With digital screens composing much of the landscape in our world today, the importance of thinking diminishes as we plug into seemingly more entertaining venues. This bombardment of outside stimulation programs us to believe our own thoughts and ideas aren’t enough to hold our interest. In today’s constantly moving world, we are rarely left alone with one of the most important people in each of our lives – ourselves.
Often when I let myself stare off into space and get lost in my thoughts I encounter strange looks from those surrounding me, provided they can tear themselves away from what currently occupies their attention to notice. There is no time to think. There is always some matter more important to attend to, requiring our undivided attention. Today it seems many classify the simple yet greatly involved activity of thinking as “doing nothing,” a notion I find utterly devastating.
Although the magnificent technological advances make a wealth of resources accessible anywhere, anytime, to anyone, this inundation of countless sources of entertainment, information and communication limits us. Today, our thoughts are underrated, underappreciated and underdeveloped. In essence we think all the time, in one capacity or another, but how many of those thoughts are original or personally reflective? People aren’t thinking for themselves as much as they used to, frequently spending that energy glued to digital screens. Our lives become a chaotic frenzy of activity as we attempt to keep up, constantly moving from one medium to another, offering little time to consult with ourselves about our own desires and needs. Thinking is worthy of the same amount of time, if not more, that we dedicate to everything society tells us to read, watch or experience.
I’m not proposing that usage of these resources deters mental or personal development and growth, but I believe excessive use, which many of us are guilty of, including myself, could reduce our quality of life. I have happily fallen into a Netflix vortex, watching hour after hour of a television until I finish the series. Given the opportunity I gladly wile away an afternoon engrossed in computer games only coming up for air around dinnertime. Spending days like this from time to time isn’t dangerous and can often be rejuvenating for the mind. The harm exists when activities of this nature consume our lives, and we turn off our brains distancing ourselves from our thoughts. A stagnant mind quickly becomes dull and dusty.
Furthermore, the unstable condition of the world today leads many to let work and finance thoughts consume their mind, often leading to stressed and frantic thoughts. While these essential aspects of life cannot be ignored, intense focus here without giving yourself a mental break burns the mind out. Without letting stressful thoughts go, your mind will falter under exhaustion.
The key to this overflow of stimulation is moderation. Be diligent and smart with your time, and carefully plan moments entirely to yourself for pondering. Don’t let screens and outside stressors hinder the power of your mind. You do not need to constantly occupy yourself with some tangible activity. Mentally focusing on your dreams, recalling fond memories, indulging crazy ideas and letting your imagination wander recharges you, making you and your mind stronger. Get lost in your mind.
Getting lost in your own thoughts is easier said than done. The mind is a scary place. For an over thinker like myself, I often get trapped in my mind, overanalyzing a myriad of ideas and memories until I am mentally exhausted. Akin to therapy and meditation, thinking forces us to acknowledge ourselves in the most personal way. Nothing else can do that. Outside factors and people may lead us there, but we ultimately make the decision to delve further. In the recesses of our minds we develop solutions to problems, comprehend emotions and realize dreams. Our thoughts give us direction, insight, help us formulate opinions and ignite us into action. We remember the past and envision the future. Through deep thinking and reflecting we find clarity and peace.
Take time each day to put aside all other tasks, worries and devices and let your mind wander. Simply sit alone with yourself and experience the beauty of thinking. Where you go may surprise you and it may hurt you. But above all else, thinking will liberate you.