We’re all very familiar with our inner voice; we may be cleaning our teeth or taking a shower as we mull over the day’s activities or plan for the weekend. Self-talk is a term used to describe the inner monologue and mental chatter that goes on inside our heads; like our own personal radio or smart speaker that’s on in the background, interjecting commentary on our life.
Self-talk has been there as far back as we can remember from childhood. In the 1920s the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky observed young children talking to themselves as they played and proposed that over time their private speech from social interactions starts to become internalised as inner speech by around four years of age. Once developed, the verbalised thought of inner speech becomes a very powerful tool, as it gives us the potential to be more aware of, and process thoughts, emotions, and behaviour that might have otherwise not been available to conscious experience.