You might have heard about the value of critical thinking. Unfortunately, being a critical thinker is not something you can be born with. Instead, it is a skill that you must develop and train. For some people, it may even take entire decades to become more self-aware and wiser individuals.
Although reading Socrates’ quotes is an excellent first step to become more critical, it might not be enough to master your problem-solving skills. If you would like to improve your reasoning but do not know how to do it, we are here to help. Here are some ways you should consider. Read on, and learn how to become a critical thinker.
1. Learn how to distinguish emotions from facts
The first step to becoming a more critical thinker is learning how to distinguish facts from emotions. If you are unable to do it, you will be able to perceive all kinds of things as factual data, even if they are not. It can lead to many issues, including unnecessary sadness, anger, and frustration.
The best way to distinguish between facts and emotions is to write them down. Whenever you feel some emotion in the future, jot it down in a notebook. Then, ask yourself whether the feeling was well-founded or not. If it turns out that it wasn’t, you should try your best to let go of it.
2. Learn about cognitive biases
Cognitive biases have been researched for decades, but people still fall into these traps while making important decisions. The reason why cognitive biases exist is that the human brain has limitations. It cannot process everything at once, so it uses shortcuts that we call cognitive biases. These shortcuts help us make important decisions faster, but they also cause us to make mistakes.
Once you learn about the most common cognitive biases, you can start understanding why you might make certain decisions that are not beneficial for you. There are techniques you can use to overcome these biases, so make sure you do your research and learn a thing or two about them.
3. Make sure you live a healthy lifestyle
Your physical health is essential when it comes to critical thinking as well. Many studies have shown that physically active people can think much better than those who are sedentary. There are two reasons why this happens:
Exercising helps you release endorphins in your brain that help you feel better and more self-confident. It also releases a vital hormone called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that helps your brain cells grow and thrive. Your brain becomes much more potent as a result.
Exercising also helps fight depression and other mental illnesses. People who are mentally ill often have a more challenging time making rational choices and analyzing their own behavior. It is one of the main reasons why they need exercise more than others.
4. Try to be aware of your body language and facial expressions
Many people never consider their body language while reasoning or talking with other people. As a result, they can unknowingly give away the fact that they are lying or hiding something. If someone smiles while talking about something sad, this might indicate that they are lying or hiding something. The same goes for a person with a closed posture when standing in a group of people.
If you feel like your body language might reveal some information that you do not want other people to know, try practicing mindfulness exercises like meditation or yoga. These practices will help you become more aware of your body and how it communicates with others.
5. Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and meditation have been studied for many decades because of their numerous health benefits, such as reduced anxiety levels, better concentration skills, and an increased sense of control over one’s own body and mind. People who practice these techniques often live longer because they develop more self-control and discipline in their lives. If you practice mindfulness regularly, you will notice that it will improve your critical thinking skills as well.
That’s because mindfulness requires excellent critical thinking skills if you want to remain focused on what’s happening in the present moment and avoid getting distracted by random thoughts from the past or the future.
Meditation also involves concentration and focus on one’s breath or various inner sensations, which is also an essential component of critical thinking skills. In fact, research shows that meditation can significantly improve our ability to concentrate on the things that matter most, which includes reasoning and critical thinking skills as well!
In this article, we shared five ways to become a more critical thinker. We believe that this is an important skill that everyone should develop because it can help us make better decisions in life.
The best way to improve your critical thinking skills is to practice mindfulness and meditation regularly, learn about cognitive biases, distinguish between facts and emotions, learn how to be more self-aware of your body language and facial expressions, maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn how to solve problems by being creative.
As you can see, you do not have to go through years of schooling or training to become a more critical thinker. You just need to do a bit of learning and practicing to reap the rewards!