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One-Track Mind: How to Break Out of the Single-Thought Mindset and Open Your Mind



Do you have what is sometimes called a “one-track mind”? The expression implies that you can only think about one thing at a time, or that you always have only one thing on your mind. This can wear you out, and close you off to a lot of learning opportunities and limit your interpersonal relationships.

How can you open your mind? Here are some ideas for how to break out of the single-thought mindset.

1. Give Ideas a Chance

Those with a one-track mind tend to write off ideas before they’ve really heard them. Keep your inner critic quiet and really listen to people, even if you think you disagree right off the bat.

2. Let Some Things Go and Get Some Things Done

A one-track mind is sometimes an overwhelmed mind. Your mind may feel “too full” to take on anything new or different. Make lists, talk things out, write in a journal, or otherwise get the things you’re holding in your mind out so they won’t take up so much mental space anymore.

Maybe you need to make a phone call, resolve a situation, write a note, or something else; but the longer you think about the thing without taking action, the more brain space it takes up. Get some of those things done and set your mind at ease.

3. Be Quiet

There’s nothing like silence to bring you back from distractions! Taking some time to be completely quiet without television, electronics, music, or even conversation has a way of opening up your mind. The “one track” that your mind is on may be something like a rut – it’s just a groove your mind has worn. Taking some quiet time helps dislodge your thoughts from that groove.

4. Challenge Yourself

Whether it’s physical or mental, “stretching” yourself a bit with challenges can break you out of single-minded thought patterns. Try a new sport, activity, or hobby. Maybe you could try a really challenging workout. It may be something small, like taking a walk in a new neighborhood or volunteering to help someone you’ve never helped before.

5. Pray or Meditate

One of the ironies of prayer and meditation is that they focus your mind – this sounds like the opposite of an opened mind. But actually, prayer and meditation help you learn to focus your mind deliberately, and not just be a “slave” to repetitive thoughts. Learning how to practice one or both of these things may be a big help in breaking your one-track mind habit.

It’s hard to know just what, exactly, will break you out of your singular mindset. Try a few of the above suggestions, or come up with some ideas of your own. Hopefully, you will find yourself breaking free from your mental rut.

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