People who repetitively focus on the consequences and causes of negative moods (known as ruminators) don’t benefit from identifying and disputing negative thoughts (a positive psychology exercise common in cognitive therapy) without the help of a trained therapist, according to a 2010 study from the University of Notre Dame. In fact, this group had dramatically worse symptoms of depression after the exercise compared to ruminators who performed a different cognitive therapy exercise that left out the focus on negative thoughts.
Try this: Disputing negative thoughts with the help of a trained therapist may be more effective for ruminators. Learning a specific skill that helps them tackle their problems may, too. In the Notre Dame study of ruminators, college students who reported they were under stress were helped by exercises in time management and other academic skills.