Here are a few other ways to change your beliefs and negative mindset –
- Be aware of your negative tendencies
- Build new habits
- Start journaling & writing down your thoughts
- Be intentional about doing things that you love and enjoy
- Set a separate time from rumination & replace negative thoughts
- Practice gratitude
- Learn to enjoy solitude and love yourself
- Deliberately engage in positive self-talk & practice positive affirmations
- Focus on the positive aspects of life
- Socialize more often and spend time with optimistic people
- Do nice things for others or help people in need
3. Take small steps
Figure out ways to let go of your rigid thoughts, be more relaxed and open to new ideas and perspectives. However, it is crucial that you set realistic, attainable, and small goals that you can accomplish in a short period of time. Establish multiple concrete and specific goals that lead to larger life goals. Take measured and small steps in achieving these goals and celebrate every small victory.
4. Mindfulness meditation
Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you become aware of your thoughts and emotions in a non-judgmental way and calm your mind. Studies show that with practice, you can gain control over your automatic and intrusive thoughts over time which can help you to manage rigid thinking, blame and rumination. One 2009 study has found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques, like meditation, helps to increase mindfulness and overall well-being while decreasing rumination and symptoms of depression.
5. Distract yourself
Find distracting things, topics or activities to engage in to disrupt your negative thought patterns and rumination. One 2009 study has found that suppression is an unsustainable & counterproductive strategy for dealing with intrusive, unwanted thoughts, while focused distraction is a “more effective technique” for managing such thought patterns. When you find yourself enslaved by intrusive thoughts, intentionally think about some complex and interesting topics or ideas. You may also try out some engaging and challenging activities, like solving puzzles or a Rubik’s cube to get some relief.
6. Seek medical help
If you believe that your rigid thinking patterns and rumination is beyond your control and if you are experiencing signs of severe anxiety, depression, OCD or schizophrenia, then make sure to visit a mental health professional immediately. Talking to a therapist can help you get equipped with the necessary tools required to alleviate symptoms and develop healthier beliefs, ideals, and thought patterns. Recent research shows rumination-focused cognitive behavior therapy (RFCBT) helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety & depression, increases behavioral activation, and improves overall functioning. In case you are dealing with ruminating thoughts about self-harm or suicide, then seek medical help immediately.
Apart from the above-mentioned strategies, here are some other simple and effective ways you can overcome rigid thinking, blame & rumination –
- Learn to let go of thoughts and ideas that don’t serve you
- Avoid being a perfectionist
- Spend more time in nature and get some exposure to the sun
- Engage in regular physical activity or exercise
- Try hypnosis or hypnotherapy
- Identify your strengths and abilities
- Boost your self-esteem
- Learn stress management techniques
- Avoid negative self-talk, self-criticism, self-blame and self-defeating thoughts
- Engage in creative activities like writing, painting etc
- Accept life as a balance of challenges and opportunities
Overcome negative thought patterns
If you are suffering due to intrusive and uncontrollable rigid thoughts and rumination, then the above-mentioned strategies can prove beneficial in overcoming such tendencies and patterns. Although you need to be intentional about your efforts and be aware of your thought patterns, it can help you deal with negative thoughts, anxiety, & depression. It can also empower you to develop optimism, openness, and more flexible thinking to live a happier, more positive life.