5 Strategies to Cope with Your OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted and intrusive thoughts and urges (obsessions) that cause anxiety and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) a person performs to ease that anxiety. If you struggle with obsessions and compulsions, counseling can be a safe place to learn how to cope with OCD and regain your life.
How to Cope with OCD
You can also learn and develop methods to help you manage your obsessive-compulsive disorder. Here are five different ways to deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Here are five strategies to cope with OCD.
1. Learn about your OCD
The first step in learning how to manage OCD is getting informed about your condition. This can help you understand which type you have (contamination, harm, hoarding, checking, etc.). OCD is a heterogeneous condition with a wide range of symptoms. Knowing the subtype you fall into can help you get the proper treatment.
Many people quickly become consumed by self-blame, guilt, and shame for having OCD. Learning about OCD can help relieve the weight of guilt and shame by helping you understand that you have a medical illness and that you don’t need to feel bad about yourself for that.
2. Prioritize Self-Care
Taking good care of yourself is essential to learning how to cope with OCD, as self-care strategies can help reduce stress and improve your well-being. Self-care may be defined as everything you do regularly that enables you to maintain your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Therefore, it is vital to make sure that you:
- Get adequate sleep
- Stick to a nutritious diet
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Engage in activities that bring joy and help you feel good about yourself
3. Practice Mindfulness
During a mindfulness exercise, you practice paying attention to the here and now without judgment. Mindfulness can help you manage OCD by increasing self-awareness and teaching you to observe your thoughts and feelings without becoming overwhelmed. This way, mindfulness helps reduce anxiety.
4. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity is a great way to boost mood, reduce stress, and ease anxiety because it helps the brain release chemicals (called endorphins) that can make you feel better. Exercise can also help reduce your OCD symptoms by providing a distraction from obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.
5. Try Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
If you struggle to manage your symptoms and go about your daily life, OCD counseling could help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for OCD that can help you identify your triggers, recognize your negative thought patterns and behaviors, and then replace them with positive ones.
Most of the time, OCD symptoms get better when exposure response prevention (ERP) and other cognitive-behavioral therapies are used with medication.
ERP includes voluntary, repeated exposure to the source of your anxiety until you learn to tolerate distress caused by your obsession without resourcing to compulsive behaviors.
ERP has proven to be the most successful treatment for OCD. However, it is essential to work with a therapist to determine the best OCD treatment for your unique needs so you can learn how to cope with OCD and live the life you deserve.