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Self-help strategies for living with OCD

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Get the facts about OCD

Learn as much as you possibly can about your illness. OCD is a chronic illness that requires day-to-day management of symptoms instead of focusing on an ultimate cure.
Having a chronic illness requires that you become an expert on your condition and getting informed is the first step.

Learn to cope with stress

Learn good coping strategies for dealing with stress like getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, meditation, and sticking with your treatment plan.

Manage your anxiety

Learn techniques for coping with worry, such as analysing the probability of what you're worried about actually happening and deciding how to cope with the worst-case scenario should it happen, is a valuable self-help strategy.

Practise relaxation techniques

Given that stress and worry are major triggers of OCD symptoms, one of the best ways to boost your OCD self-help skills is to learn and practice a number of relaxation techniques.
Deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can be very effective additions to any OCD self-help strategy.

Get moving

There is growing evidence that exercise such as running may be an important OCD self-help strategy for reducing the frequency and intensity of OCD symptoms.

Practise mindfulness

Try practising mindfulness which emphasises a non-judgemental awareness of bodily sensations, sights, sounds, thoughts, and emotions.
Mindfulness may help you become less invested in your thoughts and help you to realise that a thought is just a collection of words or images and is nothing to fear in itself. This can help to reduce thought-action fusion, a psychological process that can make OCD symptoms worse.

Explore alternative therapies

St. John's Wort is one popular herbal remedy for anxiety but do note that the evidence is mixed with respect to its effectiveness. Do consult your doctor before starting any such treatment to prevent clinical significant interactions with other medications.

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