If thinking were an Olympic sport, I’m sure I’d be in with a chance of a medal.
And believe me, I’m certainly not bragging here.
In fact, there have been plenty of occasions I wish my deep thinking came with an off switch.
I suspect every deep thinker can relate to the chattering voice that on occasion they wished would just shut up.
But the truth is that I also love my ability to think deeply.
Not only do I think it makes me a more interesting person, but it also brings a richness to life that I wouldn’t want to be without.
Maybe you can relate?
If you’re a deep thinker, there are most likely certain signs that you recognize all too well.
1) You’re highly self-aware
It probably comes as no surprise. When you spend so much time in your own head, you tend to get to grips with what makes you tick.
Deep thinkers are reflective.
They are naturally analytical and so they spent time considering their strengths and weaknesses too.
When you have a habit of self-reflection, it means you have high intrapersonal intelligence.
You take the time to think about your thought processes and your feelings. And this introspection builds your self-knowledge.
To me, self-awareness is the greatest gift to arise from deep thinking. Because it brings us the potential for change.
Only when we get to know ourselves can we honestly evaluate ourselves, our lives, and the world we live in.
2) You’re incredibly observant about the world around you
Deep thinkers are tapped into the subtleties of life.
So they can observe the most minute of details.
Basically, they’re not only good at reading themselves, but they’re also good at reading the room in general.
This can give deep thinkers the gift of social awareness. Because with depth often comes heightened perception.
You may notice that you’re a good judge of character and can suss people out quickly. You can probably pick up on someone else’s energy or intentions.
What you’re actually doing is reading the little signs that maybe other people miss.
Deep thinkers can be detail orientated because they have a habit of closely studying.
3) You have introverted tendencies
First off, can we please do away with the myth that introverts are shy or even quiet.
Sure, some are. But plenty of others are not.
For years I let people tell me I was an extrovert, just because I am a natural communicator, have lots of opinions, and I’m far from timid.
But they were so wrong.
Because rather than be a personality type, introversion is so much more.
Introverts’ brains are wired differently.
Research has found we process stimuli differently and have longer neural pathways.
So it can be more complicated and take longer for our brains to process interactions.
That’s why we need plenty of alone time to recharge, and why we find it stimulating enough simply to be alone in our thoughts.
But what has this all got to do with deep thinkers?
Deep thinkers are often introverts because the very definition of introversion is that your energy tends to be more focused on your own inner world.
So there is often a big cross-over between introversion and deep thinking.
What are introvert tendencies?
We’re talking about things like:
- Preferring to mix in smaller groups
- Enjoying time alone
- Preferring deep conversations to shallow small talk
- Noticing your energy is zapped after socializing
- Finding it hard to concentrate in noisy environments
4) You’re not just a deep thinker, sometimes you’re an overthinker
There are always two sides to every coin.
As a deep thinker myself I wholeheartedly believe its strengths outweigh its burden.
But I won’t pretend it doesn’t have its downsides at times.
Personally, my habit of deep thinking needs to be reined in sometimes.
Otherwise, I can fall into stress, low-level anxiety and unnecessary worry. My mind quickly spills over into hypervigilance and over-planning.
The reality is that thinking is hard to simply switch off.
So deep thinking can turn into overthinking or even rumination.
I overwhelm and flood my brain contemplating or trying to preempt. And like an overheating laptop, that stops your brain from functioning properly.
Meditation, breathwork, yoga, journaling, and exercise have become vital tools in my belt to nip overthinking in the bud and give my active brain a rest.
5) You like alone time, but too much can be bad for you
Introverts and deep thinkers often have a natural tendency to enjoy being alone.
It gives them time to contemplate their feelings and thoughts. After all, deep thinking isn’t a group activity.
But when you’re a really deep thinker, you might find that too much time alone can be bad for your mental health too.
Because as we’ve seen, deep thinking can slip into overthinking. And you’re more likely to do this when you have a lot of time on your hands.
Deep thinkers are often perfectly happy to do very little.
It’s not that they’re boring, quite the opposite. Researchers have even found this is a sign of intelligence.
They don’t need to be constantly doing something to feel stimulated. Their thoughts provide them with plenty of stimulation.
But just like the yin and yang of life, balancing this with staying active can be important to our well-being.
That way, we don’t get too lost in thought.
Moving our bodies, getting lost in activities and the company of other people can pull us back into the present.
6) You’re skilled at seeing different sides to things
Deep thinkers tend not to see the world in black and white. They see all the nuanced shades of grey in between.
You might be naturally good at playing devil’s advocate.
You aren’t hasty in drawing conclusions.
You prefer to contemplate the deeper implications of something before making a decision.
This is a great skill to have in life. It ultimately promotes open-mindedness.
Not only that but it encourages empathy.
When we make an effort to understand and contemplate where other people are coming from, it’s easier to connect with them.
7) You can talk yourself around in circles when making a decision
The flip side of seeing life from different angles can be indecisiveness.
When you recognize life isn’t so simple, you spend a lot of time analyzing and contemplating your options.
In many circumstances, this is wise. As the saying goes, only fools rush in.
So the ability to break things down and contemplate them logically can be handy.
Unfortunately in other situations, thinking ourselves around in circles probably does little good.
For example, research has suggested for really complicated decisions, going with your gut can be a much better strategy.
That’s because intuition is far more logical than we often give it credit for.
It’s not emotional or impulsive. It’s actually our unconscious that’s at work.
In an instant, it’s accessed a vast warehouse of information and experiences that are neatly (yet silently) stored away in the back of our brains.
It then presents this to you with a gut feeling about something.
And studies have found it can be a really effective way to make decisions, instead of getting stuck in contemplation and uncertainty.
8) You always want to know ‘why?’
Curiosity is the great fuel that feeds a deep thinker’s mind.
It’s a bit like the child who is forever asking “but why?”
Your thirst for knowledge can feel insatiable. You just love to figure things out.
There is always another layer to unpeel. There is always another mystery in life to uncover.
You most likely find learning fascinating, regardless of the subject.
Because it’s the newness of the information or perspective that interests you more than the topic itself.
Everything you learn offers you more ideas and thoughts to contemplate.
Deep thinkers very rarely take things at face value. They have inquisitive natures that can’t help but delve further below the surface.
‘Why’ isn’t merely a question you ask, it’s a state of mind you adopt.
And that state of mind is one of discovery and curiosity.
9) You can be deeply sensitive
At the end of the day, our thoughts power our emotions.
So it’s very little surprise that deep thinking often leads to deep feeling too.
Deep thinkers are excellent at uncovering a richness to life. They go deeper in every sense, and that means on an emotional level too.
You’re also highly tuned in to other people, and you’re extremely conscious of your environment and surroundings.
So in many ways, you have a natural antenna that’s going to pick up on a lot.
They say that ignorance is bliss because it shields you from so many things.
But as a deep thinker, you don’t (in fact, you cannot) hide. Instead, you face and contemplate all the many facets of life.
Sensitivity is your superpower, and yes, at times your cross to bear as well.