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[Sticky] Self-Help Strategies for Living With OCD  

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PsychNG Services
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01/03/2019 10:42 am  

Although treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) usually entails consulting with a qualified mental health professional, there are a number of OCD self-help strategies that you can start using right now to help cope with your OCD symptoms. 

Get the Facts

Perhaps the most important OCD self-help strategy is to learn as much as you possibly can about your illness. OCD is a chronic illness that requires day-to-day management of symptoms instead of focusing on an ultimate cure. Having a chronic illness requires that you become an expert on your condition and getting informed is the first step. 

Learn to Cope Effectively

If you have OCD, you know that OCD and stressgo together. While there are a number of ways that people choose to cope with stress, not all coping strategies are equally effective in managing OCD and stress. In fact, some coping strategies can do more harm than good. An essential OCD self-help tool is to learn good coping strategies for dealing with stress like getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, meditation and sticking with your treatment plan.

Get a Handle on Worry

Like stress, OCD and excessive worry often go hand in hand. This worry can focus on the theme of your obsessions, the consequences of your illness or it can relate to everyday matters such as paying bills or performing well at work. Unfortunately, worrying can often consume quite a bit of energy and make it difficult to relax. Learning techniques for coping with worry, such as analyzing the probability of what you're worried about actually happening and deciding how to cope with the worst-case scenario should it happen, is a valuable self-help strategy.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Given that stress and worry are major triggers of OCD symptoms, one of the best ways to boost your OCD self-help skills is to learn and practice a number of relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can be very effective additions to any OCD self-help strategy.

Get Moving

Most of us are familiar with the many physical benefits of aerobic exercise, including reduced cholesterol levels and lowered risk of heart disease and diabetes. However, there is growing evidence that exercise such as running may be an important OCD self-help strategy for reducing the frequency and intensity of OCD symptoms.

Practice Being Mindful

Originating in eastern spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, mindfulness emphasizes a non-judgmental awareness of bodily sensations, sights, sounds, thoughts, and emotions. There are a couple of ways in which mindfulness can help you cope with OCD. First, being mindful of distressing or disturbing thoughts may act as a form of exposure to feared obsessions, similar to a person who is afraid of dogs spending time with a dog to lessen the fear. Mindfulness may also help you become less invested in your thoughts and help you to realize that a thought is just a collection of words or images and is nothing to fear in itself.

This can help to reduce thought-action fusion, a psychological process that can make OCD symptoms worse.

Explore Alternative Therapies

Alternative medicines such as herbal remedies have been growing in popularity in both Europe and North America. Many people with anxiety disorders such as OCD have tried alternative therapies at one time or another.

This topic was modified 6 months ago by PsychNG Services

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5 hours ago

PsychNG

Everyone gets negative thoughts, however when you suffer from anxiety and depression- it can feel as if these thoughts are coming at us supercharged and feel like we don’t get a break. Negative thoughts can make us feel awful about ourselves and feel trapped. We may want to push away our negative thoughts, but the more we push away the thoughts, the more they come back to us. Rather than trying to get rid of these negative thoughts, it is important that we change our relationship to these thoughts.

A skill from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) that can help is MINDFULNESS. With mindfulness, you simply observe your surroundings in a nonjudgmental manner. One mindfulness practice that can be used is ROY G BIV. So, look around your surroundings and find something that is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The more we respond in a nonjudgmental manner, the more the thoughts lose their power.

A skill from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING. I’ll give an example.... “I’m terrible at this”, or “why bother trying, we already know what is gonna happen” or “I can’t go because something bad will happen”
we can ask ourselves the following questions: Is the thought realistic, is the thought based on fact or feeling, evidence for the thought, what is the worst that can happen.

Another skill that can be helpful is COGNITIVE DIFFUSION, which is a skill from acceptance and commitment therapy. Here’s an example: “I suck at this”; you rephrase to “I’m having the thought that I suck at this” or “My mind is telling me that I suck at this”.

We hope this helps someone.

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4 days ago

PsychNG

The things we do (and don’t do) have a direct impact on our overall mental health.

Each day we have the opportunity to ask ourselves if the choices we make help or hurt our mental health.

When you choose to go to bed at a reasonable time in order to access restorative sleep, you’re doing something that helps your mental health.

When you neglect your own needs in sacrifice of others, you’re engaging in a behavior that is harmful to your mental health.

Taking care of our mental health requires active participation and raises the question that we are called to answer, “is this (person, place, activity, behavior) good for my mental health?”
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2 weeks ago

PsychNG

Do Away With Expectation.

We all have expectations, especially regarding interpersonal relationships. Fathers and mothers expect their children to be considerate and respectful, couples expect the respective partner will love them and be faithful and friends expect we support them in every situation. Over the years we have built a network of expectations we passed on to others. And of course, we carry on our shoulders the expectations of the others.

In fact, sometimes we are so involved in the network of expectations we have built to believe that what we think, feel or do is the norm. We believe that everyone should act, more or less, as we do, and if they don’t we judge them harshly, we get angry and feel deeply disappointed.

The main problem of thinking that everyone should act as we would do is that we’ll finish frustrated when realizing that reality doesn’t match our expectations. Therefore, feeding expectations is the most direct and fastest way to become unhappy.

pectations are like a bet that we are sure to win

Expectations are nothing more than assumptions about the future, it is as if we were betting that something will happen. But, as with gambling, there is always a possibility that what we desire won’t happen. The problem is that we never consider this possibility, so we are disappointed when we find we lost the bet. But we cannot blame others to disappoint us, in any case, we should give ourselves the “responsibility” of expecting too much from them.

Minimizing our expectations means, in practice, give to the world and people the opportunity to surprise us. It means assuming a less demanding and more open attitude. In the long run it also allows us to be happier and avoid constant disappointments and frustrations.

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2 weeks ago

PsychNG

There are choppy waters ahead and you may have been in places like this before. It may have landed you deeper in the Big Sad, so it’s always helpful to have a plan to keep your emotional skiff afloat in the coming storm.

Feelings deserve space, but they don’t get to govern your life. Tbh, you will probably break at least 2/3 of these rules, but don’t be hard on yourself if it happens.

Even if it keeping your therapy appointments, you would still be satisfied with yourself.

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4 weeks ago

PsychNG

We all have different paths to tow. Different stories to tell.

Our paths may meet, and the pace may be same at one point but the journey is always different for everyone.

Why then do we need to compare? Why do we need to use someone else as a yardstick of measurement.

The best way to know how far you’ve come is to measure where you are coming from to where you are, and then what lies ahead.

That, my friend, is the only comparison you need.

Thank you @funkejenifaakindele for the message ma 🥰😘

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