How things “should be”, used to be deeply ingrained in my mind. How relationships should be, how others should act, what a man should do if he really loves you, how I should be as a friend and how friends must be to each other, how a daughter and mother should be, how a family must be like, and how people should this and must that. There were a lot of “should as musts”. And if this was not enough, I also used to guess all the expectations people might have of me. More pressure!
The result often was disappointment, sadness, guilt, not feeling good enough, thinking others don’t care, I am not good enough to do what must and should be, and it is a very dark spiral to go down to, full of self-judgement. I am grateful that there was a moment when I discovered that it was possible to look at the world from different lenses, which creates a quiet & peaceful mind and a happier life.
There are many factors that contribute to mental health, and mindset is just one of them. However, research indicates that having a flexible mindset is a key predictor of mental health. People with flexible mindsets are more likely to be resilient in the face of adversity and to have better mental health overall. On the other hand, people with rigid mindsets are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Rigid thinking can also make it difficult to cope with stress and adversity.
If you want to improve your mental health, it’s important to develop a more flexible mindset. There are a number of ways to do this, but mindfulness is one of the most effective. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can also help you learn to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, which can lead to a more flexible mindset.
Accepting change and uncertainty is another way to develop a flexible mind. Change is inevitable. It is happening all around us, all the time. And yet, so many of us resist change, because it can be scary and uncertain. But what if we embrace change instead? What if we learn to accept that things are always in flux, and that this is okay?
When we accept change and uncertainty, we are actually developing a more flexible mind. We are learning to go with the flow and to be okay with not knowing what is going to happen next. Trusting yourself and your abilities is a key element here. This can help reduce negative emotions because we are not fighting against the change that is happening. Instead, we are simply allowing it to happen, and trusting that everything will work out in the end.
One way to become more flexible in our thinking is to practice mental contrasting. This involves picturing a goal we want to achieve and then imagining the obstacles that might stand in our way. By doing this, we can develop a plan to overcome those obstacles.
Another way to increase flexibility in our thinking is to broaden and build. This means looking for opportunities to try new things and expand our horizons. When we do this, we not only increase our flexibility, but also our resilience and ability to cope with stress.
Shifting your perspective is also a powerful tool to improve flexible thinking. Humans are creatures of habit. We often get stuck in our ways of thinking and find it difficult to see things from another perspective. This can lead to rigidity in our thinking, and make us resistant to change.
Shifting perspectives is a powerful tool that can help us break out of this rut. It involves looking at an event, situation, or problem from a different angle. This can help us see things in a new light and find new solutions that we may not have considered before.
Perspective shifting is also a key component of creativity. It allows us to come up with original ideas and see the world in new ways. This makes it an essential skill for anyone who wants to be innovative and think outside the box.
There are many ways to shift perspectives. One way is to imagine how someone else would see the situation. Another is to look at it from a completely different angle, such as from an animal’s perspective or from the perspective of someone in the future. Try perspective shifting the next time you’re faced with a difficult problem. It may just help you find a new solution that you never would have thought of before.
So, the next time you find yourself getting stuck in a negative thought pattern, try to take a step back and examine the situation from different angles. Practice flexible thinking, and you’ll be on your way to a more positive outlook on life.
Check the statements that are true to you and use this guide to determine if you are a rigid or flexible thinker:
1. You often get upset when plans change unexpectedly.
2. You consider yourself to be creative.
3. You change your mind a lot.
4. You think there is usually one right way to do things.
5. You can easily come up with multiple solutions to difficult problems.
6. Some people might describe you as stubborn.
7. You find it easy to put yourself in the shoes of someone else.
Questions 2, 3, 5 and 7 are associated with more flexible thinking. If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are a more flexible thinker. Questions 1, 4 and 6 are associated with more rigid thinking.
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