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6 Ways To Beat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

6 Ways To Beat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

“Oh, I’m a bit OCD…” – we have all heard this phrase, people say it almost as a boast. Well, I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and people who do suffer will know that it can be an almost debilitating condition which can prevent you living your life.

A little background… I have no idea where my OCD came from, I don’t have a traumatic memory or some obvious trigger but I started to find that certain things were becoming more difficult for me. I have a form of OCD that encompasses checking, ‘is the door locked’, ‘is the gas off’ – what started as me having to double check something, such as going back to check I had actually locked the front door became a nightmare when I would have to check a number of times, I used to get to my office and have to turn around and go back to check again.

OCD is a ridiculous condition,  as an adult you know if you have or haven’t done something but OCD is the demon that sits on your shoulder and says ‘have you?’, worse it will make you think of all of the impossible things that will happen because of your actions. You will think… ‘Oh no I left the iron on.’ immediately you will think ‘…and the house will burn down’, ‘…and people will die.’ so you find yourself going back and checking. You create routines, I had to check each knob on my gas cooker three times each to be sure I could safely go to bed, even if I had not used the cooker on that day.

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For me my life was becoming increasingly difficult, I was regularly late for work as I had to complete my checking routines and it was affecting my relationships so I knew I had to change, but did not know how.

I have to say upfront that I am not a medical doctor and the advice I offer worked for me, it may not do so for everyone, there are no guarantees, however I hope this will be useful, sensible advice for anyone who is suffering.

1. Realize You Have An Issue

The first and most important step for me was to admit that I was suffering and that this was no way to continue. I had tolerated the compulsive behaviour for a long time and made a conscious decision to change.

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2. Understand What OCD Means To You

I analysed the issues I was encountering, I had problems with checking and with doing certain things three times. Recognising that this was what I was doing meant I could start to make changes.

3. Start to stop…

Recognising what I was doing, for example, checking my door was locked three times did not mean I could stop this action straight away. I knew what I was doing was a compulsive reaction, but my mind was telling me I had to keep doing it. So I looked for steps to mitigate the actions. I would tie a knot in my handkerchief when I knew I had locked the door (touch the knot and know it was done. I still often had to go back and check again but it was a support). Then I created a leaving the house checklist, a small pad that looked like this.

  • Gas off           Yes
  • Iron off           Yes
  • Door locked   Yes

When I then felt myself trying to recheck I would look at the list rather than go back and physically check.

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4. Realize This is Not An Instant Process

I wish I could say ‘and I stopped overnight’ – sorry, it took ages, even with a checklist my mind would not let me walk away. However, I was getting closer, I would maybe check twice not three times, eventually I was able to stop rechecking the physical items and just believe the list and further on from this I was able to stop all together.

5. Recognize When You Carry Out An OCD Action

When I am stressed I can find myself doing things which I now recognize as OCD. Stupid stuff in my case, for example having to tread on a certain manhole cover on my walk to walk, I realized I was ‘having to do it’, changing direction to carry out the action. When I recognized that I was doing something like this I would tell myself (often out loud) that this was an OCD reaction and force myself to stop doing it. The idea was to try to stop doing something before it became ingrained.

6. Talk To Others

It was difficult to admit, first to my doctor and then my partner that I had OCD, but when I did I realized that there are people out there who will help you and try to support. Not everyone will understand, but help is out there.

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I have to admit that I still sometimes carry out actions which could be OCD routines however I am now very good at spotting them and stopping myself repeating them. I am more aware and open about my condition and, I am pleased to say, I have not double checked my front door in many years. So, if you do suffer, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Good luck!

Featured photo credit: FIU News via news.fiu.edu

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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