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Is chronic thinking harming or healing us?

Karla Daly

The art-form of thinking has enabled humankind to uncover information we never thought was possible. But when information is readily available to us 24/7, is it causing us to think too much?

One such person who has used his own thinking objectively for investigation is Dr Kaushik Ram, a neuroscientist, author and Founding Director of the Institute for Implicit Intelligence.

With his research specialising in non-cognitive intelligence, Dr Ram says it’s the epidemic of chronic thinking that’s keeping us trapped. What was once an art-form, is now often being manipulated by the state of our own nervous system.

“We may believe that we can think our way out of problems, however this is not true. There exists a great paradox – we live in a world that is constantly changing. The paradox is that the moment to moment uncertainty causes fear. Fear makes our thinking linear and goal directed and our time based thinking is what works poorly under uncertainty.”

Dr Ram says the Information Age has also created an imbalance in our thinking, where we treat it like fast food. As humans, we are constantly striving and looking for more, which only leads to more suffering.

Yet if we were to look less at the hands of time and give our full attention to the moment – we can find a sweeter spot in our thinking.

To do so, we turn to our non-cognitive abilities, using our bodies to regulate the brain.

“When we learn about our nervous system, we know how to return to rest, restoration and repairs. This allows us to feel replenished and safe. When we feel safe, we have confidence in trusting our natural abilities in times when we don’t know what to do.

“When we are forcing a solution by thinking our way through it, it will deprive us. However, when we are calm and relaxed and creativity suddenly strikes – we are able to stay up day and night and not feel depleted because there is a sense that we are being powered by something far greater than ourselves.”

This explains why some of our best insights and solutions come to us when we least expect it – like when we take a shower or go for a quiet walk.

“In my own work, I have come to rely on my non-cognitive intelligence more so than anything that my mind can come up with. In eastern traditions, there is a saying – the mind is a useful servant but a dangerous master. When we relieve the mind from the traps of time, we find that we have an overwhelming sense of appreciation for this moment. This sense of appreciation fosters real connection between people and allows us to open up to creativity and collaboration.”

To find more sweet spots in your thinking and inspire your human kindness, register for this year’s TEDxSydney now.

 

Photo credit: Whoislimos