This is how our thinking works: how do we think?

Today the action is valued: management, efficiency, speed, staying up to date, having experiences, making money, having power, success ... However, without internalizing, contemplating, keeping quiet, thinking, reflecting, analyzing , discover, criticize, light up, calibrate, ponder, reach conclusions, seek points of reference, deepen, balance, harmonize, mature ... we can hardly achieve our goals.

Think well and you will succeed

But, how does our thinking work? How do we think? We think well when:

1. We think with objectivity and realism, trying to have a positive approach to things.
2. We think in depth.

Objective and realistic thinking

How do we think? To what extent do we have "good intention to think"? Are we owners, if we are, of those thoughts?


There is a relationship between different levels of the person: the intellectual level, (thoughts); the affective (mood, emotions) and the biological (physical state, instincts, physiological functions). To give some examples: so many times the lack of sleep or hunger (physical level) produces in us a bad mood (affective level); Good news, elevates our spirits and mysteriously "disappears" the headache. Besides taking into account these levels, it also helps us to think better about discovering the meaning of life, our mission.

If we improve our way of thinking, thinking realistically but positively, it also improves our mood, our behavior and our interpersonal relationships. Positive thoughts breed positive feelings.


Distortions of reasoning

We are not always owners of how we think. There are some distortions of thought. The most commons are:

A) See only a part of reality. The bad is enlarged and the good is reduced, the level of complaints increases. How much and what soil do I complain about? Do I realize what influences in my mind and in the people who live with me those complaints?

Let's see an example. Noemí has ​​finished 1º of Architecture. Of 8 subjects, she has passed 6. Her family is upset by the failures, and she hesitates to continue or leave. How he thinks? "My obligation is to approve everything, I have suspended, my parents are right: it's better not to waste my time and money, it's better to leave it." His mood is sadness and demotivation. There is over exigency and dissatisfaction. How should I think?"I have managed to approve 6, it is satisfactory. I will analyze the situation to apply this good performance to the other subjects ".


B) Think bad-speak badly. The defects that a person has are judged in the first place. To be lenient is not to close our eyes to their faults, but to excuse the person and make a positive and constructive criticism, thus manifesting the interest and affection we feel towards her. If we think badly of someone, we condemn them in our interior without the possibility of defending themselves. It is necessary, therefore, that we learn to temper with our indulgence.

C) Generalize. Situations, comments, etc. Constantly use words like everything, always, never, impossible, etc .: "In this house everything breaks down !, If I do not take care of myself, nobody does it! I always have to do it!". They are words that make us feel victims and create around a negative environment.

D) Anticipate failures. Overtaking situations and consequences usually for the worse, what we commonly call being an augury: "You will see how it does not go well, it will spoil at the last moment". Anticipating the pleasant, provokes emotions of well-being and on the contrary, the unpleasant generates a chain reaction.

E) Forget that we can enjoy life. There are people who seem to live by obligation, everything is the duties of others towards me or vice versa. They are perfectionists who have forgotten to enjoy everyday life, look for a festive air day by day, and feel annoyed if they see others doing it.

Treatments for thought distortions

The treatment before these distortions can be the following one:

1. 70% "fall into the account" of what worked like this, of what are my concrete defects (we could say that it is to make a good diagnosis);

2. 15% willing to change, with the effort and the necessary and constant training.

3. 15%, small doses of thanks, sense of humor, realism, and positive vision. And good advice: Do not worry, take care.

Another good training-treatment to think well, is to learn to listen, what we call "active listening", assimilate what we hear, attending, pondering, finding out, in short, with an internal psychological attention. With empathy, we are able to take charge of the message that others want to transmit to us, as well as to interpret their non-verbal language.It is something that young people should cultivate, since for their vitality, immediacy, impatience or lack of interest, they do not consider it important input.

If I'm not really interested in what my interlocutor is telling me, I can be in front of him and "think about my things". In addition, young people must learn to be cautious in the interpretations of others, without drawing premature conclusions, or prejudging their message. If we have not understood, recognize it and ask the appropriate questions to clarify.

Think in depth

The second way of thinking well is to think in depth, so that we reach a greater reflection both individually and in our relationship with others. Manuel Segura, from the University of La Laguna, exposes different types of thoughts.
- Causal thinking.
- Alternative thinking.
- Consequential thinking.
- Perspective thinking.
- Thought means-end.

1. Causal thinking. Determine where the problem is, and for that, information and reflection is essential. Do not talk without data. "Why is this subject going wrong? Why do not I just have good friends?"

2. Alternative thinking. Once the problem (s) is detected, open the mind to see how to act. "What can I do with this problem ?, I can go talk to the teacher of the subject".

3. Consequential thinking. Anticipate the consequences of what I say or do before it happens, fall into the account, go "beyond." Especially important in the training of adolescents-young people who live daily, at the minute, that often what moves them is the transient feeling-emotion, what they have before them; they do not stop to think and therefore do not ask themselves: "What will happen if I start to try porros? And if I falsify the notes?". And also, in positive: "And if I stay this weekend preparing the exam, instead of staying all night in the move?".

4. Perspective thinking. See things, problems or difficulties from the point of view of the other, put yourself in their place. It has a lot to do with empathy. It is not just giving reason, but knowing what others feel. It is the opposite of egocentrism, the desire to live for me. "What is happening to my brother who is serious?"

5. Thought means-end. Very attached to motivation. It is about setting goals and putting the means, programming things, knowing where I am going and as a consequence, means that I have to put. Plan, for example, in the short, medium and long term (this quarter, from the end of the year to the end of these studies, for example).

Pilar Sancho

Video: The Science of Thinking


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