5 Tips for Coping With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
If your obsessive compulsive disorder is severe, you may need medication and psychotherapy in order to see real treatment results. But here are 5 tips for coping with obsessive compulsive disorder while you are living with it.
1. Know Your Triggers
Knowing your triggers is an extremely important part of coping with obsessive compulsive disorder. For most people living with OCD, their fears become the obsessions which leads to their compulsions. For example, some fears that are common amongst those with OCD are:
- Being alone
If these concepts trigger your compulsions, knowing them can help you prevent a difficult time before it starts. When you start to think of these issues, you can try and steer your thoughts in another direction or at least do something else to get your mind off it (like play a game, exercise, cook, or do another activity that requires mild concentration).
2. Write It Down
Whenever you feel yourself having obsessive thoughts, worries, or fears, write them down in a journal or notebook. You will be able to see the repetitive nature of your thoughts and possibly even find a way to change the way you feel about them. According to the ARC, “Writing them down numerous times will help reduce their power.” Writing down your thoughts gives you power over them, and it helps you get them out which will make you feel less stifled.
Stress does not cause OCD, but it can be a trigger in a severe episode of compulsive behavior, as it can bring about thoughts of the fear and obsession. Knowing how to relax is incredibly important, and you should pick an activity that works for you like:
- Watching TV
- Taking a bath
- Taking a walk
Find something that takes your stress away and practice this whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.
4. Talk to Someone
Many people feel ashamed of their OCD. It is so important that you discuss your feelings with someone else, whether it’s your friend, parent, family member, or another close individual. Talking to someone you feel comfortable with will help you see that, even though you may be embarrassed by your feelings, the people in your life want you to get well and they will do whatever they can to help. Sometimes, just having someone listen can make a lot of the fear we build up inside of us melt away.
5. Give Yourself Worry Time
The ARC states, “Instead of trying to suppress obsessions or compulsions, set aside periods devoted to obsessing, with the rest of the day free of obsessions and compulsions.” Ideally, this would be easy but it won’t always work right away. But telling yourself that you are allowed to worry instead of forcing yourself not to can make it much easier to cope with your disorder. Your OCD will start to feel less like the uncomfortable or awkward quality that you have to hide and more like a part of you that is slowly starting to heal.