Updated: Nov 22, 2021
We all go through situations where we constantly ruminate over "What did it mean?", "What could have been?", "Why did it happen to me?" etc. These kind of thought patterns can become a mental loop where we think about it constantly and it can turn into an obsession. It could be about other feelings as well like feeling strongly attracted to someone, infatuation where we obsessively think about someone. The former thoughts drain our energy and can make us full of self doubt while the latter thoughts can give us pleasure for a little while. The problem with any kind of obsessive thinking is that it prevents us from growing and we waste our time and resources on a hypothetical situation rather than taking action and experiencing it in the now. Thus, it is essential to become aware why we get stuck in a mental loop at the first place.
One of the main reasons that our mind gets stuck in an obsessive thought pattern is because it is looking for a logical explanation for an illogical event. For example, someone you had just begun to date, ghosted you suddenly and you want to make sense of this illogical event as to why did it happen? One moment everything was great and the other moment they don't even want to see you. Humans are unpredictable and they change their mind often. So trying to make sense of an illogical event can make us stuck in the hamster wheel of obsessive thinking. The other example, could be someone being rude to you and they hurt you with their action. Our mind can get stuck in trying to make sense of the situation but again, humans are whimsical and they operate from their own frame of reference which can come out sometimes as rudeness, sometimes as harsh words or sometimes as Love as well. In trying to over analyse the situation we try to decipher the hidden meaning of a completely meaningless situation.
The other reason for obsession is that our ego finds it difficult to accept that the change has happened. For example, you were dating someone and the person broke up with you suddenly, then your mind can tend to obsessively think about "why did it didn't work out?", or "what wrong you did that the person broke up with you?", or "how things could have been different if this or that happened?". Thus, in a way your ego was bruised that you were rejected and in order to boost your worthiness, you tend to obsessively ruminate about your initial high days together, the thrill of the chase, or how the person made you feel special back then.
The way to get out of these thought patterns is by the following 2 ways:
1. Make a Statement-
If your reason for getting stuck in a mental loop is that you are trying to make sense of a completely illogical event, then give your mind a rational answer for "why" did it happen? In the previous example, maybe the person ghosted you because you two were not compatible, maybe they were drawn back to their ex, maybe he or she was not the right one for you etc. This way, your mind can rest with a rational explanation of the situation.
As I explained in the second reason, that we might get stuck in obsessive thought patterns because our ego is finding it difficult to accept the change. The only solution to this is to accept that the unimaginable can happen, that people change, situation change, things are not the same as before, it's nature's rule. Ego is not bad. It is there to protect us from getting hurt and it helps us in setting boundaries, but the same ego craves for validation, worthiness through obsessively thinking about the same things in the hope to find an answer that could change the ending of your story which unfortunately never happens. So the way forward is to accept the situation as is and understand that people and the world are unpredictable.
3. Look at the Implications
The way to stop the mental loop is to know the cost you are paying with your obsessive thoughts. Maybe you are wasting your energy and time on a hypothetical situation which you can rather utilise for your growth and development & to do things that you Love. Thus, catch your thoughts and see whether they are serving you? Or whether they are helping you grow? If the answer is no, then regain your control and invest your energy and time on things and thoughts that bring Joy, Love and Growth to you. Just think about the opportunity to actually live your dreams you are losing with being stuck in a mental loop.
What are the ways you try to get out of a mental loop? Comment below and share your knowledge.