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Would It Be Good For You To "Think Less" ?

Thinking “too much” is actually a mixed basket of other, more specific, more tractable problems.

Pamela J. Hobart
Pamela J. Hobart
1 min read
Would It Be Good For You To "Think Less" ?

When someone who's all up in their head proclaims: "I just wish I could think less" that makes some intuitive sense. Most people have at least occasionally encountered the fatigue and frustration of an ultra-busy mind.

At the same time, there aren't any guidelines for "how much" thinking is good for people in general to do - let alone any specific person, with her specific personality, knowledge, and needs.

"How much" thinking is good for you depends heavily on what you're thinking about, how it feels to think about those things, and how well you're doing it.

Moreover, what's "good" for you is not clear, either. Thinking "more" may be unpleasant or tiring at times, but provide other benefits such as improved decision making capacity. Or maybe thinking more is inherently fun, for some people, but without good effects - it may even have other costs.

Since the right amount of thinking is not really a thing, but a desire to "think less" is intelligible and "good" for some conceptions of "good," I hypothesize that the plaintive wish to "think less" is really a shorthand for something else, such as:

-I'm having painful thoughts. I want to avoid this pain.

-I keep rehearsing the same thoughts, I don't yet know why.

-I haven't learned how to relax.

-My thinking is out of proportion with the importance of the matters at hand.

-I am having trouble making a decision, my thoughts are stuck.

-My thoughts are internally incoherent. I haven't been able to reconcile them and it's bothering me.

-I wish I were as certain about this matter as other people seem to be.

These problems, put precisely, point towards a variety of resolutions - none of which is simply to "think less" per se.

It might be genuinely undesirable or impossible to "think less." But you can always think better.

Pamela J. Hobart

Philosophical Life Coaching in Austin, TX. Also mother of 3, Miata driver, and DIY manicure aficionado.