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Jeyn

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Since college was out two months ago, I've had a lot more time on my hands. I'm not a very active person...at all, but I've been utterly exhausted for the past few weeks. And I'm not depressed or antyhing of the sort. I'm usually quite neutral emotionally. I was reading Peck's "The Road Less Travelled", and he mentioned in one of his sessions with a patient that she should try to focus more on the situations she's in and think through her actions beforehand, etc. And she replied in astonishment at such a suggestion, complaining that it would be exhausting to be thinking all the time.

Well, that really shocked me, because I'm constantly thinking. I'm always "on", and unlike this woman, I can't fathom NOT thinking all the time. And I mean thinking with concentration. I analyze everything that comes my way(which is probably why I'm such an introvert: I'm terribly sensitive to stimuli). So, my question is if this constant concentration on one thing or another is "normal" or not. What percentage of the day, on average, is a person consciously thinking? And if I do "think too much", can it be contributing to my unexplained exhaustion like a work-burnout?
 

Banned

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Hi Jeyn,

I think there are different kinds of "constant thinking". For example, air traffic controllers burn out very quickly and take breaks every 90 minutes or so, because they are constantly thinking in a high-stress situation where there is no room for error. On the other hand, when I'm at work, I'm constantly thinking, but depending what I'm doing, it may or may not be making me tired. The harder I think, the more exhausted I am after and the sooner I need a break.

Studies have shown that those of us who are thinkers - we keep our brains stimulated on a pretty constant basis - are less likely to develop diseases such as Alzheimers. Like you, I can't fathom not thinking on a regular basis.

Some people are doers - they are like trained monkeys and are happy to go through the motions of everything and not have to think about what they are doing.

I'm a thinker - sounds like you are too!
 

Daniel

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Regarding exhaustion and concentration, it may help to do more physical exercise:

The brain needs huge amounts of energy. Imaging tests confirm that workouts flood the brain with blood and oxygen. Exercise also increases activity in the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in complex reasoning and attention.

"Jog Your Brain," Psychology Today
 

foghlaim

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hello Jeyn and welcome to the forum.

So, my question is if this constant concentration on one thing or another is "normal" or not. What percentage of the day, on average, is a person consciously thinking? And if I do "think too much", can it be contributing to my unexplained exhaustion like a work-burnout?
you have 3 questions here.
q1: constant concentration, it may be normal for some ppl and not for others as daniel and bg have pointed out.
q2: what % of the day etc etc.. I don't really know, i think most ppl are thinking all the time but maybe not as deeply or analitical of every thought as you are.
q3. yes. i believe deep concentration all the time is exhausting, and if the brain is not rested at some point, it could lead to a burn out.

these are just my thoughts on your Questions ok.
others here may have other answers for you, diff opinions ok

thank you for posting :)

nsa
 

Daniel

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I think the points about rest are good ones. In our society, rest isn't valued much even though lack of sleep/rest often leads to inefficient work styles, not to mention car accidents. For example, a lot of people that supposedly work 40 hours a week only do 13 hours of work. So it's best to take a clue from the air-traffic controllers and have some quality chill time.

Since college was out two months ago, I've had a lot more time on my hands.
I don't know about you, but I think best under pressure. So, if I was out of college and didn't have to work much, my brain would be taking a vacation, especially if it spent the last 4+ years with college. Maybe your brain is in summer mode?
 

Jeyn

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Daniel said:
Since college was out two months ago, I've had a lot more time on my hands.
I don't know about you, but I think best under pressure. So, if I was out of college and didn't have to work much, my brain would be taking a vacation, especially if it spent the last 4+ years with college. Maybe your brain is in summer mode?

Actually, sort of the opposite is happening with me I think. During semesters that I'm at college, I'm actually distracted from thinking, rather than being under pressure to concentrate a lot. I know that sounds wierd, but I don't need to focus very much to learn; As long as I sit through lectures, I absorb the material well. So what I mean is that during semesters I'm at school, I spend a lot of time going to classes and working, which to me are distractions from thinking rather than the opposite. So now during the summer, I have no distractions, and I end up going into my own little world of thought for hours on end, and then I feel lethargic and sleepy for hours afterward until I get sleep.

Bg mentioned that such exhaustive concentration could help prevent Alzheimer's, but before I posted, I had a concern that it might actually be a catalyst for some neural diseases. Any input would be appreciated!
 

ThatLady

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I'd think a lot would depend on what you're thinking about, Jeyn. Mental exercise, like physical exercise, is good for you. However, dwelling on unpleasant subjects is not.
 

Halo

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I agree with TL. I think that a lot would depend on what subjects you are focussing on. Also something that struck me from your post was the following:

So now during the summer, I have no distractions, and I end up going into my own little world of thought for hours on end, and then I feel lethargic and sleepy for hours afterward until I get sleep.

Are you going into your own little world because you want to think for hours on end? I guess what I am trying to say is
whether you anticipate the end of school and finally being able to be alone with no distractions and therefore alone with your thoughts. TL said it best, I think that it all depends on what the thoughts are? Are they from the past, future, pleasant, unpleasant?

These are just questions and things that popped into my mind while reading your post and thought that I would throw them out there.

Take Care
 

Jeyn

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The thoughts aren't particularly pleasant or unpleasant. They are mostly just reflections about something that happened to me recently, something that I had read, etc. I wouldn't call them "abnormal" thoughts; they aren't threatening or excessively repetitive. Some are about the future and are "what if" scenarios, but those are normal I think.
 

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