Alternative Thinking: What Does It Consist Of?

Alternative thinking allows you to see things from another point of view because it makes the mind more flexible and open to new ideas. It is largely based on the imagination. Let’s find out more in this article.
Alternative thinking: what does it consist of?

Every day of our life we ​​think, and we do it in multiple ways. There are different types of thinking, to alternate depending on the situation and how our mind works. One of these is alternative thinking.

Thinking means forming ideas and representations of reality in our mind, as well as relating some ideas to others.

If we use this type of thinking, or “alternative”, we do nothing but generate new points of view in the face of a problem or a situation, evaluating original alternatives.

What else does alternative thinking involve? How can we improve it? What other kind of thinking is it related to? Let’s go deeper into the topic in this article.

What is alternative thinking?

Alternative thinking is associated with managing thoughts, circumstances and problems from an unusual or uncommon point of view. As a rule, this type of perspective is more positive than other ways of thinking.

It involves managing emotions, feelings and thoughts from another point of view, away from pessimism and close to optimism. It also allows us to effectively tackle the problems of everyday life.

Woman thinking how to make changes simple.

Active and innovative search for solutions

This type of thinking has also been defined in other ways; for example, as the “ability to generate the greatest number of solutions after having formulated or identified the problem”. It therefore implies the formulation of several ideas, which are also innovative.

It is a way of thinking that goes beyond the first thing that comes to mind when faced with a problem. For this reason, positive thinking constructs pictures of possible solutions to our problems and conflicts in the mind, in a more thoughtful way, such as brainstorming.


Alternative thinking is linked to creativity, since it allows us to imagine all the possible solutions to a problem and this process cannot be separated from creativity. In turn, creativity is linked to imagination.

Through tools such as creativity and imagination, we welcome solutions that may appear a little bizarre at first. Alternative thinking does not veto thoughts and ideas, but lets itself be seduced by them, opening the doors of our mind.

How to encourage alternative thinking?

Below we present some strategies for developing alternative thinking.


A very useful technique for fueling alternative thinking is brainstorming. Once you have identified the problem, try to write down all the solutions that come to your mind.

They don’t have to be 100% realistic solutions. Try to get your ideas flowing and write down everything that comes to mind. Then filter the solutions that best suit the situation.

Short and long term solutions

Another way to promote alternative thinking is to consider possible solutions to the problem in the short and long term. You could also include the medium term.

Divide three columns on a piece of paper and name them: short, medium and long term solutions. Even if the problem is short-term, it’s also worth considering what you could do to fix it if it lasts longer.

This little exercise will help you exercise your mind to make it more flexible. In addition, it helps to adapt to new realities should the unexpected arise.

Observe the problem from a distance

Another idea that we encourage you to put into practice for alternative thinking is to try to get away from the problem. Observe it from a distance, as if it were something foreign.

You can try to draw these ideas, to write them … The important thing is to be able to look at the problem from the outside, as something that accompanies you, and not as something that is part of you.

In this way it will be easier to have a perspective of what is happening and to seek other points of view far from the “traditional” one. And this is precisely the mission of alternative thinking: to seek new points of view, usually more positive.

Woman writing on a notebook.

Similarities with lateral thinking

Alternative thinking is very similar to another type of thinking: lateral thinking. Indeed, these two types of thinking can be used in complementary ways and are very useful for formulating imaginative and original ideas before facing problems.

Lateral thinking is an approach that moves away from logical reasoning to go beyond superficial reasoning and all that it implies. Through it, we try to arrive at the solution of a problem in a less direct way.

Like alternative thinking, it harnesses imagination and creativity. It also moves away from the “classic” model, in search of innovative solutions to solve the problem.

Alternative thinking promotes well-being

Alternative thinking is not only useful for solving the practical problems of our daily life. It is also for promoting personal well-being, as it involves using a more positive point of view in dealing with things.

Through optimism, one of the ingredients of alternative thinking, we can improve our mental health. Furthermore, this thought helps us to make the mind more flexible, because it tries to find new points of view, certainly different from the classic one.

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