Why Talking to Yourself Helps You Cope in Times of Pandemic

Fernando Díez Ruiz, University of Deusto and Pedro César Martínez Morán, Comillas Pontifical University

The internal dialogue, also known as verbal thinking, self-talk, or internal monologue, is the conversation that one has with oneself. Internal dialogue is applied in the day-to-day life of individuals and is extrapolated to academic, work, artistic and sports fields.

It is a common behavior among humans since we all practice it. Studies indicate that 72% of people confirm that they useful for solving problems, clarifying ideas or organizing tasks they need to do during the day.

Our internal dialogue it's a reflection. When it's about yourself, it can be harsh at times. In particular, the acceptance of what we do not like.

It is very important to accept ourselves as we are, not to deny the evidence no matter how hard it is. Acceptance helps mature and sculpt real self-esteem from ourselves.

Suicide prevention

Thought usually precedes the behaviors we perform. It is worth mentioning the example of suicidal ideation, a vitally important step in suicide prevention. There are countless guides and help aimed at families of people who have thought about committing suicide. The objective? Prevent and intervene in the ideation stage, since for suicide to occur it is necessary to have thought about it before.

According to Vigotsky, internal dialogue is necessary from an early age for the development of thought. This process is used by many people to regulate behavior or to organize themselves without being told what to do by others. In adult life, internal dialogue helps the person to understand new or strange experiences, to reflect and reconsider or to plan, among others.

What types of internal dialogs are there?

It should be clarified that it is possible to distinguish between positive internal dialogue, which includes positive affirmations about oneself and, the negative self-talk, which includes criticism or negative statements about oneself. As you might expect, the positive helps you feel better and the negative … makes you feel worse. Through these internal dialogues, people learn to interpret our feelings and perceptions by giving instructions and reinforcement.

According to> Oleś, Brinthaupt, Dier, & Polak (2020), the internal dialogues would be the following:

1. Dialogue of own identity. This internal dialogue helps in the deeper understanding of the person in order to give meaning to life. They usually answer questions like "Who am I?" "What is important to me?"; "What is the meaning of my life or existence?"; "Because I am here?".

2. Support dialogue (motivational/instructional). The purpose of this internal dialogue is to maintain and preserve psychological well-being. Individuals may internally have supportive dialogues with others they consider important to them and instructive dialogues.

3. Compulsive dialogue. This type of dialogue is related to the internal debate of problems and difficult situations. These dialogues are accompanied by a feeling of fatigue, frustration, and a desire to stop the self-talk. On these occasions, individuals are usually divided between different thoughts and the mental dialogues they have usually bother them.

4. Dialogue dissociative. They involve the kind of internal activity that divides the self into two conflicting positions. These dialogues are connected with internal arguments and struggles.

5. Social dialogue. It consists of the mental imitation of the conversations and interactions that can occur in real life. These include the types of dialogue in which a person considers arguments and ideas and leads a discussion as if communicating with another real person.


In the current pandemic situation, obviously, we have to preserve our psychological well-being, which is why supportive dialogue and the avoidance of compulsive dialogue is essential. Use dialogue motivational internal is a good idea, as good as reducing negative thinking, especially in these moments.

It is not always easy, but we must focus our energy on what helps us feel good, that is, without resorting to self-deception. We refer to choose the information that helps us to grow, to improve, to feel well. Especially at times when we may need help.

Taking advantage of internal dialogue to encourage us is a good idea. As we do, we will feel better and need less external stimuli. Striking that balance will help us get through these difficult times for all of us.

Fernando Díez Ruiz, Doctor Professor, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Deusto and Pedro César Martínez Morán, Director of the Master in Human Resources at ICADE Business School, Comillas Pontifical University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original.