berry, D. C. (2007). Metacognitive experience and transfer of logical reasoning. The quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 35(1), 39–49.

Este texto se ofrece únicamente con propósitos informativos y no reemplaza la consulta con un profesional. Ante dudas, consulta a tu especialista.