People have told you that you’re a deep thinker.
You’re not sure about that because you don’t even see yourself as someone introspective or intellectual.
Well, if you want to know for sure, here are 11 signs that you might be a deep thinker, according to psychologists.
Find out how many of these traits you see in yourself.
1) You’re creative
There’s a very strong link between creative thinking and being a deep thinker. And in fact, in many instances, they are effectively one and the same.
It takes deep, profound thought to create new ideas. These ideas can then later be made into a song, a poem, a painting, or a story.
Deep thinking is a way of thinking that is neither fully rational or irrational—one where the mind is free to discover itself, yet grounded enough not to descend into madness.
This is exactly what creative minds do when they create.
So if you’re the kind of person who likes being creative a lot, then you’re most likely a deep thinker, too.
2) You’re a bit absent-minded
A study from the Georgia Institute of Technology says that brain wandering is linked to intelligence. It’s easy to see why.
If you’re a deep thinker, you’ll always be lost in your thoughts. Your brain is always busy imagining scenarios and solving problems big and small.
This makes you de-prioritize your environment (and even everything else in your life).
For instance, it’s not unusual that you forget that you’re cooking something. Or that you have an important meeting to attend.
Don’t beat yourself up for it. Now at least you know these things don’t happen simply because you lack self-discipline, but because your brain is always busy.
3) You’re quite messy
This is related to being absent-minded.
It’s not unusual for your apartment and work desk to be messy.
You’re just not the most organized person you know but also…you’re really just fine if some dishes are left in the sink and your bed is not made. As long as there are no ants and mold, all is good.
You’re probably like this because intelligent people are messier.
You’d really rather be thinking than scrubbin’. You’re just unbothered by what’s going on around you because you’re too focused on what’s in your head.
4) You form your own opinions
Something that frustrates deep thinkers is how so many people are happy to simply accept the opinions of others as gospel without trying to do some thinking of their own.
And if you relate to this sentiment, then you’re most likely a deep thinker.
Perhaps you think people are too quick to mimic opinions they heard in a podcast or in the news. They won’t even do a quick fact check or they won’t even go “hmm, does this make sense?”
Deep thinkers are not afraid to go against the grain and question the things people around them have taken for granted. And this is why they’re often the first ones to come up with new ideas and opinions.
5) You’re sensitive and often anxious
Despite what people usually think of deep thinkers, life as someone who spends a lot of time lost in their own head isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
You’d be especially sensitive to the things people around you say and do.
And while this can make you read the emotions of others around with ease—which, naturally, is always helpful, it can also just as easily make you a bit neurotic.
Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. According to psychologists, deep thinkers are slightly more anxious and depressed on average than most people.
How can you not be anxious when your brain is always thinking of “what ifs” and “what’s the meaning of this”, and a thousand other serious (and not so serious) questions?
6) You’re very open to new ideas
Part of being a deep thinker is constant exposure to new ideas. Not only are you exposed to new ideas from the people around you, your own mind also comes with conclusions of its own every so often.
Not all of these ideas are going to be comfortable. Some of them are even downright terrifying or depressing to even ponder.
Some people can’t bear it and teach themselves to stop thinking so thoroughly, at which point they stop being deep thinkers.
What sets you apart is that, well…you don’t stop thinking too fast.
You can face all these harsh truths you stumble upon and afford the time to consider all of them rather than just reject them off the bat. And this makes you a deep thinker.
7) You find it hard to feel heard
You have ideas that you struggle to communicate.
It’s not because you don’t know how to explain them, but because there’s simply so much context behind those ideas that you know, but the people around you don’t.
From your perspective, it would almost be like teaching a 5th grader mathematics from 7th grade—it can be done, but there’s so much you need to teach first.
This feeling is something plenty of deep thinkers struggle with, and the reason behind it is painful in its simplicity—the people around them haven’t dedicated as much time and thought into thinking as they have.
8) You always feel tired and overwhelmed
According to a study, people who are talented at deep thinking need more time to process and recover.
Thinking is genuinely exhausting. In many cases it can even be more exhausting physical labor. And if your job requires a lot of deep thinking, well…you’ll be drained before sundown.
Deep thinkers simply can’t seem to resist spending an almost inordinate amount of time thinking.
If you’re the kind of person who often needs mental “breaks”, you’re most likely a deep thinker and you need to rest.
You’re putting your brain on overdrive when you should be sitting back and relaxing. If you won’t give your brain what it needs, you’ll end up generally tired, lethargic, and seemingly always in dire need of sleep.
9) You aren’t impressed by status
If you’re the sort of person to think “So what?” when someone brags about how they know someone rich and famous, you’re likely a deep thinker.
Deep thinkers are generally more concerned about what’s going on inside someone to care about things like wealth and status.
They’d rather hang out with an average joe who’s insightful than an unbearably boastful tycoon who just keeps talking about superficial stuff.
With all the thinking that deep thinkers do, it doesn’t take them long to realize that wealth and status aren’t as important as most of us believe them to be.
Sure, they are important, but it doesn’t matter even if someone has wallets as deep as the Marianas trench if they go around acting like a spoiled man-baby.
10) You entertain ideas you don’t believe in
According to a study conducted by Social Psychology Quarterly, the smarter you are, the more open-minded and liberal you become.
That is to say, you have no issues thinking about and trying to understand ideas and beliefs that you don’t believe in (or even despise!).
You can try to understand where those ideas come from and even try to see if they have any merits at all. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them. You just don’t dismiss ideas no matter how “stupid” they may seem.
For example, you might read a story where someone had committed murder and empathize with why the character did that while still believing that murder is not okay.
Perhaps it might even be natural for you to say “just because I’m thinking about it doesn’t mean I believe it!”
But you’ll be surprised how few people can do this. This is a skill that people learn from a lifetime of deep thought.
11) You have tremendous amount of empathy
According to Christian Keysers of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, “When we witness what happens to others, we don’t just activate the visual cortex, we activate our own emotions and sensations as if we felt the same.”
Studies on empathy suggest that since deep thinkers are more exposed to situations through their preoccupations (thinking), they’re more likely to be more empathetic.
You feel the pain of your neighbor who just lost their dog not necessarily because you lost one yourself, but because you’ve deeply thought about loss in many other forms.
And things like the wars that are happening on the other side of the world and the climate crisis that is currently ongoing.
Sure, it might not directly concern you if people are dying or that the planet will become unbearably hot long after you’re dead.
But still you care, and that’s because deep thinkers have empathy, and you’re not afraid to embrace it fully.
Being a deep thinker comes with its own share of troubles, but it’s well worth all of it.
And the funny thing about it is that while people have the impression that people are somehow just “naturally” creative, philosophical, or deep… that’s far from the case.
Sure, some people might have got a head start, but in the end, anyone can be a deep thinker if they simply tried.
Congratulations to you if you walk away from this article assured that you’re a deep thinker.
But if you’re not, don’t worry—you can start by trying to make the traits I’ve described in this article part of your life.
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