The (lost?) art of thinking

However unconscious it may be, so much about our mental health relates to the way we think. We have of course just had Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus for the week was stress. Stress is about the way we think, the way we interpret and respond to the world. 

In our stress related training we encourage people to become more aware of the fact and importance of their unconscious thinking patterns and how they may be contributing to, or causing, their stress. Once we can understand this, we can then try to make some of those unconscious thinking patterns conscious, and challenge them, creating more helpful, more realistic thinking patterns in their place. We cannot hope to solve stress problems in a single training session, but we can give people the insight and some of the tools to go away and work on these things in their daily lives, and at the very least take greater ownership of their stress.

One of the problems in our ever more pressured and time poor lives, is that we often do not feel we have time to think and perhaps therein lies an answer to the apparent stress epidemic – we do not have time to think in any conscious, considered way and so are constantly reliant on our unconscious thinking patterns, some of which of course are very helpful, but some of which can be deeply damaging to our wellbeing. In so doing, perhaps we are losing the art of thinking. I regularly refer people to the classic Nancy Kline book Time to Think as a great source of inspiration to individuals, teams and whole organisation on how to create more effective thinking environments.

Nancy Kline also comes up regularly when we talk about listening skills. One of the great listeners of our time, Nancy’s techniques involve little more than creating a safe space and then gently encouraging the person to keep talking, to keep exploring the issue they want to discuss, and through that enabling the person to come to their own understanding and solutions about how to deal with the issue.

It is therefore really exciting to have a budding Time to Think practitioner, Katie Driver, delivering an open session next month on Achieving Better by Thinking More. The session, on 7 June at 9am at our WeWork Moorgate offices, will explore how individuals and firms can improve their capacity to think well. Through expert input, exercises and discussion, participants will learn what supports great thinking as well as what inhibits it. They will come away with practical strategies to make the most of their thinking space in modern work environments, to develop their capacity to think creatively and with less bias, and to draw out great thinking from those around them.

The event will cover:

  • The foundations for good thinking – how to create space in the modern office to think well, and how to build your capacity for better thinking in the long run.
  • How to think more clearly – common biases in individual and collective thinking and how to avoid these in order to create better solutions to client challenges.
  • How to think well with others – how to draw out great thinking from other people, by using positive approaches which get them into the right frame of mind, and by being more aware of the different ways in which people can do their best thinking.

Katie brings a considered and infectious calmness to all she does. It promises to be a fantastic event, and it is free! For more details, see this link.