How Deep Thinking Can Be Harmful

Thinking is arguably the most important function we have. It determines everything we do. It dictates our mood.

With this blog, I aim to promote depth and quality of thought in order to improve lives.

But everyone should be aware that there is a dark side to deep, analytical thinking. It involves thinking obsessively about negative things – events, situations, experiences, etc. There is research that shows the danger of this mental fixation on the negative.

We Are What We Think

Why engage in deep thinking in the first place?

Do so to increase your awareness – of yourself, your situation, your world, and your habits. With increased awareness, you are better informed to make critical daily decisions about how you life your life. You will learn more from mistakes and possess greater understanding about what has succeeded in the past and why.

The important caveat to the practice of deep thinking and being “mentally aware” is focusing on negative things. The mind is very capable, but it can be tricked easily. When we focus on negative events obsessively, a negative feedback loop can form in our mind.

In the research I referenced earlier, it says that each time a person struggles with depression, the chance of recurrence increases by 16%. This is because the mind is developing a habitual depressive response to certain negative stimuli – and habits are difficult to break.

thinking hurts

In the worst month of my life, I suffered through a negative feedback loop of anxiety. My anxiety propagated more anxiety, which made me anxious…

Once I realized that I was suffering from anxiety, I was able to right the ship by training myself to respond differently to negative stimuli and to any signs of anxiety. I chose not to empower my anxiety by essentially ignoring it. Anxiety isn’t a problem that I need to tend to – it’s a problem that arises from pure fear (and even fear of fear!).

Remove fear and anxiety subsides.

 

Think Happy Thoughts

I don’t believe that it can possibly be overstated that humans benefit tremendously from positive thinking. I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, but do you understand how effective it is?

Though I am not equipped to back this up with indisputable science, I believe that the ratio of positive-to-negative thoughts dramatically affects our mental health and perception of the world. If you consider our minds’ tendencies to form habitual responses to stimuli, it makes perfect sense. If the mind is always focusing on negative events and problems – then it will always expect negative events and problems to exist.

The world is brimming full of negative and positive things. Homicides occur every day. Babies are born every day.  Getting fired is scary, but it means new opportunities and a little vacation!

Maybe your shoulder hurts, but you’re writing a brilliant book. Focus on the book and let the shoulder heal.

You have a choice. You can be positive and full of life or you can be the opposite. If you find yourself dwelling on the negative – twist it, spin it, and bop it until you see the positive side of it. If there is no positive side, then choose to think about something else that is positive.

Negative events, however, should never be ignored. They serve as the most vital learning tools by teaching us what doesn’t work. But only think about these negative things as much as absolutely necessary! Anything more than the bare minimum is fruitless and possibly harmful.

So you broke your arm. Yeah, that sucks…but thinking about how terrible it is will not make it heal any faster. You just need to learn that you can’t clothes-line a buffalo. The arm will heal on its own with time, so why not get excited about reading those books you have been too busy to read? Why not take this bed-ridden opportunity to watch LOST? Why not get excited about football season?

If you need to care for the arm, then by all means put it into the schedule. If you can accelerate healing with therapy, that’s great! Those things are positive actions that provide better results.

Of course, I’m absolutely preaching to myself right now. I am sloooooowly recovering from a shoulder injury, but I’m still blogging!

Shield your mind from unnecessary negativity and nourish it with positive vibes!

 

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Evan

My problem with a lot of the emphasis on the positive is that it comes across as being dismissive of people’s pain. So I am in favour of positive thinking if it is deep thinking – which seems to be what you are advocating.

One approach is to analyse our own contribution to the situation – if there isn’t one then maybe the best thing is to leave. Finding our own contribution is valuable whether the situation is a positive or negative one.

Stephen Guise

Hey Evan,

I agree that’s a danger of the positive thinking mantra, and I certainly don’t recommend ignoring pain. Pain is a very valuable response mechanism. I’ve actually been meaning to write a post about it.

Great insight about our contribution! I like how you framed it and connected it to positive and negative situations. That is important, because with negative looping thoughts, it is often a situation that cannot be remedied or has already come to pass.

hamad baqer

email me i have some ideas about “deep thinking”, because honestly i am a deep thinker… or else why would i be up at 1 30 in the morning on a school night…?

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I appreciate your article,thank you for your effort,I will inform this to my friends

yashwant RATHORE

THINKING IS HARMFUL, EITHER IT IS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE.

WHEN WE INDULGE IN THNIKING,THEN THERE IS NO AWARNESS.

AWARNESS WILL BE THERE , WHEN MIND IS NOT WORKING, WHEN YOUR EYES CAN LOOK FULLY, WHEN YOUR EARS CAN LISTEN FULLY NOT INTERUPT BY THINKING.

RELATION ARE BUILT WHEN U ENJOY OTHER PERSON COMPANY FULLY AND WHEN U R THERE TOTALLY, EVEN A WORST PERSON WILL BE YOUR FRIEND BECAUSE HE ENJOYED THE TIME WITH YOU.

WHAT IS USE OF YOUR THINKING WHEN YOU ARE MEETING WITH SOMEONE AND IN, IN YOU YOUR MIND IS DOING POLITICS.

LIKE MOUTH HAS JOB OF EATING BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU EAT 24 HOUR.

MIND IS THERE TO MAKE DECISION, BUT THEY SHOULD BE PRECISE AND CLEAR.

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