depression, anxiety, social isolationHow to stop obsessing about something is almost aways part of why someone seeks help with hypnotherapy.

It could be sleep, work, money, something which has upset you, but it is often to do with other people, obsessing about someone or something they have done or not done.

During this week leading up to valentines day, its difficult to get away from constant reminders, especially if it’s a relationship which isn’t going how or where you want it or, possibly the worst of all unrequited love.

How to stop obsessing about someone can be particularly painful and especially pertinent this time of year, so how do you get someone out of your mind?

1 roundFocus on yourself, not on the other person.  It’s all about YOU.  What do you like doing, what makes you happy? (don’t mention the other person here, because they’re clearly not making you happy or you wouldn’t want to stop obsessing).  At those times you’re not obsessing, what are you doing?  Then do more of it.

Focus on doing things you enjoy and you create serotonin which makes you feel good and, most importantly, it puts you in the intellectual part of your brain which puts things in perspective and doesn’t obsess.

2 roundBe with people but stop talking about him/her.   Put yourself with other people, friends who you can trust to give you rational advice or even better distract you altogether.  If you can join a club or an evening class, just somewhere there are other people.  We are designed to be tribal, so when we put ourselves with other people, especially when we don’t want to, it is actually good for us.  (And distracts you from your thoughts)


3 roundDo some exercise.  Again exercise, doesn’t matter what but best of all are team sports, creates serotonin and endorphins, both feel good neurotransmitters which help you deal with things rationally and put things in perspective.


4 roundDistract yourself by doing things.  You do not need too much time on your own to think, that’s when it happens.  Driving home from work, in the evening watching TV, when you’re in bed trying to sleep, that little voice in your primitive brain kicks in.  This isn’t helpful, so at those times, find something to do with your brain.

When you’re driving or commuting – Audio books are great because you have to actively listen or you miss the point, it doesn’t matter if it’s a novel or an educational book it just has to be something you’re interested in.  Much better than the radio or music in the background which you don’t have to actively listen to.

In the evening – go out, be with friends, go to the cinema, go to your mum’s for tea or dinner, join a club, go to an evening class, start a home study course – just don’t be in alone with your own thoughts.

At night when you’re trying to sleep, again audio books are helpful, but make sure they’re not too exciting or interesting or you won’t want to switch it off, but better still a hypnotherapy CD, guided visualisation or something similar, so it grabs your attention.

5 roundLast, but not least, you can’t read someone else’s mind – so stop trying.  You know you’re doing it, you’re trying to work out what they think or what they’re doing or why they did that or why they haven’t called or what they would do if you…  You can only think in terms of what you know and how you would react and you are not them, you cannot second guess what they’re thinking, their motivation behind things or what their reaction would be.

The only result you will get is creating yourself anxiety and putting yourself back in that primitive brain that obsesses.  So have a word with yourself, tell yourself you can’t possible know, so stop it, it’s a waste of time.

Here’s science behind it.  The more you think about something and the more you practice something, the stronger the connections get between brain cells, your neural networks.   Every time you think or talk about that other person, you are strengthening those connections and keeping them alive.  So, actively taking control and directing your mind onto something else, will help it to drop those connections and you will find they start to fade away and you will realise that you haven’t been thinking about him/her quite so much.

At the same time, when you redirect and start doing positive things in your life, positive activity, positive interaction with other people and positive thinking, you are forming new neural networks and flooding them with feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, endorphins, dopamine.

Dopamine actually is the neurotransmitter responsible for the obsessing in the first place – when you first met this person and had strong feelings for them, your body and mind would have got a massive dose of dopamine, this is your instant reward systems and it wants more of it, but of course, for whatever reason it can’t, so you start obsessing how to get more.  Direct you mind somewhere else and it will get the rewards in serotonin and endorphins and it won’t be so desperate for the dopamine reward.

It’s not easy to stop obsessing about someone, especially if you have been nurturing those thought patterns, but start doing things for yourself, make yourself happy with the things you enjoy, be with people who are good for you and you will start to notice the obsession is fading away.  Only you can take control and start doing sometime and what better time to start than right now.


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