Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When you practice mindfulness, you are training your brain to not automatically react in a negative way to thoughts and feelings. It’s essentially teaching yourself not to have strong reactions, which can be helpful for people with OCD.
This article will teach you how to deal with obsessive thoughts by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can help you live more fully in the present moment instead of feeling overly consumed by thoughts about the past or future. What’s more, it can help you find peace in even the most difficult moments.
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a serious neuropsychiatric condition that can be debilitating. It is characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors that the sufferer has difficulty resisting or stopping.
OCD can cause obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, which might include repeatedly checking locks on doors, washing hands until they are raw, or hoarding items. These thoughts and behaviors can make it hard to function at work or school or in relationships.
Obsessions are unpleasant thoughts that come into your mind. It’s not that you want these thoughts to come, but they just do. Sometimes the thoughts are about harm coming to yourself or someone you love, but other times it might be about germs or something else really odd.
The cause of OCD has not yet been definitively determined by scientists, but there are several theories that explain why some people experience such strong and intrusive thoughts.
It has been hypothesized that in OCD sufferers, the brain has difficulty turning off certain impulses.
For instance, a person suffering from obsessive compulsive thoughts may experience mildly irritating feelings that they left the oven on, even though they are sure they did not, to fearful thoughts that simply thinking negatively might harm others.
Another theory suggests that the cause may be psychological and that people with OCD place too much importance – through no fault of their own – on the kinds of intrusive thoughts that everyone experiences from time to time.
Obsessive compulsive thoughts are often triggered by stress, depression and traumatic life events, which, while not thought of as causes, can exacerbate pre-existing problems.
OCD sufferers often have unwanted thoughts or images that repeatedly enter their minds, leading them to feel anxious or distressed. They may believe that their thoughts will cause bad things to happen if they don’t act on them, or even that they can cause bad things just by thinking them.
Symptoms of OCD may include:
- Picking of skin
- Repeated washing of hands
- Checking locks on doors
- Arranging and rearranging objects
- Repeatedly checking to see if doors are locked or stove is turned off
- Feeling the need to organize things perfectly
The good news is that mindfulness techniques can help you deal with these intrusive thoughts. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment – without judging it.
Mindfulness has been shown to help with anxiety and stress, so the practice can be useful for those struggling with OCD.
Mind-Blowing Ways To Beat Obsessive Thoughts Without Medication
The feeling of anxiety is familiar to most people. You may feel it when giving a speech, during an important meeting, or before taking an exam. It’s normal for your body to feel anxious in these situations. But if you experience anxiety so often that it begins to interfere with your daily life, this could be one of the signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
If you think you’re experiencing OCD, there are some important steps you can take to help manage your symptoms and get the treatment that’s right for you.
Anxiety and obsessive thoughts can be managed through practicing mindfulness.
Here are some helpful ways to practice mindfulness:
- Notice your thoughts without judgment
- Practice self-compassion
- Accept yourself as you are
- Be mindful when engaging with others
Researchers have found that regular mindfulness practice can help our brains become better at controlling impulses by promoting growth in the parts of the brain responsible for impulse control. In other words, mindfulness may be very useful for people who struggle with obsessive impulses.
Another common mindfulness technique used for OCD is self-compassion. Self-compassion entails self-kindness and acceptance, which can be practiced by using phrases like “This is an unpleasant feeling” or “I’m noticing this thought.”
By cultivating patience and kindness within ourselves, we can develop a more positive relationship with our thoughts. As we become aware of impulses through mindfulness, our brains can also handle them better, just as exercising makes our muscles stronger and more resilient to stress.
How To Use Mindfulness Meditation To Overcome Your OCD?
The most common technique that can help you manage obsessive thoughts is mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is a practice of sitting and paying attention to your breath and bodily sensations without judgment or analysis.
While stuck in repetitive or obsessive thought cycles, we fail to be present. Instead, we ruminate about how what we have said or done may have negatively affected others. By practicing mindfulness, you become aware of what’s happening in the present moment.
Research has shown that mindfulness can help us control impulses.
Because cognitive therapy alone seemed to lack what OCD patients needed, I cast about for something else. My return to meditation now convinced me that the best way to treat OCD would involve an approach informed by the concept of mindfulness.from The Mind and the Brain by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Sharon Begley
I felt that if I could help patients to experience the OCD symptom without reacting emotionally to the discomfort it causes, realizing instead that even the most visceral OCD urge is actually no more than the manifestation of a brain wiring defect, it might be tremendously therapeutic.
The more patients could experience the feeling impersonally, as it were, the less would react emotionally or take it at face value. They would not be overwhelmed by the sense that the obsession had to be acted on and could better actualize what they knew intellectually: that the obsession makes no sense.
While practicing mindfulness meditation, we give our brain something to focus on (for example, the breath), while at the same time, catching our mind when it wanders away from that focal point, and gently bringing it back. As we become more observant of our thoughts, we can be more patient while dealing with impulses and urges, rather than acting on each and every one.
Transform Your Mental Health with OCD Breathing: The Power of Mindfulness
It’s time to reclaim control and start living in the present moment. Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help you do just that. By focusing your attention on your breathing, you can train your mind to stay grounded in the present and not let those obsessive thoughts take over.
The first step to harnessing the power of mindfulness for OCD is learning how to do the “OCD Breathing” exercise. This simple, yet effective technique will help you shift your focus from those intrusive thoughts and into the present moment.
Here’s how to get started:
- Find a comfortable seated position with your back straight.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach, just below your belly button.
- Close your eyes and focus solely on your breathing. Take in the sensation of air moving in and out of your nose or mouth. Pay attention to the feeling of your chest expanding and relaxing.
- Keep your focus on your breathing for a few minutes, letting any thoughts come and go without engaging with them.
By paying attention to the physical sensations of breathing, such as the movement of air in and out of your nose or the expansion and relaxation of your chest, you can gain greater control over your obsessive-compulsive thoughts and find a sense of grounding in the present moment.
The key to unlocking the benefits of mindfulness for OCD is consistent practice.
Living With OCD? Learn To Trust Yourself Again With Mindfulness
Living with OCD can feel like a never-ending cycle of anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors. But what if I told you that there’s a way to break free from that cycle and reclaim control over your life? That way is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that helps you focus on the present moment and become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. By being present in the moment, you’ll start to develop a greater self-compassion and kindness towards yourself.
The next time you’re facing an obsessive thought, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes and allow the thought to come and go without giving it too much attention. This simple practice will help you gain perspective and make the obsessive thought less intimidating.
To truly reap the benefits of mindfulness, it takes consistent daily practice. But trust me, the rewards are worth it. Not only will you develop better mindfulness skills, but you’ll also gain greater freedom to live the life you want. So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey to trust yourself again with mindfulness!”