Get that man off your mind, ASAP.
I have a tendency to dwell and obsess.
I dwell on little things, big things, everything. Nothing is too small for my thoughts to get stuck in a repetitive, painful groove over. It’s frustrating and counterproductive, to say the least.
Some of the hardest obsessions I’ve had to get over are those I’ve had over men.
Obsessing over a man is the absolute worst because if you’re obsessed with an ex, it’s nearly impossible to move on. Being obsessed with a man you’re in a relationship with injects anxious, negative energy and makes you feel off balance. When you’ve been thinking about him constantly, it’s hard to act normal when you’re actually together.
For that reason, it’s been really crucial for me to learn how to stop obsessing. I’ve gotten a lot better at not letting my obsessive thoughts run wild, but I still work at this, so I’m writing this for both of us.
If you’re wondering how to get over someone and stop obsessing over a man, a relationship, or anything else, here’s what I do to nip those unproductive thoughts in the bud.
1. Consider why we obsess.
Obsession can be about controlling anxiety. I tend to obsess when I feel like I did or said something wrong, or if I’m not sure how my actions were received. Even though everything might really be okay, but I’m out there thinking endlessly about "what if" nightmare scenarios.
Sometimes, we hesitate to stop obsessing over someone because it feels like obsessing is the only way we’re able to hold onto the relationship or exercise control over a situation.
This is especially true if you’re obsessing over your ex.
People email me constantly, asking how they can move on from an ex who they broke up with months or even years ago, but they’re still stuck wondering about the time they said or did "the thing."
It’s easy to feel as though by thinking about something enough, you can work it out or change it. It can feel like if you just think about it enough or come up with enough
"solutions", it will make things better.
Unfortunately, obsessing about it is usually the exact opposite of repairing things. The more upset you allow yourself to get, the worse the problems become. While working through problems is healthy, constantly thinking about how things are going is not.
Remember that while obsession IS emotional work, it’s not productive nor does it change anything except your own, crappy mental state.
2. Healthfully reduce your anxiety.
Managing anxiety is incredibly difficult, but SO necessary if you’re trying to keep your thoughts away from whatever you’ve been obsessing about. If you’re often subject to free-floating anxiety like I am, protect yourself from the anxiety first before allowing yourself to decide that anything is the actual cause of your anxiety.
Letting anxiety dictate your actions can be particularly dangerous if you decide your partner or your relationship is why you feel like crap. This not only creates more anxiety but also negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Anxiety tricks your brain into feeling as though something is wrong — even if nothing is wrong.
And, when you feel as though something is wrong, you’ll act like there is, which will clue the people around you into the concept that something is off.
That’s why, if you’re prone to obsession, try to manage your anxious, upset feelings first, before you tackle whatever may be the source of those feelings.
If you try to get rid of anxiety by doing something to change whatever’s happening in that state of anxiety, it most likely won’t go well. Having an anxious, upset conversation with anyone is at best problematic and at worst, a total disaster.
Managing your anxiety should come first — before you ever approach your partner about it.
I manage my anxiety by practicing meditation, getting enough sleep, eating properly, and working out regularly. When I do this kind of self-care, it forces me to focus on whatever I’m doing for myself instead of letting my thoughts float over to obsession territory.
3. Identify your triggers for obsessing and replace those.
Obsessions have triggers. If you can uproot the trigger, you can change your thought pattern.
A few years ago, I went through a really cringe-worthy and bad breakup. One powerful thing I learned after that breakup was that I had to stop allowing random, everyday things from causing me to get stuck obsessing over thoughts about my ex.
There were times of day, certain situations, even certain songs, smells, and foods that reminded me of him. It felt like everywhere I looked, there was something else that kept dragging my attention back to my ex. It sucked so badly until I started being more firm with myself.
Once I became vigilant about not allowing myself to be jolted back onto memory lane, I felt so much better.
To do this, each time something triggered memories of my ex, I replaced it with something else. If something smelled like him, I smelled something else immediately. If a song that reminded me of him came on the radio, I changed the channel.
It might sound neurotic and difficult to put this into practice, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. You won’t have to do this forever.
If you’re obsessing over a man, do what you can to remove reminders of him from your consciousness or lovingly reduce his influence if he’s still in your life.
4. Make new habits, get new hobbies, and learn a new skill.
Sometimes the best way to stop obsessing about one thing is to move that obsession over to something else. In this case, choosing a hobby, skill, or habit that you want to modify is helpful in a lot of ways.
I give this advice a lot, but transferring obsession into passion can change your whole life because of how magnetic passion really is. If you’ve been spending too much time thinking about a man, getting a really immersive hobby is often enough to snap you out of it.
If you’re hurting over a breakup or obsessed with your ex, the magnetic passion you unleash when you’re excited about your life can actually help get your ex back (if you happen to want that).
Elizabeth Stone is an author and coach who specializes in breakups. If you’re broken up and want them back, check out her video presentation which explains the 3 things you must not do if you want any chance of getting him back. In it, she explains the story about being obsessed with her ex and what she did to get him back. If you keep dealing with men who pull away, ghost and abandon you, get a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest, and daily email series to get to the bottom of it.
This article was originally published at Attract The One. Reprinted with permission from the author.