How To Stop Thinking About Your Crush
By: Russ Womack
Updated July 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Chante’ Gamby, LCSW
Remember your first high school crush? Sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, a fast heartbeat that feels like it's going to pop out of your chest? You constantly daydreamed about the other person, about your future together. You thought about them 24/7. Well, having a crush on someone isn't only for the middle and high school crowd-it can happen at any age.
What Exactly Is A Crush?
Amid a crush, it is often difficult to differentiate between feelings of love versus a crush. So here is a quick comparison to help you identify if what you are feeling is a crush:
Love is an emotion and is felt when a person has a very strong personal affection or attachment toward another person. It is long-lasting, sometimes for a lifetime.
A crush is a very strong attraction toward someone; however, it is an infatuation for a very short period. A crush is usually based on a person's appearance, the way the person talks or walks, or some particular behavior that another person idolizes. It is short-lived.
Here are other symptoms of having a crush:
- You have obsessive thinking about the other person. You can't get focused, and you can't get any work done. All you can think about is the other person. You can't eat, and you can't sleep.
- You feel giddy every time you think about them.
- You have an emotional dependency. You feel like you need them around to be able to breathe. You feel an ache when they are not around, whether they're twenty miles away or in the next room.
- You long for their reciprocation. With a crush, the person longs for the other person to want them just as much. However, it's important to note that rarely is there ever reciprocation by the other person.
Why Is It So Difficult To Not Think About Your Crush?
You're Receiving An Overload Of Chemicals In Your Brain
Your crush is all in your head, literally, and the brain chemistry of a crush is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which explains why we become obsessed over our crush. In fact, studies show that having a crush can alter your brain chemistry for up to two years. When someone has a crush, certain chemicals in the brain are constantly being released, which makes sense why a middle or high school crush is so common, for it is during those years, there is a natural overproduction of hormones and chemicals.
Dopamine is one of those feel-good chemicals. It's a chemical in your brain that affects your emotions, movements, and your sensations of pleasure. Dopamine can induce levels of serotonin, which affects your mood and the way you act. Since dopamine contributes to pleasure and satisfaction as part of the reward system, it also plays a part in addiction. In fact, a rush of dopamine is released when someone does drugs.
Oxytocin, vasopressin, and cortisol contribute to the chemical world, producing feelings of passion, connection, and uncontrollable excitement. Oxytocin and vasopressin play a major role in bonding, which plays into the attachment to your crush. At the same time, cortisol is responsible for the adrenaline you feel and the uncontrollable nervousness and exhilaration you experience when you see them.
Serotonin also plays a role and is the reason why you can't get your crush out of your head. This happens because the levels of serotonin in your brain drop. Serotonin is what evens out your mood and has also been known to decrease people who suffer from OCD. As a result, your crush becomes a compulsion that you can't seem to get away from.
Your Brain Has Been Reprogrammed
There's a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Although it is a fairly small part of your brain, the RAS has a very important role: it's the gatekeeper of information allowed into your conscious mind-the traffic cop of your brain that tells you what is important to you. Have you ever bought a car and then suddenly see that car everywhere? Or learned a new word, and then it seemingly appears everywhere? It could be a pair of shoes or a particular color, but the concept is alike.
The same goes for your crush. Your brain has been reprogrammed to believe that your crush is important, so important in fact that you think about them uncontrollably. Thanks to the RAS, our brains are wired to bring significant things to the top of our consciousness because they're considered highly important. And while this is useful with things such as hearing our name being called in a crowd of people or being conscious of anything that threatens the safety of our loved ones, the thoughts, and images of our crush are also considered extremely important to our brains.
You Might Be Trying to Suppress Your Thoughts About Your Crush
Suppressing thoughts makes it more difficult not to think about those thoughts, including your crush. Here's an example: for the next 5 seconds, close your eyes and do NOT think about a blue cow. Don't think about it, and don't let the image into your mind. If you're like most people, you saw the blue cow whether you wanted to or not.
The bottom line is that there's nothing wrong with you, and you're not alone. Not being able to stop thinking about your crush is very common. Now, let's look into how to stop thinking about your crush!
How To Stop Thinking About Your Crush
Get Rid Of Everything That Reminds You Of Your Crush
The less you are reminded about your crush, the quicker you'll be on your path toward healing and the next exciting chapter in your life! This includes removing their contact information, text messages, and voice messages from your phone. Remove them from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as email. Deleting their information will not only keep you from contacting them, but it will also erase the constant reminder of them; in essence, "out of sight, out of mind."Toss out any other reminders such as pictures or letters, if necessary.
Snap Out Of It
Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you begin to think about your crush. This exercise will help you redirect your thoughts away from them. It's also a small reminder-but an effective one-that you are taking control of your emotions, thoughts, and life.
Feel Your Emotions
Sometimes we need to feel our raw emotions to allow our brains and bodies to process what is happening. We need to feel and you from the fantasy world to reality. Don't be hard on yourself. It takes time to remove the constant thoughts circling your mind. Even though you were never in a relationship with your crush, it can still hurt when someone doesn't return your affection. It can feel like rejection, and that takes time to heal. As discussed earlier, suppression can have a negative effect, so if it becomes impossible not to think about your crush, then set a specific time during your day to let your thoughts about your crush rise, and then release those thoughts.
Talk About It With Someone You Trust
Speaking with someone about the emotions you're feeling is a great step toward your healing. Just having a safe and objective sounding board can do wonders for you. It can break you out of isolation and give you a different and healthy perspective on what you're feeling. Constructive advice from someone you trust can give you ideas to continue moving forward in a positive direction. You may find it hard to talk to others about your feelings and experiences or may feel nervous about how people will react. However, when you let someone know you need their help, they are likely to respond positively.
Other Healthy Steps
According to Mental Health America, the following is a list of other steps you can take to improve your overall wellbeing during this stressful and confusing time in your life:
- Connect with others
- Stay positive
- Get physically active
- Help others
- Get enough sleep
- Create joy and satisfaction
- Eat well
- Take care of your spirit
- Seek professional help
Seek Professional Help
Accepting that you're struggling with not stopping thinking about your crush can be both challenging and vulnerable. Seeking help from a mental health professional can feel even more taxing, but it is essential for your long-term wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people who can benefit from mental health services delay or avoid seeking help because they see it as a sign of weakness.
Be assured that seeking professional help is a sign of strength and a positive step toward the next exciting chapter in your life.ReGain is always available to those in need of help. Whether you're working through obsessive and ongoing thoughts of your crush or going through something else, know that you are not alone and that we at ReGain are here to help you work through it. With ReGain, you can speak with a therapist 24/7, seven days a week. With chat, text, phone, and video chat options, you can speak with a therapist in a way that is most convenient for you.
You can contact ReGain by clicking here.
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