Higher level thoughts and lower level thoughts refer to different levels of thinking processes that influence our perception, decision-making, and overall mindset. Understanding the power of higher level thoughts versus lower level thoughts can have a significant impact on our emotional well-being and personal growth.

Higher Level Thoughts vs Lower Level Thoughts

Lower level thoughts, often associated with the reptilian brain or the primitive part of our brain, are driven by instinct, survival, and immediate gratification. These thoughts are reactive, impulsive, and often centered around basic needs such as safety, food, and shelter. Lower level thoughts can be fear-based, judgmental, and focused on short-term gains without considering long-term consequences.

On the other hand, higher level thoughts are associated with the prefrontal cortex, the more evolved part of our brain responsible for complex reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Higher level thoughts involve conscious awareness, introspection, and critical thinking. They are characterized by empathy, compassion, long-term planning, and a broader perspective on life.

Higher Level Thoughts: Elevate our Thinking

The power of higher level thoughts lies in their ability to elevate our thinking, behavior, and overall well-being. Here are a few reasons why higher level thoughts hold significance:

  1. Emotional Regulation: Higher level thoughts allow us to regulate our emotions more effectively. By engaging in introspection and self-reflection, we can identify our triggers, reframe negative situations, and respond to challenges with more clarity and resilience.
  2. Long-Term Goals: Higher level thoughts enable us to set and pursue long-term goals. They help us define our aspirations, create action plans, and make choices that align with our values and vision. By considering the bigger picture, we can make decisions that lead to personal growth and fulfillment.
  3. Empathy and Connection: Higher level thoughts promote empathy and connection with others. By understanding different perspectives, practicing active listening, and being open-minded, we can foster healthier relationships, resolve conflicts constructively, and contribute positively to our communities.
  4. Self-Reflection and Growth: Higher level thoughts encourage self-reflection and continuous personal growth. By critically examining our beliefs, biases, and behaviors, we can challenge ourselves to learn, evolve, and become the best versions of ourselves. This self-awareness leads to personal development and increased self-confidence.
  5. Problem-Solving and Creativity: Higher level thoughts enhance our problem-solving abilities and creativity. By approaching challenges from multiple angles, considering various solutions, and thinking outside the box, we can overcome obstacles, find innovative solutions, and make better-informed decisions.

Lower Level Thoughts: Instinct and Survival

While lower level thoughts are important for immediate survival and instinctual reactions, consciously engaging in higher level thoughts empowers us to transcend limitations, broaden our perspective, and live a more intentional and fulfilling life. By cultivating higher level thoughts, we can navigate challenges with wisdom, empathy, and resilience, leading to personal growth, enhanced relationships, and overall well-being.

Higher Level Thoughts and Lower Level Thoughts In Real Life

Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference between higher level thoughts and lower level thoughts:

  1. Example of Lower Level Thought:
    Lower level thought: “I’m so angry at my friend for canceling our plans last minute. They always do this to me. I can’t trust them anymore.”

In this example, the lower level thought is driven by immediate emotions of anger and disappointment. It focuses on personal frustration and casts judgment on the friend without considering potential underlying reasons for the cancellation or exploring alternatives.

  1. Example of Higher Level Thought:
    Higher level thought: “I feel disappointed that our plans got canceled, but I understand that unexpected circumstances can arise. I will reach out to my friend to understand what happened and express how I felt. Open communication can help us find a solution or prevent similar situations in the future.”

This higher level thought demonstrates emotional regulation and empathy. It acknowledges personal feelings but also recognizes the value of open communication and understanding. It focuses on problem-solving and maintaining a healthy relationship with the friend.

  1. Example of Lower Level Thought:
    Lower level thought: “I’m so stressed and overwhelmed with work. I just want to escape and ignore my responsibilities. I’ll procrastinate and do something fun instead.”

This lower level thought reflects an immediate desire for relief from stress without considering the long-term consequences. It prioritizes short-term gratification and avoidance of responsibilities.

  1. Example of Higher Level Thought:
    Higher level thought: “I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but I understand the importance of completing my tasks. I will take a break, practice self-care, and then create a plan to tackle my workload systematically. Breaking it down into manageable steps and seeking support if needed will help me overcome this challenge.”

This higher level thought demonstrates self-awareness, long-term thinking, and problem-solving. It acknowledges the stress but focuses on proactive strategies to address the situation effectively and responsibly.

The Bottom Line

By recognizing the distinction between lower level thoughts and higher level thoughts, we can consciously choose to engage in higher level thinking processes that empower us to make wiser decisions, foster personal growth, and cultivate healthier relationships with ourselves and others.