We’ve all been there; you experience a relationship breakup, fall out with a friend, or relocate – but no matter how hard you try, you can’t get a certain someone out of your head. Learning how to stop thinking about someone isn’t easy, but with a few practical tips, let’s look at what you can do to take back control of your thoughts.
First up, there is a big difference between lingering memories of the good times with an ex-partner and being obsessive to the point where it impacts your mental and physical health.
If you find that you are suffering, and these tips don’t help, it is never a bad idea to have a chat with someone who’s been there.
Should you still find it impossible to get on with your daily life, perhaps consider seeking some counseling. Talking therapy can help you get to the bottom of the block you’ve put up in your head, to find some healthy coping mechanisms to restore balance.
How to Stop Thinking about Someone?
1. Break the Silence and Address Your Intrusive Thoughts
In some cases, you can’t stop thinking about someone because of unrequited feelings. This scenario can affect anybody at any stage of life. Don’t dismiss your emotions as those of a love-struck teenager – your feelings matter!
Dr. Carl Pickhart, Ph.D., explains that counselors often encourage materializing those thoughts and communicating your feelings with the person who is occupying your mind.
Once your imaginary relationship hits the cold hard light of day, you might find yourself not feeling quite so enamored or might have planted the seeds for an idyllic relationship to blossom!
Stop torturing yourself, and speak up.
Whether you can’t stop thinking about someone you’ve just met, an ex, a colleague – whoever it is, if you address that obsessive thought pattern and see how it works out in reality, you’re taking proactive steps to resolve your thoughts.
2. Quantify What Outcomes You are Searching For
Do you really love this person and believe that it’s impossible to replace them? Or are you fantasizing about an unrealistic dream of what might have been?
Getting to grips with this isn’t always easy, but try writing down what you can’t stop thinking about and what it is that you hope will happen.
- Do you want to get over this person?
- Is the emotion strong enough that you’d consider changing your life around them?
- Can you see any alternative future where you’d be happy without them?
- Write down the lists of your thoughts, and compare that with authentic accounts of the reasons behind your distance.
Human nature means that we try to see things through rose-tinted glasses. However, if a relationship has broken down, there is always a reason for it!
Even if a partner has left you, and you feel lost without them, search for the warning signs that the partnership wasn’t entirely on track. Think about whether you could change things to make a fresh start or whether your obsessing isn’t quite aligned with the situation’s reality.
Nobody is as cool, gorgeous, or as fabulous as our minds make them out to be – don’t let your mind play tricks on you!
3. STOP Social Media Stalking!
In this digital era, it is far too easy to stay in contact with somebody, if only from a distance. You probably follow each other on Insta or Snapchat, are mutual Facebook friends, have a history of messages in What’s App back from the good old days.
If you are committed to moving on, this isn’t just about avoiding bumping into them or happening across photos of your ex with their new lover. It is about setting a firm precedent in your mind that the time has come to let go.
- Unfollow, block, or remove yourself from their social media feeds.
- Delete old message threads and photos.
- Remove their number from your phone (don’t leave any temptation to drunk dial, it always ends in disaster!).
- Never intentionally go somewhere you know they will be.
Trust me; once you do these things, a weight is lifted off of your shoulders.
You will feel freer and less anxious about the likelihood of encountering someone you can’t stop thinking about.
Although feelings can take much more time to work through, by acting with purpose and intent, you permit yourself to move on.
4. Keep Busy
Yes, it’s a cliché – but also one that rings true. If your mind is revolving around in circles and you need to learn how to stop thinking about someone, you need to give yourself something different to focus on.
Sitting around the house, watching your favorite movies, or revisiting happy memories can create a downward spiral into depression.
While I don’t believe you can just ‘snap out of it’ (and don’t think such a thing exists!), you can reprogram your thoughts to make space for new possibilities.
- Meet up with friends, reconnect with family members, or try a new class or activity.
- Let your social circle know you’re struggling with a breakup, and your friends will be there to keep your mind and body active!
- Try something completely new; be it a trip, an event, a hobby – anything fresh will stimulate new thought processes that diminish your subconscious focus on ‘them’.
Taking some time for yourself with a vacation or short break will do wonders for your spirit, and if you can’t stop thinking about someone, visiting somewhere with no associated memories gives you a chance to break free.
5. Fake It Till You Make It
Another tip that sounds easier than it is. But if you make an effort to brighten up your day, take part in things that make you smile, and put on your favorite outfit, you are refusing to resign yourself to staying in a slump.
Smiling is infectious (it really is, Scientific American researched how displaying emotions can impact your actual mood!) – and it’s another way to play a little trick on your brain.
If you tell yourself you’re sad, you feel sad. If you tell yourself you’re going to feel better today, you will.
There isn’t a magic wand or a way to instantly banish your thoughts when you can’t stop thinking about someone. But put on your best clothes, do something you love, and make time for self-care, and the world will feel a brighter place to be.