3 Major Ways on How to Stop OCD Thoughts

Occasionally, double-checking things such as whether you’ve unplugged the iron or locked your car’s door is a normal behavior. However, if you are suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), compulsive behavior and obsessive thoughts may become so intense that it can interfere with your life and daily routine. It is hard for you to shake them off even with your best efforts. The good news is that help is within your reach. There are self-care strategies and treatments you can use to break free from your OCD and feel more in control of your life again.

How to Stop OCD Thoughts

1. Try Self-Care Strategies

Your lifestyle has a big impact on your feelings. It can assist in controlling your anxiety.

Do Regular Exercise

Considered as a natural and a very potent anti-anxiety treatment, exercise can help manage OCD symptoms. Since it strengthens your nervous system, it can help you refocus when compulsions and obsessive thoughts occur. For best results, you can do regular aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes, especially if you focus all your attention on your movements.

Get Sufficient Amount of Sleep

Insomnia is commonly caused by distress and anxiety. However, it can also be the other way around. Insufficient sleep can aggravate your anxiousness. It is easier to achieve emotional balance if you feel well-rested. Remember, emotional balance is a vital factor when coping with OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Perform Relaxation Techniques

How to stop OCD thoughts? OCD symptoms are typically triggered and aggravated by stress. To help you reduce your tension and overall stress, you can do relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and mindful meditation. You can get best results by regularly doing these techniques.

Always Keep in Touch with Your Relatives and Friends

OCD symptoms can be all-consuming to a point that you start isolating yourself from society. This will only aggravate your symptoms. Thus, it is crucial to invest some time in connecting with your love ones. Telling them about your urges and worries will make you feel better by making them less threatening.

2. Challenge Your Obsessive Thoughts

When you have an obsessive-compulsive disorder, your brain is trapped on a specific thought that triggers anxiety. So, how to stop your OCD thoughts? The following strategies can help you free yourself.

Record Your Worries or Obsessive Thoughts

When your obsession starts, record all your compulsions. You can write them in a journal, or you can type them in your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

  • Your primary aim is to exactly record your thoughts. Even if you are repeatedly writing similar phrases or urges, just keep writing them as your OCD urges occur.
  •  Through your records, you will be able to see your obsession’s frequency.
  • As time goes by, you will notice that your urges have weakened as you repeatedly write phrases or urges.
  • When you are writing, you put more effort into it, compared to just thinking about it. Because of this, your obsession will most likely disappear soon.

Build a Worry Period for Your OCD

How to stop OCD thoughts? Instead of trying to repress your compulsions or obsessions, you can also reschedule them.

  • “Worry periods” are periods (one or two 10 minute periods) you can allot for your obsession every day. To create one, you have to set a place and time that will not make you feel anxious before you go to sleep. For example, you can obsess in your living room during 7:00 to 7:10 A.M. and 6:00 to 6:10 P.M.
  • Once you’ve set your worry period, use it to focus on your urges and negative thoughts without correcting them. Afterwards, you can relax and take some deep breaths, let go of your urges and thoughts, and go back to your usual routine or activities.
  • Whenever you are having urges or thoughts after your worry period, write them and try to postpone them till your next worry period.

Change the Focus of Your Attention

Another method you can try is to change the focus of your attention. You can do this by thinking or doing something else when your obsessive thoughts begin. Yes, this is easier said than done. You can do the following:

  • To change the focus of your attention, you can do an enjoyable activity, such as playing mobile or video games, listening to a calming or your favorite music, browsing the web, etc. You will be able to delay your response to your urges by doing an enjoyable activity for 15 minutes or more.
  • Afterwards, you can reassess your urges. In most cases, the intensity of these urges will lessen. Try extending the time you spend in delaying your urges. The longer you delay it, the higher the chance that you regain control over your actions is.

3. Receive Appropriate Treatment

Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

How to stop OCD thoughts through CBT? Overall, the main goal of CBT is to teach you various ways of behaving, thinking and reacting to the compulsions and obsessions. Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is a variety of CBT that helps a lot of patients get better from their OCD. In this treatment, you are gradually exposed to your obsessions or fears. Afterwards, you are taught healthy ways on how to deal with your anxiety.

Take Medication

To help treat a person’s OCD, doctors may prescribe various types of drugs such as clomipramine, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It will take about 10 to 12 weeks before these drugs start working.

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