Can’t get one person in particular off your mind? We’ve all been there. It’s not easy to control your thoughts, but you can take steps to begin to free yourself from your obsession when a person is living rent-free in your mind. Here’s how to stop thinking about someone and reclaim your sanity once and for all.
- Keep yourself busy. If you can’t stop thinking about someone, it’s important to stop giving yourself the opportunity to fixate on them! Try to keep yourself busy as much as possible. If you can, find an activity that you can emotionally invest in. After all, there’s not much point if your mind will keep drifting back to that person while you’re supposed to be doing something else. Enlist the help of friends and family whom you love spending time with. Tick off a few things from your bucket list. Learn a new skill. Go out to new restaurants. Even doing household chores can help you to keep your mind off someone you don’t want to think about, as long as you set yourself goals and work towards them.
- Try meditating. Meditating is the process of completely clearing your mind. This is one of the best ways to stop thinking about someone but can be difficult to do until you get the hang of it. Start by sitting in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Focus on your breathing and start counting your breaths. Every time your thoughts stray from counting, begin at number one again. Do this for between five and 10 minutes and see how much more calm and in control you feel.
- Be present. Similar to meditating, mindfulness involves being completely present rather than letting your thoughts take you on a joyride. No matter what you’re doing, be present in that activity. If you’re having dinner, focus on your food or the people you’re eating with. If you’re watching a movie, watch that movie without scrolling on your phone. Try to focus your thoughts on whatever you’re doing. A good tip is to concentrate on all the senses as they experience the activity. For example, when eating breakfast, think about what the food looks like, tastes like, smells like, feels like in your hands or on your tongue, and sounds like as you eat it.
- Accept your thoughts. This may sound counterproductive if you want to know how to stop thinking about someone. But one of the best ways to regain your sanity when this happens is actually accepting the thoughts that come to you. Don’t fight them, wrestle with them, or get angry with yourself for thinking about that person again. Hey, you’re only human! Instead, try to notice the thoughts without judgment. Make a note of it every time your mind drifts to that person. And when you get used to that, you can slowly start replacing those thoughts with more positive, useful ones.
- Allow yourself time to think about them. Again, this might sound counter-productive. But if you allow yourself specific time periods in which to think about that person, it can actually help you to forget them. Start by setting time slots of five minutes where you’re “allowed” to think about that person. During those five minutes, don’t think about anything but that person. And when those five minutes are up, try your best to stop thinking about them. Every time a thought about them comes up, tell yourself that you’ll dive into it properly during your time slot. Eventually, you’ll learn to recognize when your mind drifts to that person and postpone those thoughts. And when it comes time to think about that person, you might find that thinking about them becomes a chore. That will eventually lead to you thinking about them less and less.
More ways to stop thinking about someone who’s taken over your brain
- Decipher facts from exaggerations. If you can’t stop yourself from thinking about someone, at least pay attention to what thoughts are true and what thoughts aren’t. Don’t allow any thought that’s not a pure fact to upset you. In other words, try not to get caught up in exaggerations. Our minds tend to catastrophize situations when there are emotions involved, but you don’t have to buy into it. Instead, notice those thoughts and how they’re not helpful at all.
- Help other people with their problems. Helping other people with their problems can be a great way to distract yourself. Particularly when it comes to people you love and care about, helping them will often seem more important than what you’ve got on your mind (including a person you want to forget about).
- Forgive them. This can be a crucial step in getting yourself to stop thinking about them. Perhaps the reason you can’t stop thinking about this particular someone is that you received no closure and you still feel like the situation is open. You can’t rely on the other person to come through and give you the answers you want. But you can take it upon yourself to forgive them so you can move on. Remember, you don’t forgive the other person because they deserve it; you do it to give yourself peace of mind.
- Don’t try to understand them. Part of moving on is also letting go of the desire to understand that person. You can never understand everyone, no matter how much you want to. Rather than dwelling on that, accept that you won’t ever truly “get” that person. Stop trying to look for answers you’ll never get and embrace the fact that you don’t have to understand them to move on and stop thinking about this particular someone.
- Stay away from them. It’s very hard to stop thinking about someone when they’re in front of you. If at all possible, try to limit your contact with that person or avoid them completely. The no-contact rule might seem overdramatic, but it can be a huge help in getting them out of your mind!