How To Stop Thinking About Something: 10 Effective Ways

how to stop thinking about someting

If you're looking for effective ways and actionable tips on how to stop thinking about something, this post is for you! 🙂

There are just certain thoughts that you can't seem to get off your mind, no matter how hard you try. When you shower, you think about it. When you eat, there it is again. When you work, it just squeezes itself into your busy brain and decides to overstay its welcome.

You'd think that sleeping is your best bet, but then you dream about it too! Send help. 

What are these thoughts? Worries, tasks, things that happened in the past, something hurtful that someone did, a mistake you've made, something embarrassing, and all sorts of things that you allow to dwell in your mind more often than you should.

Many times, I struggle with this too. So you and I both ask...

How do I stop thinking about something? Well, here are 10 effective ways: 

1. Engage in a different activity. 

Do something fun. Learn a new hobby. Create something new. Organize your room. When you keep yourself engaged in something else, especially something that you enjoy, it keeps you from constantly thinking about something.

2. Be mindful

Try to focus your attention on the present moment. When thoughts pop up, acknowledge them without getting too attached or dwelling on them, and then bring your attention back to the present. You can try to observe your breathing or your surroundings. (You can also read this post about living in the moment)

By being mindful, you also get to observe your thoughts without judgment and it helps you detach from them. By doing this, you direct your focus away from rumination.

When you continue to practice this, you cultivate a calmer, non-reactive mindset which makes it easier to let go of persistent thoughts and shift your attention.

3. Engage in physical activity

Physical activity shifts your focus as you concentrate on your movement, rhythm, and how your body feels. this helps you keep your mind away from troubling thoughts and promotes a sense of well-being, making it easier to break free from overthinking.

The bonus? Getting exercising triggers the release of endorphins which are natural chemicals your body makes and are like little happiness boosters!

4. Talk to someone

Talking to someone can provide an outlet for your thoughts and emotions. Doing this can help you release pent-up feelings instead of suppressing them.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings also allows you to process them receive feedback and feel understood. This also reduces the intensity of your focus on these thoughts or issues.

5. Try journaling

If you would like an outlet for your thoughts and you're not yet ready to talk about them with someone, you can try journaling. 

By writing down your thoughts and emotions on paper, you're able to process them, gain perspective, and let go of persistent thoughts. 

6. Practice deep breathing

When you practice deep breathing, it triggers your body's relaxation response. You can try this now. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. By doing this, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated and this reduces stress and anxiety.

This helps calm your racing thoughts and redirect your focus, allowing you to be more centered and present.

7. Set a specific time to think about it

You might be thinking, this is a list to stop thinking about something, but why should I set a specific time to think? Hear me out. 

Setting a specific time to think about something helps prevent rumination. Rumination is the repetitive and obsessive thinking about the same issue which is often negative or distressing. This can lead to heightened stress and anxiety.

By setting a time to think about something, you create a mental boundary instead of thinking about it the whole day. Outside of this scheduled time, focus on other things or activities to break the cycle of overthinking and gradually reduce the hold of the topic on your mind.

8. Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude shifts your focus from what bothers you to what is positive in your life. This encourages you to appreciate the simple happy things which fosters a more optimistic perspective. 

This change in mindset reduces the hold and intensity of negative, persistent thoughts. On top of that, developing an attitude of gratitude also has plenty of benefits.

From Harvard Health Publishing:

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

9. Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature relaxes you and engages your senses. Nature has a calming effect which can reduce stress hormones and help you disconnect from persistent thoughts.

This can also help your mind reset and refocus on the present moment.

10. Listen to music

Listening to music engages your auditory senses and momentarily diverts your focus from intrusive thoughts. 

Music can also evoke feelings and memories, so pick songs that trigger positive and happy vibes.

The shift in attention when you listen to music gives your mind a break from persistent thinking and promotes a relaxed state of mind.

Conclusion

Sometimes, you just need to face something in order to resolve it and stop the repeating cycle of thinking about it.

If that's the case, think about the sense of relief you'd feel when you finally face it head-on. This can push you to address the issue and just get it over with.

Whether it's about resolving an issue, talking or apologizing to someone, forgiving yourself, challenging negative thoughts, or forgetting about the past, you can do it!

Other times, perhaps we just need to find the resolve to break free from the toxic habit of overthinking. 

If that's you, I hope these actionable tips will help you whenever you need to be reminded about how to stop thinking about something.

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