How To Cope When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Someone

Do you find yourself constantly checking your phone for social media updates or messages from your ex? 

Are you easily distracted at work or school, daydreaming about your crush? 

Does it feel like signs of them haunt you everywhere you go?

We’ve all experienced the pain of different relationships ending and the wave of grief, sadness, anxiety or anger that comes with it. Whether it’s a new crush on a coworker, healing after a sudden breakup, or being ghosted by a friend, learning how to stop thinking about someone can be tough. 

Thankfully, many tools and techniques exist that can help you process your emotions, including therapy, where you can discuss your issues with a qualified professional. In this article, we explore signs and the psychology behind why we think about someone too much

Read on and learn practical tips and practices, from mindfulness to self-compassion, that can help you move on.

Signs That You’re Thinking About Someone Too Much

It can feel all-consuming, overwhelming or even obsessive when you can’t stop thinking about someone. If left unchecked, these often intrusive thoughts can negatively impact your life, interfering with your wellbeing. 

Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • thoughts, images and memories about them appearing without any stimuli (as if coming out of the blue)
  • constantly checking their social media, looking through old photos or chat history
  • bringing them up in all of your conversations
  • trying to reach out to them, even if they’re no longer interested

If that’s your issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to a relationship counsellor and face these challenges with professional assistance.

Psychology Behind Constantly Thinking About Someone

If you have a thought of your ex or a friend you fancy stuck in your mind on repeat, don’t worry – that’s normal. But if you’d like to find out how to stop thinking about someone, it’s essential to start by exploring the possibility of an underlying root cause, such as:

Your History

Our past experiences, both positive and negative, shape our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, influencing how we view the world and ourselves:

  • For instance, if you were on-again-off-again with your ex-partner who played hard to get, it may have led to the hurtful belief that breakups are a natural dynamic in a couple, causing difficulties in accepting a current breakup.
  • Perhaps experiencing trauma may lead to developing a victim mentality and seeking out toxic partners. Perhaps the reason you can’t stop thinking about someone is how addicted you are to playing out this pattern, not the pain of losing that person.

Your Attachment Style

Attachment style refers to the way we interact with others in relationships, which comes from our early experiences with our primary caregiver (often, but not always our parents).

A secure attachment style arises from having our emotional and physical needs consistently met as a child, which serves as a foundation for healthy relationships in adulthood. It might mean:

  • growing up with parents who offered unconditional acceptance and support
  • understanding that you’re worthy of love
  • knowing that conflicts can be resolved healthily

However, avoidant and anxious attachment style result from being brought up by an abusive or unreliable caregiver:

  • having an emotionally distant or overly critical parent might lead you to struggle with fear of abandonment or rejection in adulthood
  • being neglected as a child can lead to trust issues or avoiding intimacy in adulthood

How To Not Think About Someone: Breaking The Cycle Of Rumination

Feeling stuck in a loop of the same repetitive, distressing thoughts? 

You might be in a ruminative cycle.

Ruminating is characterised by overthinking:

  • your past mistakes, 
  • current issues,
  • future anxieties.

So if you can’t stop thinking about someone and it’s making you depressed, worried or stressed, it’s crucial to take action:

Radical Acceptance

Instead of avoiding or suppressing your emotions or difficult thoughts – open up to them. While you might feel the urge to judge or scold yourself, try cultivating radical acceptance of your experience. 

Pain, mistakes and flaws are an inherent part of human existence. When you stop running away from them, you can observe what triggers your intrusive thoughts and better understand your issue. Here’s a good resource to help you get started.

Self-Compassion

Since the human brain is hard-wired to pay more attention to negative thoughts, it’s essential to balance it out and focus on the positive aspects of your life. 

Rumination is extremely difficult to deal with, so make it as easy for yourself as possible by cultivating kindness and compassion towards yourself. Rather than putting yourself down, build yourself up and recognise that taking action to improve your situation with gentleness is a lot more empowering. Start by building your ability to empathise through writing.

How To Stop Thinking About Someone

Reaching a place where it’s difficult to stop thinking about someone can be overwhelming and frustrating. Yet, there are a few simple things that can help:

What To Do If You Can’t Stop Thinking About Someone You Used To Date

Get Professional Help With Therapy Central

If you don’t know how to stop thinking about someone, seek professional help. Relationship counselling can provide a safe space to:

  • explore what does it mean when you can’t stop thinking about your ex, unrequited love or an ended friendship,
  • replace harmful thoughts with healthy alternatives.,
  • learn coping strategies to move on,
  • boost your self-esteem and a sense of independence.

Seeking help is a beautiful sign of self-love and investing in your mental health.

Contact us for a free 15-min consultation and see if our services fit your unique needs.

Self-Help Resources:

1. NHS Fact Sheet – Coping with a Relationship Break-Up

2. NHS Self-Help Resource: Dealing with Loss

 

 Further Reading:

1. Relationship Counselling

2. How To Stop Negative Thoughts From Entering My Mind

3. How To Stop Ruminating

4. How To Deal With Anger

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