Living with OCD and anxiety can feel like overwhelming and exhausting. Constantly feeling like you have to do certain things to ease your anxiety can mean there is less time to engage in the things you really care about. The journey towards managing OCD and anxiety can be challenging, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can regain control of your life. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten tips that can help you cope with OCD and anxiety on a daily basis. Embrace the challenges ahead, and let’s dive in!
Embrace risk: Accept that risk is an inherent part of everyone’s life. People with OCD and anxiety do not have to live with any more uncertainty than anyone else. Remember, not recovering is the biggest risk of all. You know what life looks like when we are ruled by OCD. Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing risk is necessary for growth.
Face your fears: Confront anxiety head-on by leaning into it. Overcoming fears requires facing them directly. Embrace the discomfort and recognise that it’s an essential step towards recovery.
Don’t resist or suppress thoughts: Trying to prevent or suppress your thoughts only leads to increased anxiety and more thoughts. Embrace them as a part of your experience and redirect your focus gradually.
Agree with obsessive thoughts: Engaging in debates with your obsessive thoughts, or analysing them, is counterproductive. The answers will never satisfy OCD and it will only want more, making you more anxious. Instead, agree with them without delving too deep into details. Acknowledge their presence and move forward without putting too much importance on them. OCD never makes sense, so engaging with it will only make things more difficult.
Avoid reassurance-seeking: Seeking reassurance is a compulsion. All compulsions hamper your progress and make OCD stronger. Instead of seeking reassurance, acknowledge that the worst-case scenario may happen and focus on resisting the urge to seek comfort. Be mindful of not providing yourself with reassurance either.
Embrace imperfection: Avoid criticising yourself and labelling yourself as a failure for minor slip-ups. Everyone makes mistakes during their journey, especially when learning new skills. It’s part of the journey. It doesn’t mean you’re failing; it means you’re learning and getting outside your comfort zone. Progress shouldn’t look perfect, or you’re not challenging yourself enough. Treat setbacks as learning opportunities and remember that a lapse does not equate to a relapse.
Expect the unexpected: Intrusive thoughts can strike anytime, anywhere. Don’t let them surprise you: expect them. Have a growth-oriented mindset, where you view each as an opportunity to engage differently with OCD. Be prepared to utilise your therapy tools whenever they arise.
Take responsibility for your progress: While support from others is valuable, the responsibility for managing your symptoms lies with you. Avoid relying on others to push or motivate you. You are the one who will make a lasting difference in your life. Check in with yourself and make changes daily so that you can always be mindful of OCD. Give treatment your full attention and communicate with your therapist.
Be patient with your progress: Comparing yourself to others or becoming impatient with your progress is unproductive. Focus on each day’s therapy homework and celebrate the small victories you achieve along the way. Recognise how far you’ve come by looking back at things that are no longer challenging for you.
Choose the more challenging path: When given a choice between two confronting situations, opt for the more difficult one whenever possible. This allows you to push your boundaries and accelerate your progress.
Coping with OCD and anxiety demands resilience, determination, and a willingness to challenge yourself. Remember that progress is not always linear, and setbacks are part of the journey. By adopting these ten tips and embracing the challenges ahead, you can build a foundation for managing your OCD and anxiety more effectively. Keep moving forward, celebrate your successes, and never forget that you have the strength to conquer these conditions.
Blog post written by Sally Youdale, Clinical Psychology Registrar at The OCD Clinic. If you have questions about psychological therapy please contact our intake team: email@example.com