Dealing with obsessive thoughts

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When it comes to obsessive thoughts and compulsive disorders, sometimes giving in a little rather than struggling against the problem will help overcome it.

It can at least give you a better sense of controlling it, rather than the obsession controlling you.

According to Dr. George Simon, PhD, one of the best things to come out of cognitive-behavioral approach to treating OCD is a redirection in perspective of the obsession. Regarding the obsession as an insurmountable problem that must be denied or controlled only exacerbates the experience. Obsessing over the obsession creates anxiety, stress and a sense of helplessness that can be self-defeating and harmful.

Tips for Dealing with Obsessive Thoughts

Simon recommends that a person in the OCD cycle get help from a cognitive-behavioral therapist who specializes in the disorder. In addition to that, he has three tips for dealing with obsessive thoughts:

  1. Try to attach less importance to the obsession than you currently are. Try to look at the obsessive thoughts as an annoyance rather than a life-defeating affliction. Don’t spend a lot of time trying not to think about it. Instead, tell yourself it’s temporary, it will go away, and re-direct your attention to something you enjoy and can become engaged in.
  2. Gain a sense of self control by exposing yourself to the object of your obsession a little bit at a time, not unlike acclimating to a new environment or a vaccination. Occasionally look at a photo of the object, just long enough to turn away and move on. Doing so will disempower the item and empower you. It will make the object a less powerful trigger when you do confront it at a time you weren’t expecting.
  3. Learn some stress reduction skills. Acquire techniques to calm your thoughts. Yoga, tai chi, simple deep breathing all can help reduce stress, lower heart rates and improve GABA production which levels out mood.

These tips plus the help of a profession will keep the OCD from being as debilitating.

Source: Dr. George Simon/CounsellingResource

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