How to Not Be Obsessive

Whether you’re obsessed with a certain person, obsessed with video games, or just can’t seem to control obsessive thoughts (and we’ll cover all three), realizing there’s something that’s taking over your life is not a good feeling. However, most obsessions are phases – once you decide to do something about it, it’s only a matter of time until your mind fills itself with other thoughts, distractions, and pleasures. If you’re ready to be independent and not be controlled by the little things, now’s the time to start!

Letting Someone Go
Limit yourself in how often you contact this person. If you’ve been described as clingy or obsessive, odds are you’re ready to put a stop to that. The easiest way to seem independent and carefree is to be off doing your own thing. Sure, you can check in once in a while, but you’re too busy having fun to be around all the time.
This goes for calling, texting, Facebook, and even favoriting their tweets. Stay off their radar for a bit to make it clear that your life is being lived without them.

Only see them occasionally. If you “accidentally run into” this person all the time, they likely know what’s up. You think you’re being sly, but your tendency to wait outside the boy’s bathroom is anything but sneaky. Make it a point to not go out of your way to see them – if you ‘’do’’ run into them out of the blue, it’s genuinely on accident! You may have to change your routine, if for nothing else but to make it easier on you. If you take the same route to school or work, take a new one. Hang out at the same places? Go at different times. It will be inconvenient at first, but eventually you’ll get used to your new routine.

Write out your thoughts on paper. Sometimes just thinking our thoughts doesn’t ‘’really’’ bring them to light. We need to concretely see them in front of us and how ridiculous they are. Write out your thoughts on paper, and get detailed. Then, crumple them up and throw them away. This will help your mind associate them with being gone.
When you read, “Haley is a unique snowflake. She floats as if on a cloud. I love her like I have never loved anyone before and will never love anyone again. I think about her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I sleep with her on my mind, I wake with her on my mind, and the moments without her are painful,” it’s a little easier to see that those thoughts should and can be reined in.

Laugh at yourself. If you take a serious look at your thoughts (especially by writing them out, as in the step above), it’ll be easier to laugh at yourself and see your obsession for something that’s a little silly. Haley is a unique snowflake? Sure, and unicorns are sleeping downstairs, too. Take it easy! Have a laugh at how this is all a little non-sensical. It’ll help you be a little more objective when it comes to your own thoughts. We all have our strange habits and this just happens to be yours for right now. If someone told you they knew someone who thought this girl was a snowflake, you’d have a giggle. So have a giggle at and with yourself – you’ll feel better and feel better about the situation.

Stop the obsessive thoughts when they creep up. Sometimes it seems like ourselves and our minds are one in the same, but they’re not – after all, you can monitor your thoughts and agree or disagree. When the thoughts of this person come up, tell yourself “no.” Plain and simple – no. You don’t want to think about that, so you’re not going to.
It may be helpful to interrupt yourself. When you find yourself thinking about this person, immediately bring up something else for your mind to get distracted by. Eventually, your mind will forget the obsession was even once there.

Find a friend to talk about your obsession with. This is helpful for a couple of reasons: hearing yourself talk out loud about your obsessions may put them in a light you didn’t see them before – and it definitely will make you feel better knowing you have someone to lean on.
Your friends will help you see your behavior from another perspective. He or she will pinpoint aspects you can’t see and give you another viewpoint to consider.

Busy yourself and your mind. We all go through periods when we’re so busy we quite literally forget to worry about whatever was bothering us. The same goes for obsessions – if your mind is so preoccupied with something else, the obsession simply won’t creep up. There’s no time for it. Need an excuse to finally pick up that hobby you’re convinced you’d be so good at? Now’s the time! Whether it’s guitar or bocce, go for it. The busier you are, the less you’ll be available, and the less your mind will be available, too.

Letting Go of Obsessive Thoughts
Identify your thoughts. Taking control of your thoughts and subsequent behavior is awfully hard to do if you don’t know precisely what it is you’re looking for. Do you constantly blame yourself when things go wrong? Do you obsess over your appearance? Are you constantly worried about how you come off? Once you identify your thoughts, you can start taking control. Think about where the thoughts stem from, too. You wouldn’t try to get rid of a tree just by cutting off its branches, you know? Getting to the root of the problem can cut the obsession off at its source.

Put the obsessive thoughts on “hold.” Negative thoughts are very hard to stop, especially when they’re constantly going at . Instead of demanding your mind to stop its habits with a screeching halt, just put them on the backburner. Tell yourself, “I’ll think about this tonight after work,” or “I’ll worry 15 minutes every night, but that’s it.” Your mind will be able to relax in the “compromise.”
You may find that when that time rolls around, you won’t need it. After work, you’re busy with friends, or you’re at a movie and don’t even think about the obsession. Every day you go without the obsession is a victory.

Take responsibility. The beauty of all this is that it is your own doing – therefore, you can undo it! These obsessive thoughts are your own and it’s only you who can slay the obsession dragon. Once you accept that you’re in the driver’s seat, your mind starts being your own.
Remember: this is a good thing! If someone else had responsibility, you wouldn’t have any power. Because this is your duty and your responsibility, you can start making strides toward mental independence right now.

Imagine the worst. Sounds a little counterintuitive, but think of it this way: when you imagine the worst, reality can only be better. Worried about how you’ll look at the party tonight? Imagine yourself walking in covered in feathers, sparkles, stuffed animals, and not having showered or shaved in ‘’weeks’’. All of a sudden it’s pretty easy to realize that you look pretty dang good!
Be sure to use this tactic in the midst of an obsessive moment, otherwise it just becomes negative thinking. It should be used to calm you down when you’re feeling particularly on edge.

Make those negative thoughts motivating. The only way we can change ourselves is if we have motivation to do so. And the only times we ever have that motivation to change is when we’re unhappy with something. These unhappy thoughts are telling you just that – there’s something your mind wants change. So take these feelings and make them work for you! They could be just what you need to self-improve.
Say you’re constantly berating yourself about your weight. Take these thoughts and turn them into something positive. Make them into a reason to go the gym or fix your diet. Write down what changes you could make that would make them go away.

Lean on a good friend or two. Whether we’re obsessing over a person, a thing, or ourselves, we all need an ear to listen to us and a shoulder to cry on. Otherwise, it feels like we’re fighting this battle all on our own. To feel a little lighter, turn to a friend or family member you can trust to help build you up.
Be honest with your friends about how you feel – don’t sugarcoat it for them so they can get a true picture of what you’re going through. It will likely make you feel vulnerable, but once it’s out, it’ll feel like a weight off your shoulders.

When your thoughts are a bit out of control, call on your support system. They’ll keep you busy and thinking positively, which can be hard to do on your own. But they can only do this if they know what’s up!

Letting Go of Obsessive Habits
Schedule time for the obsession. Obsessions are hard to give up – in fact, they’re quite addictive. Instead of letting the activity permeate every aspect of your life, tell yourself that you’ll only do it at certain times of day, as a reward, or whenever it fits into your schedule. Put it off now and tell yourself you’ll do it later. When later rolls around, you may not even remember.
When you get a particularly intense craving, you can tell yourself that you’ll do it at 8, for example, or after class. Your mind will rest assured that it gets to worry at some point, calming you without actually indulging in the obsession.

Keep yourself busy. If your mind and your body are wrapped up doing something else, there may be no time for the obsession to rear its ugly head. Keep yourself busy with friends and with hobbies to put the obsession at bay. The good thing about this kind of obsession is that it can be totally motivating. Think of it like dieting: to keep yourself from chocolate, you end up eating everything else in the house. Only in this case, instead of participating in your obsession, you get everything else done that you’ve been meaning to do. Staying away from an obsession may make you incredibly productive.

Hang out with friends with different values. Whether your obsession is video games, marijuana, or something in between, it’s likely that your friends enable you to do it. To curb the cravings, you need an environment where the desire won’t arise – where other people won’t naturally bring it up. During this time, be sure to hang out with friends that don’t take part in whatever obsession it is you’re trying to quit.
Are all of your friends part of this culture? Then you may have to rely on family. Take this as an opportunity to renew your relationships with those you’ve fallen away from recently. You could rediscover people that you’ve been missing in your life and be made better for it.

Think about how it’s affecting your life. Any obsession, regardless of how it appears, is harmful if it’s negatively affecting your life. Does it interrupt your relationships? Does it impede your productivity? Does it affect your work life? If it does, this can be motivation to put it to an end. If this were happening to someone you loved, what would you say to them? Often being aware is the biggest battle. And a little introspection can go a long way – once you wrap your mind around what the issue truly is and what it stems from, you can do something about it.

Realize you’re in control. Your thoughts are all you. If you make up your mind to not be obsessive, you won’t be. The little things can just roll off your shoulders. You don’t need anything. It’s just right now that your mind is convinced it does. It’s your job to convince it.
This is a very, very good thing. Since you have the reins, you call the shots. When you’re ready to free your mind, you’ll be able to do it. By taking responsibility thinking positively, that obsession doesn’t stand a chance.

Wean yourself off of it. Going cold turkey off an obsession is a lot to ask. Instead of expecting yourself to move mountains, go slow. Allow yourself, for example, one hour to obsess today. The day after that, 45 minutes. The day after that, 30 minutes, and so on.
All of life is a matter of routine, a matter of getting used to whatever situation you’re in. Though it may seem impossible now, your mind will get used to whatever routine you force upon on – and you’re the one calling the shots here, remember.

Sources & Citations



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