Do you want freedom from compulsively thinking about something – or someone? These tips on how to free yourself from obsessive thoughts are inspired by a reader’s comment, and by my own recent discoveries.
In Self-Defeating Behaviors: Free Yourself from the Habits, Compulsions, Feelings, and Attitudes That Hold You Back, Milton Cudney and Robert E. Hardy teach readers that, with each new moment, you have the ability to make a choice for either a self-defeating or self-enhancing behavior. You CAN find peace with this book – it’s a guide to freeing ourselves from the inappropriate and crippling behaviors that sabotage our success.
Learning the most effective ways to free yourself from obsessive thoughts depends on several factors: your personality, psychological makeup, lifestyle, worldview, spiritual orientation, and even your genetics. You’ll never find a quick and easy “formula” for freedom from obsessively thinking about your ex or something else in your life. These are the things that worked for me, when I found myself obsessing about an unhealthy breakup in my life. They may work for you – or you may need to try other ways to free yourself from an obsession.
How to Free Yourself From Obsessive Thoughts
“I am obsessed over this man,” says a reader who needs ways to heal a broken heart. “I find myself driving past his house. I even found out who the woman was and went to see what she looked like. I have gone out on a few dates, but I find my thoughts floating back to him. Please give me some advice on how to get past him.”
My tips on freeing yourself from obsessively thinking about your ex – or anything in life that is dragging you down – are inspired by my relationship with God.
Find a “replacement” for your obsession
Simply searching for the best tips on how to free yourself from obsessive thoughts won’t work. What you need is something to replace your negative thought patterns with. Something to fill the emptiness inside, to help you see that there is more to life than your relationship with your ex. The breakup was sad and painful, but it wasn’t the only thing in your life! If you have nothing to cling to – other than the thing you’re obsessively thinking about – then you’ll never be free from your obsessive thoughts.
It’s so tempting to dwell in your obsessive thoughts, to stay mired in the muck of the past! I know how you feel; I wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love because I needed to learn how to free myself from obsessive thoughts about a bad family relationship. I interviewed several counselors, psychologists, and life coaches about how to find freedom, and learned many cognitive-behavioral and emotional techniques for healing from the past. But they didn’t really work, because the root of the problem was still there.
Figure out what the root of your obsession is
I learned that the reason I kept thinking obsessively about the sister I lost was because my family relationships are very important to me. So important, in fact, that they became my self-identity. If something bad or sad happened in my family, my whole world and self-image was shattered. I learned that the only way for me to learn how to free myself from obsessive thoughts was to change how I saw myself. Instead of defining myself as a rejected sister, I realized that I am a beloved and cherished child of God.
See yourself as God sees you
I have this image of how God sees me: as a little girl with bouncy curly dark pig tails, a huge smile, lots of enthusiasm and energy, all ribbons and curls – a girl who knows how loved and secure she is! She is free to twirl, bounce, jump, leap, and take risks because she is safe. Secure. Nothing that happens to her on the outside matters. She is anchored to her Father in Heaven, and she has learned the secret of how to free yourself from obsessive thoughts. She is full of joy, peace, and acceptance. She is secure.
How does God see you? Stop and think for a moment. Don’t just shrug off this exercise – it has the potential to change how you see yourself.
You may find The Parable of Letting Go in How to Let Go of a Relationship helpful.
Decide what you want your world to revolve around
In her request for help finding freedom from obsession about her ex-boyfriend, my reader said her world revolved around him. Well then, of course it’s difficult to heal and move on! If your world revolves around a person, job, possession, animal, or anything in your life and you lose that thing, then you’ll have a terrible time finding freedom. The best tip on how to free yourself from obsessive thoughts is to be deliberate about what you want your life to be about. What is most important to you? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? How do you want to live? These are really important questions, and they can help you heal. If you’re obsessively thinking about something you’ve lost, then you need to make something else the focus of your life.
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” – Rachel Naomi Remen.
I welcome your comments on how to free yourself from obsessive thoughts below. If you’d like to pray for healing from your obsession, feel free.
May you find security, peace, and freedom in Christ.