The Happiness of Not Thinking

The Happiness of Not Thinking

Are you an over-thinker?

Do you sometimes tie yourself in knots trying to work out what’s best?

Have you ever experienced analysis paralysis?

Well, it’s a YES for all of these for me and if you can also relate, then read on …

via Psychology Today by Steve Taylor


  • There are two types of thinking: conscious rational thought and associational chatter.
  • Associational “thought-chatter” creates a sense of disturbance, separates us from reality, and gravitates to negativity.
  • Many of the happiest moments of our lives occur when we are not thinking—and perhaps because we are not thinking.
  • Thought should be a tool that we can pick up when we need it and then set down again.
Fllickr/Jael Claybaugh

Source: Fllickr/Jael Claybaugh

One of the most well-known phrases in philosophy is, “I think, therefore I am,” from the 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes. The statement is usually taken to mean that the act of thinking generates our sense of identity, and that without thought we would cease to exist. But strictly speaking, Descartes was arguing that the only thing in the world we can be sure of is that we exist, because we have the ability to think. We can doubt everything else—even that the sun will rise tomorrow morning—but so long as we are thinking, we can’t doubt our existence.

It seems impertinent to disagree with such a revered old philosopher, but in my view, Descartes was wrong to put so much emphasis on thought. More broadly, this is true of our culture, too. Western cultures tend to extol the act of thinking, valuing thought over instinct and logic over intuition. We associate thought with civilisation, and its absence with barbarism and savagery. But I believe that, in many ways, it would be better if we thought much less.

We don’t cease to exist when we stop thinking. In fact, we exist in a more authentic sense. Incessant thinking creates a superficial and even illusory sense of identity. Thought obscures our essential nature, and the well-being and spontaneous creativity which arise from it. To be conscious without thought is an ideal state, one we should aspire to…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE