Have you ever tried to resist scratching an itch? It can be nearly impossible. That’s the best way to describe the behaviour of someone who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A thought or image pops into the mind that causes a negative reaction, this is an obsession. A task is presented that must be completed in order to carry on with one’s day, this is a compulsion. These threatening voices are always sure to be warning of the consequences of resisting its demands. Unfortunately, the course of treatment to deal with these demons is learning to do the opposite of what they ask… dismiss them. Excuse them from your mind and politely but firmly ask them to leave. This may be one of the greatest battles of all for those who are going head to head with their disorder.
Here are four helpful steps to practice resisting your obsessions and compulsions.
This first step is tricky, however once in practice, is quick to catch on. It is important to analyze your thoughts on a mindful level as opposed to observing them at the surface. In other words, become aware of what thoughts are most likely to be driven by your illness, not your rational mind. Make a mental or physical list of thoughts that can be categorized as an obsession or a compulsion. This way, when they arise, you will have relabeled them as “obsessive” or “compulsive” and remind yourself that they are not valid.
Consider the science behind your disorder for a moment, this can help a lot when obsessions or compulsions become extremely frustrating. Often, the rational voice asks, “why is this happening to me?” or “I know this is ridiculous but I can’t stop thinking about it”. After you have relabeled your negative thoughts as being “OCD thoughts”, you can then consider where your struggles reside. Studies have shown that those living with OCD have a part of their brain, the caudate nucleus, that is not functioning properly. This is where obsessions and compulsions stem from.
Now, this is tough but essential! Once you have labeled your thoughts as being “OCD thoughts” and you have reattributed the meaning behind them to the physical malfunctioning in your brain, its time to acknowledge their invalidity and refocus thoughts on something else. Here are some suggestions. Instead of focusing on negative obsessions, create some “go-to” thoughts that always bring you happiness. As opposed to giving in to your compulsions, do something else with your body. You could go for a walk, dance, write or play an instrument – whatever it is that will distract you from completing the said task.
Finally, ask yourself the value of succumbing to your obsessions and compulsions. You now know that your thoughts stem from your OCD, which resides in a part of your brain that has a biochemical imbalance. You’ve worked on refocusing your attention on something other than your obsessions and compulsions, so hopefully the value you place on your OCD thoughts and urges has lowered. It is by step 4 that optimistically, your OCD does not weigh as much on your consciousness as it once did.
Keep in mind that these steps take practice and patience but with the help of a therapist they can be confidently executed to make for a successful recovery.
Resource : http://hope4ocd.com/foursteps.php