Deep-thinking introverts need to take a break—or a run—sometimes to clear our heads.

Deep Thinking—Embrace It, Fellow Introvert, but Don’t Chase It

Deep-thinking introverts are drawn to, well, thinking! But sometimes you need to do something else so that your brain can rest up to think more clearly.

Half an hour ago, I left the house to go on a run, in search of the evasive blog post topic that had been sticking its tongue out at me for much of the morning.

Unfortunately, all I could think of at first was the runner’s high.

I have yet to experience the runner’s high. I’ve experienced the runner’s “why oh why?” and the runner’s “I’m going to cry” and the runner’s “I think I’m going to die.” But never the runner’s high—not yet, at least.

For me, though, running has become one of the psychological, emotional, and even spiritual tools I can harness to clarify the deep thinking I’m so prone to as an introvert.

It’s an intentional activity I can count on to come through for me when my thoughts just aren’t coming through quite right. There’s something about the change of scenery and the physicality that cleanses the mental mess every time and sets the stage for answers.

Don’t Let Thinking Turn into Obsessing

That’s exactly what happened just now. For at the very end of my run, when I, ahem, kicked it down to the finish, it occurred to me:

“I think I’ll write about thinking <pant, gasp>. Especially since thinking and reflection <huff, puff> are such an important part <cough, spit> of every introvert’s existence and well-being.”

It’s too easy for us deep-thinking introverts to fight ourselves when it comes to how we do our thinking.

We don’t fight thinking per se; I’m not sure we’re capable of that. But we’re susceptible to digging our heels in and bullishly thinking about something, without moving, for hours even when the only result is muck.

It’s our equivalent of stubbornly holding our breath until we turn blue in the face, just to prove we can.

We don’t need to change our propensity to think deeply. That’s something for us to embrace, not face.

Sometimes, though, we need to intentionally change when we’re thinking, or where, or even what we’re thinking about and how.

Deep-Thinking Introverts Need Breaks

We might need to table something for an hour, do something completely different, perhaps even bring someone else into our thinking instead of going it alone.

We need to do something to give ourselves the temporary Control-Alt-Delete we need to clear the psychological air and begin anew.

Whenever I’m stuck on a clue in The New York Times Sunday crossword, I walk away for a while. Inevitably, when I return to the clue a few hours later, the answer comes to me. Not because I gave up on thinking about it but because I gave up on the way I was thinking about it.

Sometimes, we have to walk away for a while in the rest of life too.

Or in my case run—trusting that the runner’s high will show up in the form of …

A blog post topic.

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