Talking to yourself may have health benefits

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- We all talk to ourselves, from wondering out loud where we left our keys to talking our way through an activity. New research indicates that talking to yourself is okay.

"We don’t know where [this research] it’s going to go yet," said Jared L. Skillings, Ph.D., chief of psychology at Spectrum Health. "But maybe people who talk to themselves more are actually doing a better job of accessing those parts of their brain more than the rest of us who just sit quietly and think things."

A recent study out of Bangor University in the UK shows talking out loud actually improves control over a task. We see it in sports, often at crucial points in a game. Golfers do it all of the time.

Dr. Skillings says our ability to generate self-instruction is one of the best tools we have to keep our thinking straight, walking yourself through things that happen to you and things you are doing. You're accessing different parts of your brain when you talk aloud.

While schizophrenia is associated with talking to oneself, Skillings says only about one percent of the population suffers from that mental disorder.