When Thoughts Of Someone Take Over: How To Regain Control Of Your Mind

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated March 4, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Do you ever think about someone so much that it feels like it might be taking over your thoughts, even when you don't want them to? If so, know that you are not alone. This type of intrusive thought pattern may be common, but it is not unmanageable. 

There may be a way to gain control of your mind and stop these thoughts from taking over. We will review some strategies for dealing with intrusive thoughts about someone and regaining control of your mind.

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Take control of your thoughts and improve your mental well-being

What does it mean to have intrusive thoughts about someone?

Intrusive thoughts about someone are repetitive, unwanted thoughts related to an individual. These thoughts could be challenging to control and may cause feelings of distress, anxiety, or guilt.

In some cases, the intrusive thought pattern might become so consuming that it interferes with daily life.

Intrusive thoughts about someone could be incredibly distressing and might make it difficult to focus on anything else. You should understand that these thoughts are not a reflection of your character or mental health and are common. 

Understanding the triggers of these thoughts could help you manage them better. Triggers might vary from person to person but may include past experiences, current stressors, or even certain situations or environments. For example, if you've gone through a difficult break-up, the sight or smell of a familiar place may trigger memories and thoughts about the person. Similarly, if you're currently experiencing a lot of stress in your life, you may have intrusive thoughts about someone.

How to manage intrusive thoughts

Once you have identified your triggers, you could take steps to avoid or manage them. For example, if seeing certain places or things triggers thoughts about someone, you could try to avoid those places or things. If stress might be a trigger, you could try to find ways to manage your stress levels, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy. 

Remember that intrusive thoughts are not always within your control, and avoiding your triggers is not always possible. In these cases, it might be best to have strategies to manage thoughts when they arise.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

This could be one of the most powerful tools for managing and overcoming unhealthy thinking patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT may teach you strategies to recognize and challenge negative thoughts, develop healthier coping habits, break through distorted beliefs, and replace them with new positive thinking procedures that may lead to better decision-making. Through regular online therapy sessions, you could learn to be more aware of intrusive thoughts as they occur and find ways to reframe or reject them before they become overwhelming.

Mindful meditation and relaxation exercises

Mindfulness meditation could help bring awareness to your body by focusing on the present moment; it involves paying attention to your breath, body sensations, and any thoughts or feelings that arise. This practice might help reduce stress, calm the mind, and cultivate peace. Additionally, regular relaxation exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, might help you to loosen up if you find yourself feeling tense or anxious.

Journaling your thoughts

Journaling might be another excellent tool for managing intrusive thoughts about someone you're obsessing over. Writing it down might allow you to externalize the thought, so it's no longer taking up mental energy in your head; this also may give you an opportunity to look at it with fresh eyes and see what parts are irrational or unhealthy. Writing could also help create clarity around your feelings and give insight into why they're occurring in the first place.


Setting boundaries and creating distance

One of the ideal steps in getting over an unhealthy focus on someone might be to create distance between yourself and the person or situation triggering your thoughts. This might be done by setting emotionally healthy boundaries and cultivating a sense of self-awareness so you know when it's time to take a step back. It may also be a good idea to have supportive people around you who could help remind you of the good things in your life and also try to give you much-needed perspective during these difficult times.

Learning better self-care habits

Self-care might be essential during this process; take some time out for yourself to do things that make you feel good, such as listening to music, reading a book, or going for a walk. Ensuring that you're getting enough sleep and eating nutritious food might be some small steps that could make a difference in helping to restore your sense of peace and clarity.

Setting goals for moving forward

Although it could be challenging to get over an unhealthy focus on someone, setting goals and developing a plan of action might help you stay on track. Begin by creating a list of achievable tasks that you want to accomplish each day; this could include things like journaling, meditating, or just taking time out to relax. Also, try to set weekly and monthly objectives and monitor your progress; the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving small goals might get you motivated to keep going. Having someone who might hold you accountable should provide extra motivation when things start getting tough. 

Above all else, remember that it may be possible to overcome any challenge with commitment and hard work. Try to take it one day at a time and stay focused on the present, not dwelling on the past or worrying about what's to come. With patience and dedication, you might learn how to control your thoughts and break free from unhealthy habits.

How online therapy can help

One of the key benefits of online therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, might be that it could help individuals to identify and challenge negative thought patterns. In the context of obsessive thoughts, therapy could allow individuals to recognize and question the thoughts that are causing them distress rather than automatically accepting them. By learning to question and challenge these thoughts, individuals could begin to break the cycle of obsessions and reduce the intensity of their symptoms. 

Also, online therapy might be able to provide individuals with new coping mechanisms and strategies for managing obsessive thoughts, which could help them to regain control of their minds and improve their overall well-being.

Take control of your thoughts and improve your mental well-being

A prospective study by Salkovskis et al. suggests that negative beliefs and maladaptive coping strategies might contribute to the persistence of intrusive thoughts. This could be particularly relevant in the context of overthinking about someone, as it may involve rumination on past interactions and perceived negative aspects of the relationship. One effective way to address this issue might be through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which could help individuals identify and challenge negative beliefs and maladaptive coping strategies. 

Online therapy, such as video or text-based therapy, might provide CBT in the convenience of your home. This might be an effective way to help individuals regain control over their intrusive thoughts and improve their mental well-being.

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Intrusive thoughts about someone could be a common and distressing experience, but some strategies might help individuals regain control of their minds and reduce the impact of these thoughts. These strategies include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness meditation and relaxation exercises, journaling, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and setting goals. 

Online therapy might be an effective way to get CBT and address negative beliefs and maladaptive coping strategies related to intrusive thoughts. By implementing these strategies, individuals might improve their mental well-being and overcome the adverse effects of overthinking about someone.

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