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Having trouble getting past a recent relationship? Here are some tips on how to stop thinking about your ex.

1. Use the dog-and-vomit analogy (This sounds silly, but it works! Hypnotherapists use this technique to help smokers quit. They associate whatever makes the person gag and grosses them out to cigarettes. )

Whenever you start thinking about your Ex or actually thinking about giving them yet another chance, tell yourself that you’re not a dog and you refuse to go back to eat your own vomit.

If vomit doesn’t turn your stomach, pick something that does like having gauze stuffed in your mouth or runny dog poo and think about it as soon as your mind wanders.

2. Use the rubber band technique

In psychology, a popular technique for overcoming obsessive thinking is to wear a rubber band around your wrist. When those obsessive thoughts come up, snap the band and replace your obsessive thought of your ex with a different thought (which you planned in advance).

Your replacement thought should be something that makes you feel good, and can range from “What island am I visiting on my next vacation?” to “Wow, I did an awesome job on that work project! I really nailed it.” If you’re using the beach analogy, think of being on the beach and hearing the waves crash, the seagulls in the air, etc. Pick something that makes you SMILE and feel GOOD! Learning that you can control your thoughts is a valuable tip on how to stop thinking about your ex.

Overcoming the urge to obsess about your ex is difficult but not impossible.

 3. Learn why you’re obsessed with your ex

Sometimes it’s actually an obsession we feel and not love. A great book on how to stop thinking about your ex is Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go by Dr Susan Forward. 

Susan Forward explains the difference between love and obsession. Obsession is very different than love. Her book kindly explains the difference.

4. Stop trying so hard to stop thinking about your ex

Have you heard the “elephant in the room” analogy? When you attempt to force yourself not to think about the elephant in the corner (or ice cream if you’re on a diet), then of course that’s all you can think about.

Instead of focusing on the fact that you’re obsessed with love, just flow with your thoughts. Don’t try to stop them. Instead, accept the thought and then replace it with one of the tips I’ve suggested.

It takes determination and self-control to control the direction your thoughts take. That said, ultimately you have control over your mind.  But, You just need to find the willpower – and the right technique — for overcoming obsessive love.

5. Set time aside

 If you can’t bear the thought of not thinking about the relationship breakup, then set a specific time to let your obsessive thoughts about your ex run wild.

I suggest 15 minutes at the beginning or end of the day and maybe a 15 minute stint at lunch, too (if you’re really dedicated). When the obsession intrudes at the wrong time (in the middle of a work meeting, for instance), remind yourself that you only get to obsess all you want in your “obsession time.”

During your obsession time, you must sit and do nothing but think, wail, cry, and obsess about your ex. After a few days of this, you’ll find it boring to sit and do nothing. Over time, the result is that you stop thinking about your ex.

6. Write a letter to your Ex 

Write a letter to your Ex, and tell them everything you would say to them if you had one last talk. Then burn it, and let them “go”.  Sometimes this ritual helps when you feel you haven’t gotten closure.