This is the second in a series of blogs about mindset and OCD. In the previous blog I talked about the importance of self compassion. This time we´ll be taking a look at specific attitudes to adopt, that will really help you to manage OCD more effectively. As well as discussing some techniques that will help you tobe more present and focused.
Acceptance Comes First
The first and most important thing with getting the right mindset for OCD and anxiety is having a general attitude of acceptance for whatever comes up. Obviously, we have talked a lot about acceptance in this course and how to build it. So practicing those skills will definitely help you with the following. What I would suggest doing then, to start building the right mindset, is at the start of the day, to just remind yourself that it´s possible that OCD & anxiety may show up today and if it does then that´s ok because you have the skills necessary to deal with it.
This sounds very simple in theory and may not seem like it would change much, but actually it´s incredibly helpful. You are effectively giving your brain the message that you don´t care if OCD shows up or not and when we take that attitude, OCD loses a lot of it´s power over us. You can gently keep reminding yourself, that whatever comes up, you will deal with it in the moment.
This is a life affirming attitude, one that gives you back some control over the thoughts and feelings. It´s empowering to know, that whatever comes up, you can deal with it. Even if you think it may not exactly be true deep down inside (we have OCD, we are always going to have some nagging doubts), just allow the doubt to be there in the background and get on with your day.
If OCD does come up throughout the day, we do our best to accept it and then practice defusion to get ourselves off the hook, whilst remembering that it´s ok for the obsessive thoughts to be there. So to recap, the right mindset for OCD and anxiety is:
-Try to have a general accepting attitude to whatever thoughts or feelings that come up.
-Remind yourself that OCD might come up today and that it´s not a problem if it does.
-If OCD and anxiety do show up, apply the skills from this course and try to allow the thoughts and feelings to be there in the background as you gently keep bringing your attention back to what matters.
Act As If
This isn´t an ACT technique, but it´s something that I do that I find particularly helpful. You may have come across it before and the basic premise is to act as if you already are feeling positive and care free. Now it´s important to say here that this is not positive thinking and you are not trying to forcibly change your thoughts from positive to negative (as we know, this tends to make things worse). Instead, what we are doing is thinking about the attitudes and body language of people who seem positive and calm and we try to impersonate it. So for example people who are confident and calm tend to have positive body language.
Often even if we aren’t feeling confident or worry free, if we hold out bodies in a positive way, then the feelings of positivity can start to follow. You can practice this by simply experimenting with your body language. Try keeping the spine straight and chest slightly out, but with the shoulders relaxed. If you can, try to retain this throughout the day and notice the difference in how you feel.
Try to be Present
Another good way of acting as if is when you are communicating with people, to really try to be as present as possible. To really listen to what the other person is saying and to look them in the eye as they speak. Then when it´s your turn to speak you can even try becoming a little more animated in what you have to say. If you do this, it will help you to stay anchored in the present moment and less likely to get carried away by obsessive thoughts.
Again, people who are relaxed tend to be in the present moment and able to listen well, so by impersonating them, we can start to feel a little more as they do. A word of warning here though. When doing this, it helps to be subtle, people don´t like it when you are clearly impersonating them 😉 Whilst we are doing for a good reason, we are trying to get the right mindset for OCD and anxiety, we don´t want to upset people at the same time.
Another simple way to change how you feel is just to force yourself to smile, even when you don´t want to. Research shows that smiling (even a fake smile) influences how we feel in a positive way. These techniques aren’t going to solve everything, but they can get you moving in the right direction when you´re feeling a bit stuck.
As we have discussed, getting the right mindset can make all the difference for OCD & anxiety. If you can get this right and start practicing some of the attitudes and techniques discussed here, it will really help you to feel a little more in control. Coaching can really help you to internalize these skills and get the most out of them. OCD doesn´t have to be something you just suffer from, you can overcome it. To find out more about my coaching and to get the free mini video course for OCD and anxiety you can go to my website www.robertjamescoaching.com
#ocd #mindset #anxiety #pureo #pureocd #acceptance #act #change