Heal You Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Using alongside your medical OCD treatments there are a lot of natural things that you can do that can help you to significantly reduce and manage your obsessive compulsive symptoms so you can return back to a state of inner peace and calm.
OCD is an anxiety related disorders and like all anxiety disorders the one thing that makes your symptoms worse is trying to resist and suppress your intrusive and repetitive thoughts and feelings.
Therefore, the first tip I would suggest would be to end all the resistance and give up the battle with your thoughts, feelings and OCD. Then you can look for new and different ways to reduce and manage your symptoms.
The first important thing to do, is to stop resisting your OCD and your obsessive thoughts and then just take one step at a time at a pace that suits you so you can gradually learn to manage and reduce your symptoms.
So you can begin to change the way you react to your anxious or intrusive, obsessive thoughts, begin to change the beliefs that are driving your obsessions and start to reduce the amount of times that you perform your obsessive rituals.
It is also important, especially at the start of your healing process, that you will have good and bad days and you will experience setbacks along the way, so try not to be to disheartened if this happens.
Anxiety and obsessive disorders can be more severe and harder to control at times when you are experiencing stress and tension in your mind and body.
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The good news is, OCD is treatable and with a bit of effort and the right techniques and information you can learn to free yourself from your OCD, return back to your naturally and healthy state of calm and inner peace so you can better your daily life, because you are free to choose something better and different then you're experiencing at the moment.
Like all other anxiety related disorders, OCD feeds of your imagination. It is all those what if thoughts and imaginings that trigger all the self-doubt, anxiety and compulsions that force you to perform all your rituals and obsessive behaviors.
OCD is a bit like a domineering bully inside of you that forces you to perform your rituals and it will use your imaginations and strong feelings to grab your attention and push you into doing your obsessive patterns.
Anxiety and fear are more powerful than logic. But the thing to remember is, faith and trust is more powerful than fear.
Our imagination is very powerful and our body responds to our imagination with sensations of fear we then we then feel we need to take physical actions to ease our compulsions and prevent the imagined bad thing from happening.
If you can stop believing and trusting your imagination and instead, let yourself know that:
"Whatever happens you'll be OK and all the rituals are not necessary"
Then you will start to rewire your brain and you will begin to take back control of your mind, so instead of being led and dominated by your OCD, your imagination and your doubtful mind you will be the one calling all the shots.
OCD is linked to submissiveness and a sense of defeat and some of the symptoms that are also associated with OCD are slumped shoulders, negative energy and submissive postures.
Maybe some of the original causes of OCD are from having overly dominant, strict, abusive or critical parents or peers, it also seems to be linked with insecurity and maybe feelings of inferiority or not feeling good enough.
There are many different types of OCD but they all have similar characteristics, which can include:
- Repetitive, intrusive, persistent, obsessive and unwanted thoughts
- Images and sounds in the mind
- A forceful urgency to perform obsessive patterns, behaviors and rituals
- Doubt and uncertainty in the mind, questioning yourself
- Feeling the need of constant reassurance or certainty
- Wanting relief from the anxiety and compulsions
Like other forms of anxiety, OCD is more prevent, powerful and harder to control if you're feeling overly stressed, tense or frustrated.
Therefore, the more you can relax and reduce your stress and release your tension the easier it will be to treat and manage.
Although OCD is linked to anxiety and fear, because our minds learns from doing and repeating the rituals, behaviors and patterns can soon become a well praised habit which becomes an habitual pattern of behavior that can become hard to break.
What tends to happen with OCD if you submit to it and you do not treat and heal it is. The only way you will be able to ease your feelings of discomfort and get the reassurance and relief you're after is to perform the rituals and give into the demands of your OCD.
The trouble is you will start to question and doubt yourself even more which will cause more stress, overwhelm and frustration.
Which can make you feel the need that you need to increase the amount of times you do your rituals to give you the same levels of reassurance and relief as you had before.
If you keep giving in to your OCD then your dominant inner voice and OCD will get stronger and more powerful and you will get weaker and you become even more submissive to the demands of your OCD and the compulsions.
Too treat and heal your OCD, it is important to work on overcoming your anxiety as well as reducing the number of times you perform your rituals so you reach a point of which you are happy with and keep like that until the lower amount of rituals you're now perform, becomes a new habit.
Anxiety and OCD has also been associated with perfectionism and feeling the need for certainty and wanting to be in control.
The need to feel in control, have certainty, wanting everything to be or go perfectly or always wanting to feel safe is certainty some of the triggers that fuel OCD.
You want to be sensible not obsessive and sometimes you have to learn to accept a bit of uncertainty and discomfort and just refuse to give into your thoughts, feelings and discomfort, despite how overwhelming it feels, because they will soon subside.
OCD and anxiety may also be more severe in introverts, sensitive people and over thinkers, especially if you tend to worry a lot or you have been negatively using your imagination.
Those who have OCD and it used to happen to me, tend to zone out into a trance like state when they are performing their rituals.
I guess because OCD is also habitual, once you go into your head, you automatically and habitually perform your rituals with being aware that you're doing them.
You can either go into your head and focus on your obsessive thoughts or even go into a kind of daydream where you shut yourself off from the outside world.
Taking back control
OCD is fear driven, and it is forcing and pushing you into doing all your rituals to prevent something your fear from happening.
All it takes is one thought or worst case scenario imagining to trigger the compulsions that drive you to do the physical or mental actions that you believe will protect you and keep you safe.
The thing to understand about fear and all those scary, what if imaginings, that they are only assumptions, a bit like your mind doing a risk assessment, but that doesn't that something bad will happen if you do not perform all your rituals.
The thing with OCD is, the more you perform your rituals them more you will doubt and lose trust in yourself and what you do repeatedly will soon become a new habits and behavior.
With severe OCD the person is being bullied and controlled by the OCD. The key to healing is to start to swing the pendulum in your favor so you become the more dominant voice and you take back control so the OCD part of you starts to become weaker and weaker.
Rewiring the brain
Your brain is a massive associating machine that associates things together. For instance, if you have a fear of germs, then you can attach danger and feelings of anxiety to not washing your hands.
OCD is a learned habit and behavior and your brain learns through your bad experiences and through repeatedly doing the same patterns over and over again.
To get better, you have to begin to rewire your brain by using the same mechanism of doing and repeating, but this time you create new habits, better thought processes and better ways of doing things.
Anytime you try to change, overcome your fears or step out of your comfort zone, you will be met by some resistance, because your brain does not like change, but if you persist then your brain will finally get the message and the compulsions and anxiety will start to reduce.
Although the feelings and compulsions that are associated with OCD can feel very powerful, dominant and overwhelming.
They are only feelings and if you stand your ground, embrace them, but you do not give into them or perform all of your rituals, then they will soon fade away.
Just remember that it is all about taking one small step at a time and if you keep doing this then over a longer period of time you will begin to feel less anxious and more in control.
Using the washing your hands as an example again. Lets say you wash your hands ten time before you would normally feel safe,
Reduce it down to nine and affirm to your mind that's enough and washing your hands more than once is not necessary, once you get to the ninth time, just feel the feelings and compulsions, but refuse to wash your hands anymore times.
Once you feel comfortable with washing your hands 9 times, come down to 8 and keep coming down until you reach just washing your hands one time.
Starts to question your mind and beliefs and begin to change these beliefs and tell your mind that all the rituals are not necessary or helping you.
Start to challenge your negative beliefs, you could ask yourself, why do you believe this bad thing is going to happen, and what evidence do you have.
Question your overactive imagination
Do you believe, everything your mind presents to you?
Your imagination is a very powerful and persuasive tool, capable of creating and designing many wonderful things.
But when it's used in self defeating ways, then it can cause self destruction, misery and much suffering, your body follows your imagination, but you don't have to.
We can fall into these obsessive habits, cycles and rituals, when we presume that what our imagination is telling us, will come true.
Do you ever, challenge your imagination, and class it as one remote and highly unlikely possibility, or do you accept this one possible outcome, and ignore, the more likely outcomes?
Your mind is only focusing on the worse case scenario, and it will ignore, the most likely outcomes. The next time you start to imagine the worst, practice training your mind, to perceive more positive and realistic alternative outcomes.
Your mind has evolved to anticipate danger, and it gauges its responses on the conditioning and learning that it has been programmed with, a case of react first just in case something bad happens.
But your mind is not accurate, and it has no way of knowing the future. The anticipation, is only a possible outcome or prediction of what could happen, it is not a certainty.
Your mind does not like uncertainty, so it tries to force you to do the rituals, to try and give you as much certainty as it possibly can. But, nobody can have absolute certainty so you have to tolerate and accept uncertainty.
It is OK to be a bit cautious and take sensible measures to help to keep you safe, but when OCD becomes out of control, it isn't protecting you any more and for your own sake, it needs to be resolved.
When you're having all those risk assessments " What if thoughts or what if that happens imaginings"
Do you accept them as being true and act upon them, or do you ever say to yourself.
" What it doesn't happen, what if everything goes well, whatever happens, I'll be OK"
Start to turn around the negative energy from those what if something bad happens, to positive what if thoughts, and notice how different you respond and feel.
People often ask, how do you stop or deal with your anxious and intrusive thoughts?
The answer is, you don't.
When you try to suppress your thoughts and feelings, you will generate more emotional arousal. The truth is, you do not have to accept what your imagination is predicting, and you do not have to try and deal with your unwanted thoughts.
The more sensitive you become to your negative thoughts and the more you don't want to think these thoughts, the more your mind will think them.
But if you get out of the way, and leave your mind alone to continue to think the thoughts, and you practice feeling calm and comfortable around your unwanted thoughts, without reacting or wanting to sop them, then your mind will quickly give up and it will settle down by itself.
The trick is to observe, but don't react or judge.
The next time you feel the urge to give into your feelings and compulsions, just stop and pause for a minute, breathe deeply for a few minutes and relax, but do not try and control your anxiety
Then just allow the compulsions and feelings to build up in your body, but do not give in and perform your rituals, feel the compulsions and let them come and go, and refuse to surrender to your feelings,
Remember, it is just feelings, and you have a choice to ignore and stop what you're doing and walk away, and no amount of feelings and compulsions can stop you, nothing bad will happen, you just think it will.
Once you learn to say no to your compulsion and either face or walk away from your fear and you embrace and go with the feelings, after a few minutes, they will start to subside, and you will be back in control.
Some of you may think, you cannot do this, and you may have come to believe, that it takes a long time to overcome your OCD, but that is just a belief and not a fact, the truth is, you can if you want.
Sometimes you have to face it and go through it to overcome it, otherwise you will never be free from your OCD and nothing will ever change.
Isn't better to experience a few minutes of discomfort and suffering, rather than spending your whole life suffering.
The more you do this, the easier it will get, and within a few weeks you may overcome something that you thought you were stuck with you for the rest of your life.
Let your mind experience all thoughts and let your feelings be
You are not designed to suppress or or try to force our thoughts and feelings away, often negative emotions are an inside indication, that we need to change something.
When you continue to ignore your problems or you carry on trying to fight, suppress or repress your unwanted thoughts and feelings, it will lead to emotional issues, and feelings of hopelessness, mental health issues and loss of control.
Often you feel anxious because your mind does not like the not knowing.
When you're having those what if thoughts and imaginations, which is your brain doing a risk assessment, let you know.
"If that happens, I know I'll be OK"
The primary job of your brain is to move you away from any pain or danger and guide you to pleasure.
Unfortunately, with OCD, your brain, is moving you towards pain, by trying by over protecting you, and your fight or flight protection system, has got stuck in survival and safety mode.
To move out of survival mode, do not try to avoid feeling a bit uncomfortable, do not become sensitive or frustrated by your anxious thoughts.
Accept, that it is perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable, and everybody has anxious or intrusive thoughts, so instead of trying to avoid them, suppress them or force them away.
- Observe and acknowledge, but do nothing
- Do not react badly or act on them
- Allow and encourage your mind to think them for a minute
- Practice remaining calm around your thoughts and feelings
- Feel the feelings and be OK with them
- Then let them go peacefully without judging yourself or analyzing the situation
Do the things that terrify you the most
So confront the feared situation, do the things what terrifies you the most, face it, process it and move through it.
If you have a fear of contamination touch something dirty, simply ignore your feelings because they are tricking you into believing something bad is about to happen when it is not.
The thing to do is don't think about it, the more you focus on it the more likely you are to give in, don't back off just to alleviate your feeling
You can try distracting yourself if you wish, keep letting you know you're not going to die, embrace the fear and go for it.
The same applies with the compulsions, they too are just annoying feelings, a bit like your parents pushing you to perform tasks when you were a child.
But you again don't have to bow down to the compulsions, they cannot make you or force you to perform the unnecessary rituals, you are in control, if you notice the compulsions and you're getting the thoughts and images flashing in your mind, take no notice.
Reassure yourself that even though it feels like something bad is about to happen, I am not going to die, it is just my body trying to protect me, because the only way to deal with fear and anxiety is to face and confront the things that you fear head on.
So at some point you are going to have to face the beasts, this means doing the things that scares you or whatever it is that is activating your OCD symptoms.
This is the only known way of rewiring your brain and reversing the negative associations, because your mind has the capacity to change if it is given new instructions.
Yes, this does mean you will have to go through the discomfort barrier, but surely it is best to put yourself in the feared situation once rather than having it control you for the rest of your life. When you do sum up the courage to confront your fears, remember the danger only really exists in your imagination.
Whatever your compulsions and obsessive behaviours are, the principals of overcoming them are the same.
If you wash your hands repeatedly just do it once, and walk away, accept and learn to tolerate your sensations of anxiety, embrace and allow your feelings the pass through you and away.
People know you don't need to wash your hands until they're red raw, they know you don't need to check things over and over again, keep arranging things or spending hours cleaning and cleaning, they just don't know how to break the cycle.
Your minds and body works together, the way they operate is by feelings and neural mental associations, nothing will change until you change these negative associations.
If you do nothing, then your mind and body will carry on doing what it has learned to do through force of habit because it actually thinks it is doing its job of trying to protect you.
If you're really struggling, try to gradually reduce the amount of times you do your rituals,
Let's say, you believe that you have to wash your hands twenty times.
The first day, make it your intention, to only wash them nineteen times, then the next day, do it eighteen until you get it down to washing them once.
OCD is more intense at times of stress and tension
Your OCD will be more severe and much harder to control at times when you are experiencing too much stress and tension.
Stress and tension makes us feel stupid and clumsy, and our decision making and judgement's become poor.
When we are in a stressful or tense state, we shift over into survival mode and our brain and senses will start to scan our environment for threats.
If you suffer with OCD, then stress and tension, can make it hard for you to think clearly, stay in control and work things out logically.
When your mind switches over to survival mode, this can make your OCD more intense, as your brain will interpret the tension and feelings of stress, as something bad is going to happen, because, why else would your body be primed for action.
Because, of the mind body connection, your mind uses your body as feedback.
Your muscles, emotions and the symptoms of stress are all linked into your fight or flight process.
When we feel threatened, we go into one of the fight or flight responses, where our bodies either prime us to run away or we go into the guarded and protected freeze mode.
Most people who suffer with OCD, often suffer with anxiety, stress or they tend to worry a lot.
When you worry a lot or if you suffer with anxiety, then this instinctive response can become habitual, especially when it is consistently repeated.
Sometimes, if a person is shy, then they can also adopt this insecure posture and stature.
Some of the symptoms and reactions of this flight or flight response are
- Your body shortens in stature
- Your breathing becomes shallow
- Increased circulation
- Release of adrenaline into body
- Tighten of the muscles
- Head pushes forwards and the back of the head gets pulled down
- Neck becomes stiff and contracted
- Shoulders become hunched
- Arms and legs become stiffened
Any time you face a stressful, fearful or challenging situation, you can automatically shift into this guarded stature.
Some people can even get permanently stuck in this posture of fear and anxiety. This guarded posture causes the stiffen of the neck, which is followed by other physical changes and postural reactions in the body.
Reducing your stress and tension, will help you to feel more in control and you should feel less anxious and threatened, giving you more control over your decisions and actions.
If you notice you are going into this guarded stature, you need to free and relax your neck of tension and allow your head to be released so it rest freely on top of your head, balanced forward and up.
Although you should avoid entering this guarded and insecure posture, you must avoid stiffening your body as this is just as bad.
Many people try and stand and sit up to straight and too tall, often they will try to compensate for their slouched and guarded posture by lifting up their chest and raising their chin, which will cause your spine to curve and it will cause the stiffening of your neck and back.
If you are unsure, there are many Alexander Technique Videos on You tube.
Once you return to your natural and free upright poise and balance, where you are free of tension, where your breathing returns back to normal, then you will shift out of that heightened alert state and you will be left feeling calmer and more in control.
When you feel relaxed you will feel less anxious
OCD fits into the category of fear and fear is the polar opposite state too calmness and control. People with OCD focus on fear instead of pleasure and inner calm.
When you train your mind to find fear, it will find it, when you focus your mind to find good, it will bring all that is good too you.
At the start of your recovery, you will experience feelings of discomfort, in your moments of discomfort, it is better to feel uncomfortable and hopeful rather than feeling uncomfortable and fearful.
Fear and OCD are a bully when you cower and you become subordinate to it, but it is weak and feeble when you choose to embrace it and smile at it, and you do what you want, despite how uncomfortable it feels.
No matter how bad you feel, there is always a better feeling option available to you. You were born with the ability to think, feel and act how you choose, and a simple adjustments in your thoughts can get the positive feelings going.
When you feel relaxed, you will feel less threatened and more in control, so instead of fighting with your OCD, put your attention into doing things that will help to relax you, your dominant attention should be to feel good and at peace with yourself.
Last thing at night is the best time to relax and clear your mind of any unwanted thoughts or emotional baggage.
Although positive thinking is good, a much better way to calm your mind is to practice calming your body and changing the way that you feel.
If you're feeling worried or you're having those repetitive negative and unwanted thoughts, then you cannot just override them with positive thoughts.
Before you can begin to think better feeling thoughts, it is wise to change the way you feel first, and when you change the way you feel, your thoughts will begin to match your good feelings.
Relaxing, listening to soothing and relaxing music and meditation are great ways to calm your mind and body, the best time to do it, is when you go to bed, as this will help you to sleep better and you will wake up feeling more energized and relaxed.
If you go to bed feeling fearful, worried or anxious, then you will wake up feeling the same, we carry the emotional baggage and feelings from the previous day through into the new day, therefore it is better, to leave all the negative stuff, behind you, where it firmly belongs.
If you wake up in a good mood, you will have more energy to face and overcome your OCD. Exercise is also a good way to help boost your mood, fear and there is always an underlying fear or consequence behind your OCD.
Fear is an emotional and physical state, relaxing and exercising will help to change your state, both physically and emotionally.
Again, quit fighting and struggling with your feelings and emotions, and just let them carry on and pace by peacefully.
You do not need to keep on justifying and trying to find and explanation, for your thoughts and feelings, we all experience them, so try not to be too alarmed or bothered by them.
Compare your fearful thoughts and feelings to a wasp, if a wasp comes to you, and you panic and fight it, then it will become more aggressive and it will attack you and hang around even more, but if you stay calm and do nothing, the wasp will soon give up bothering you and it will move away.
Sometimes, if we are sensitive or intolerant to certain foods, then this can cause a disruption in your body and mind, affecting your feelings, mind and emotions.
It is also important to get your daily allowance and dosage of nutrients. Magnesium is classed as the relaxation mineral, and it helps to reduce stress and anxiety, so make sure you get your daily dosage of foods that contain plenty of magnesium.
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