How To Stop Caring About Everything

Caring too much is draining your energy. 

Maybe you’re an empath and caring comes naturally. Maybe what you care about seems to have some control over you and it’s difficult to let go. Whatever the case, caring too much is no longer serving you, and you want to no longer care.

But how do you do it, how do you not care? 

Well, to start you need to ask some questions of yourself, and the first question to ask is actually pretty obvious.

Why do I care so much?

It’s painful, right? A part of you clearly wants to let go of this worry. You’re tired of thinking about the relationship, the ex, the anxiety over your work, the concerns about what people think about you. But even though you want to stop caring about these things, on some level you’re still chasing them. They’re still occupying too much space in your mind. Draining you, day by day. 

There are a number of reasons you continue to care, but let’s take one from evolutionary psychology; the modular mind.

See, different parts of the brain link together to make up a series of networks. Each of these networks have different drives or goals, also known as different modules. Because the aims of these modules can contradict each other, you end up in self-conflict. 

Take for example the issue of a toxic relationship. Your drive for security (for yourself) can seemingly push you away from your partner, while your drive for care (for the other) can push you towards them. You have a natural empathetic drive to help and protect, and you don’t want to hurt the other person, but by staying in the relationship you’re keeping yourself in a state of insecurity and anxiety. It’s a catch-22. 

When you care too much, it means you have a strong attachment to whatever you are fixating on. Fortunately, our brains are, at least partly, rational. By going through each of our attachments, and the drives that are creating them, we can convince our brains that we don’t actually need to keep caring about the thing that’s troubling us. Less care = less investment, less investment = less energy wasted. When we are drained of energy we feel low, when that feeling becomes persistent, we call that depression.

To truly not care about what people think, you need to go through your worries, one by one. We’re deeply social creatures, so the most intense attachments we have are almost always personal relationships. The stronger we feel for someone and the longer we’ve known them, the more intensely we seem to care, and the more power they seem to have over us. 

As the late great Harvard psychologist turned spiritual giant Ram Dass once said:

“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

Ram Dass

I’ve come up with seven steps to not caring that are based on principles of psychology and neuroscience. It’s good if you can go through these with a pen and paper and take notes on what comes up. If not, just thinking about it or talking about it with someone (or yourself) will also be useful.

girl caring too much

7 Ways To Stop Caring

  1. Recognise that you care. If you don’t even know that you care, it’s pretty hard to stop caring – you’ll simply be in a state of resistance or denial.  
  2. Recognise why you care. There are a whole host of valid reasons why you care and we touched on some of the psychological and biological ones earlier. Try and see how your brain, body and life experiences might be causing you to care too much.
  3. Accept why you care and that you care. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on opening up and welcoming unpleasant feelings in order to prevent our minds from becoming fixated. When we avoid the fact that we care, we are actually signalling to our brain that what we (unconsciously) care about is worth the energy invested in avoiding in! 
  4. Identify reasons why it makes more sense not to care. This is where we bring in our rational mind to start to convince the brain that it’s actually more beneficial for us to not invest so much energy in worrying about this thing.
  5. Remind yourself of these reasons frequently. When you’ve gone a long time caring about something, there is a reconditioning that needs to take place in order to reverse the habit.
  6. Condition yourself to relax every time you notice yourself worrying too much. This could actually be number one on this list. Caring about something is largely held in tension in the body. The more you can relax, the less of a grip strong emotions have over you, it’s that simple. 
  7. Practice the art of ‘not caring.’ Not caring isn’t just a vague attitude, it’s actually something we embody with our actions, feelings and eventually our thoughts. Put yourself in situations that show that you don’t care, and sooner or later your mind will follow suit – fake it till you make it.

How To Stop Caring About Someone

This is a real challenge. Other people can often feel like a part of us, so letting them go is like losing a part of ourselves. Something you may want to consider when going through the steps above is to look at what this person represents for you. What need are they fulfilling? Could it be fulfilled in another way? For example, maybe you want to care less about the negative comments your boss makes, but you know she holds power over your income – so there’s a sense of security invested in her.

How To Stop Caring In A Relationship (or about your ex)

A romantic relationship is one of the strongest attachments we have, because it represents so much to our personality, our sense of self and our survival. A big way to break out of the habit of caring for someone is to put yourself in situations where you rely on your independence to solve problems. 

Man can't stop caring about relationship

How To Stop Caring What People Think Of You

Almost everyone is concerned with how they are perceived in social situations, at least to some extent. One way to stop caring what people think of you is to recognise why it’s better to not be so worried about it. A lot of the times our ideas about what people think about us are completely out of line with what they actually think. Also, their ideas (like ours) are constantly changing, so it doesn’t make any sense to try to obsessively manage your social image.

How To Stop Caring About Work

Work, like relationships, represent a lot for many of us. What we do for work is, in some ways, who we are. It’s what we do every day, it’s how many others may judge our success and worth, and it’s how we provide for ourselves and our families. So how to not care about work? First of all, try and be relaxed as possible at work. We naturally get tense in uncomfortable situations and that tricks our minds into caring more than is necessary. Another important thing to consider is to accept that you are emotionally invested in your work, but recognise that it doesn’t define you. Try to look for other ways that some of the needs that are met by our work might be fulfilled with other things in our life. 

Ok, so there you have it, a comprehensive guide that shows you how to stop caring. Mind you, while it is simple, it’s not easy. A large part of stopping the incessant worry is simply practice over and over again. Practicing accepting why you care, that you care, and practice the art of not caring. 

What are you caring too much about? How have you learned to not care? Drop a comment below and let us know, or send me an email at ben@projectmonkeymind.com!

Ben Fishel

Ben is an author, psychotherapist and the creator of Project Monkey Mind, a blog that looks at Psychology and Spirituality to find practical wisdom for the digital age. He holds an MSc. in Applied Neuroscience from King's College London and a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Queensland.

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