The very nature of OCD and the fact that it can be so consuming on you energy and spirit often makes it difficult to see what has gone well. Sometimes we can be so sunken with it, that we don’t even want to notice the good, like the sheer habit of the obsessing has become so comfortable, that noticing positive things can seem quite alien.
Take note of your progress
My message is that you have made progress and you will continue to do so. The problem though comes with noticing that progress and reinforcing it.
Now you might be someone who is fully aware of all their wins. Perhaps you’ve been trialling defusion techniques, perhaps you’ve been doing exposure work or maybe you have deepened your meditation practice. But even if you are this person you can enhance that progress by being more aware of it.
You may already know that awareness is at the centre of getting over OCD, but awareness of what exactly? Often it’s awareness of our own thoughts and habits of rumination, as without this, it can be very hard to change them. But today i’m talking about a different kind of awareness, one that has a focus on what is going right, rather than it’s opposite.
When we train our awareness to be focused on the things we are doing right, we begin to spot them more often and are more likely to repeat them in the future. This is why I encourage people to journal about any small success they have with their OCD. Ultimately what we are doing here is building a stronger sense of gratitude.
Focus on gratitude
For me, gratitude is one of the states that you can cultivate that is the antithesis of the OCD state of mind. When stuck in the OCD mind we are pushing things away. We are upset and frustrated and we desperately want things to change as soon as possible.
I’ve been there myself and I know how this feels. Unfortunately the more we focus on this state of not having what we need, of not being good enough or not having the right resources to get better, the longer we are going to stay stuck.
I find that building a sense of gratitude for all the things that have gone right is the perfect way to counter this negative narrative and to turn down radio OCD before it leads us down into the darkness.
You will have made some progress
If you struggle with OCD and read this blog, then i’m certain that you have made some progress this year with your OCD. Perhaps you’ve made progress with a particular theme or have worked on acceptance. Maybe you have been better at being present with your family and friends or just have a better understanding of what causes your rumination.
My challenge for you today is to reflect on what progress you think you have made over the year, small or large. To take it a step further you could even journal about it as this well help you to deepen the reflection. As you are writing things down, try to allow yourself to feel a sense of gratitude for these accomplishments.
If journaling isn’t for you, you can even try visualisation. Close your eyes and bring to mind a time when you were successful at dealing with OCD. Watch yourself being confident in this scene and if you can, try to generate a subtle sense of gratitude. I sometimes find purposefully putting a half smile on my face when doing this can be helpful.
There are ways out of OCD and you don’t need to be stuck and struggling with it forever. Part of this process is taking the time to identify the things that are going right and focusing on that sense of gratitude for this.