Stress is the #1 trigger for any addiction, including old flames. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or anxious triggers a physiological need to connect, and you crave what psychologists call "contact comfort." Stress also makes your brain focus on potential reward, and ignore potential risk. So you're likely to imagine the warm embrace of a romantic reunion, and forget the shame or regret you felt after the last hook-up. Pre-empt stress-induced longing by treating yourself to some serious self-care. Schedule a girls' night, pull out that yoga DVD, get a manicure and massage, or whatever calms your nerves and lift your spirits.
4. Beware the White Bear.
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There's one guaranteed way to make sure you never forget your ex: try to push him out of your mind completely. Psychologists call this the "White Bear Effect." If you try not to think about a white bear, one will pop into your mind. This is true for all kinds of temptations. Dieters who try not to think about chocolate become obsessed with it, and eat more of it. Smokers who try not to think about cigarettes only end up smoking more. One study even found that if you try not to think about an old flame, you're more likely to dream about him! So when an ex comes to mind, don't panic, and certainly don't take it as some kind of sign! Remind yourself why he's an ex, then put your attention back on someone you really care about -- you.
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