We can rarely find common ground with others, but we all agree on the complexity of the human mind.
The factors that influence the working of our minds range from our emotions, thoughts, and beliefs to our personalities, experiences, and upbringing. This is not all. These diverse factors come together to create a mind that is unique in every sense of the word.
This makes human behavior unpredictable. The same stimulus evokes different reactions in different individuals. The reaction and behavior of two individuals are never the same. This rule also applies to the situation when you think of someone.
Often these differences are minor and it is possible to find a common thread in such instances. While some of our behavior is similar when we miss someone dear, there is always an element of unpredictability and irrationality attached to it.
To generalize this situation for everyone, we need to consider all the psychological influences involved in it. Only with this, it is possible to draw up an action plan on how to deal with the situation for everyone. As many emotions are involved in this, it is vital to be prepared for such eventualities.
This article is an attempt at unraveling some of the mysteries of our minds. This is a guide to help individuals cope with their emotions when they are thinking of someone constantly. You may use the psychological facts listed here to check whether you are getting it right.
Psychological facts about constantly thinking about someone
Much research has been done to understand how our minds work in diverse situations. Even though psychologists have been able to draw up a common perspective about human behavior, you need to remember that there is always that mystery element present in each individual to make the reaction difficult to predict.
You should always bear this in mind when you are reading about generalizations in psychology.
Here are some of the most common and obvious psychological facts about how your mind works when you can’t stop thinking about someone.
Fact 1: Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes doesn’t improve empathy
That is definitely an eye-opener. We have always been told that to really understand another person and get an inkling of what they are going through, we should learn to think from their perspective. A recent study has exposed the false narrative of this perception.
Just because we try to think like another person, we need not understand the various facets of their mindset. We all know that the mind is a very complex concept, with so many factors, some known to us and some still unknown, going into it.
Merely, trying to put yourself in the same situation and using your understanding of the person, which often is superficial, to deduce their reactions is futile. You are just using your perception of this individual to arrive at how they would react in the situation. And, not who they really are and how they would really react.
However, there are advantages to putting yourself in the shoes of others. For one, you are making the effort and that definitely counts. Your understanding of the person will improve.
Another consequence of taking this approach shows up in your confidence level. When you take this extra effort, you feel as if you are now better qualified to make judgments about their thought process and behavior. This can be good or bad. It entirely depends on what sort of judgments you are making.
Both men and women are equally complicit in this approach. In fact, most people miserably fail when they try to put themselves in another person’s shoes. However, they make up for the deficit with their perceptions and assumptions about the individual.
Due to this, there is a high chance of them getting it wrong. But as they have made the effort, they consider themselves good enough to make predictions and judgments. This is nothing but dangerous.
Fact 2: “Perception-getting” is better than “perception-taking” to understand someone
One of the most intriguing aspects of psychology is how to understand another person. What is the right approach? Even if you try hard, how well can you know another person? After multiple studies and research, psychologists have come to a conclusion.
If you are allowed to interact with the person and discuss your perceptions and opinions about them, your chance of understanding them is better than if you are given no such opportunity. In other words, the more you talk and communicate with the person, the more accurate your assessment of the individual and the better your prediction is about them.
In psychology, this is called “perspective-getting” and “perspective-taking”. When you actively engage with a person, it allows you to gain information and understanding about them. This approach is perspective-getting.
On the other hand, when you are relying on your existing perceptions about the person to form an opinion about them, it is perspective-taking. The trouble with this approach is that your existing perspective may be biased or wrong and hence your opinion may be totally off the mark.
In simple English, this can be summarized as, “don’t make wild guesses about a person, just ask them outright”.
Fact 3: Thinking about your soulmate when listening to romantic songs will improve your emotional response
Love is a complex emotion, combining positive emotions at various levels and planes. The more facets of love you can manage to align with, the better you can feel it. And, this is a work in progress and there is always scope for improvement.
The way you feel love for another person is vastly influenced by your personality and experiences. As your personality is constantly changing, influenced by the environment and people you interact with daily, and your wealth of experience is forever expanding with each passing day, your feeling of love is also evolving.
Scientists have always been curious about how our emotions influence our love for another person. Recent research reveals that romantic love triggers specific regions of the brain. A study was conducted on 44 people who are already in love or in healthy relationships. Using a model known as the “love induction task”, the thermal imprints of these people were recorded.
Six regions of the brain, including the upper nose and tip of the nose, were earmarked for this case study. All of them were assigned two conditions, love and control, randomly.
The first task involved the participants of the study constantly thinking about their loved ones while listening to a romantic song known to them. For the second task, the participants were asked to think about a romance not involving themselves while listening to an unknown romantic song. While in the first instance, it is a love condition, the second is an example of a control condition.
From the thermographic data collected during this study, it was clear that the tip of the nose showed evidence of more heating up in the first instance than in the second scenario. Moreover, music evoked a better emotional response than its absence.
One of the significant discoveries during this study is that familiar love songs trigger more love in us than happy, yet unfamiliar songs. Even though happy songs are better than no songs at all, to elicit a better emotional response and trigger more love in a person, playing mushy songs that you recognize is a better idea.
Fact 4: The more often you think of someone you love, the less you will anthropomorphize
Anthropomorphize – this may be an unfamiliar term to you even though you may be familiar with the concept. It means attributing human qualities to non-humans such as inanimate objects or even plants and animals.
Anthropomorphism refers to the tendency to view non-humans as humans with human behavior, character, and appearance. If you are in the habit of doing this, you should understand the reason why you are doing it.
This new study published in Science Daily suggests that those who are reminded of their loved ones and who are constantly in touch with them do not feel the need to anthropomorphize. You feel the urge to do so mostly when you are lonely and not in a loving relationship.
In other words, your tendency to anthropomorphize is linked to your need for love, social connections, and healthy relationships.
Even when you have a loving partner and are fortunate to be part of a loving relationship, at some point in life, you will find yourself detaching from everything. You will experience the feeling of loneliness. Most people manage to bounce back to their normal selves after a temporary phase of feeling lonely.
During this phase, when they feel disconnected from everything and everyone, they display this tendency to anthropomorphize. They may start treating everyday objects like human beings. They conjure up imaginary conversations with these objects.
When a person is not lonely and is in a healthy relationship, their thoughts normally would revolve around their partner or their life together. Their thoughts would be occupied by planning their activities during the time together. They will not have the time or inclination to anthropomorphize.
On the other hand, a lonely person will have too much time on their hand and nothing much to think about, let alone romantic thoughts. It is only natural that they display a tendency to anthropomorphize.
Another interesting fact that was revealed by this same study is the relationship between attachment anxiety and anthropomorphism. In fact, attachment anxiety is found to have a stronger link to anthropomorphism than loneliness.
When you think about someone, it is not a one-dimensional event. It is a culmination of multiple emotions and experiences coming together for you.
How our minds work is mostly a mystery to us even today despite so much advancements in science and innumerable studies and research. These psychology facts brought to light by recent studies will help us improve our understanding of ourselves and the working of our minds.