Why you should scrunch your face when you think

By Charles Sutton on September 27, 2015

An important skill in any type of creative work is to observe and reflect on your own habits of thought and discover a way of working that suits them. A simple example is the old advice to notice the time of day when you have the most energy, and reserve that time for the most creative aspects of your work. But there are many more examples of this, if you look for them. It helps to be a bit self absorbed.

One habit that I’ve just recently reflected on is that sometimes I close my eyes and scrunch my face into an “I’m thinking hard” face when I’m trying to think hard. In some sense this is an affectation. But I like to think that the goal is more noble, to harness the cognitive dissonance that would result if I make the scrunchy face without thinking hard. To escape this dissonance, the only option for my subconscious is to actually start thinking hard. It feels like this helps, at least sometimes, but I haven’t kept careful records. And at least everyone else can see how hard I’m thinking.