Category Archives: Mindfulness

Do You Have Trouble Getting Out of Bed?

The importance of managing physical energy seems obvious right? But, if you are working on defying OCD and bossing it back, then you’re probably focused on Exposure & Response Prevention(ERP) and barely thinking about your physical energy. Yet, without physical energy it’s difficult to think clearly, focus on the task at hand, or have enough wherewithal to face fears.

One of the keys to bossing it back is having enough physical energy—enough fuel. A car can’t run without enough fuel and neither can the human body.

Simply put, physical energy comes from a balance of glucose levels. The amount of energy we have depends on what we eat, what time we eat and how we breathe and sleep.

Are you someone who has no energy in the morning? When you wake up how long has it been since your last meal or snack? Possibly 12-16 hours! And the snack was probably sugar, like a bowl of ice cream!

Do you skip breakfast or grab a quick carb as you’re heading out the door? It’s actually recommended that to balance glucose levels we “graze” by eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day.

Ask a “go-getter” about his or her diet and they’ll tell you they avoid carbs and sugar and eat plenty of almonds, apples, avocados, bananas, beets, blueberries, broccoli, cashews, cherries, eggs, wild-caught fish, kale, and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Foods that are low glycemic or high in L-Tryosine slowly release glucose. Slow release prevents the crash and burn you get from sugar spikes.

Do you overeat? Recently I was on a cruise and one of the waiters at dinner asked if he could surprise my table with a 12-course IMG_1295-1meal. We felt adventurous and said sure! We had no idea what he would bring us. I must say it was glorious! So yummy. But, by 7:30pm we were all ready for bed! We were unable to enjoy any of the night time activities. This is an example of too much fuel!!!

This is day 20 of a 30 day challenge. Consider your diet. Accept the challenge of being mindful of what you eat and when you eat.

What’s the Purpose of Exposure & Response Prevention?

The most widely used treatment for OCD is Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP.)

ERP is very effective when done right. The reason it works is because it updates the brain. In the past I’ve used other words to explain the effects of ERP. I’ve said “ERP is like getting a front-end alignment” and “ERP works because it re-calibrates the brain.”

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I recently received this tweet: “Recalibration is such a robotic word. Why do you think we apply inhuman words to ourselves?” While I don’t think we are robots, we sure can act like robots.

Studies suggest that 90% of what we do, we’re not even clear why we’re doing it. We have free will but without mindfulness we do only what the brain does by default:

1. Watch for danger and
2. Conserve energy.

If you don’t take your brain off automatic pilot your brain focuses on one thing: survival. Every single unwanted intrusive thought is about somebody’s safety. Every single mental act or compulsion is about reducing threat.

It’s all about safety and survival. Every time you resist a ritual or compulsion, you’re recalibrating or making tiny adjustments in the brain. Every time you expose yourself to a “threat” you are updating your brain.

Every tiny adjustment leads to an eventual rewiring of the brain. It takes time. Be patient. Engage in ERP and your brain will heal.

But, I digress and haven’t answered the question. Isn’t it inhumane to use a robotic word like “recalibrate” to reference humans? This never occurred to me and it would never be my intention to be inhumane.

I don’t think of OCD as a psychological problem as much as a neurological problem. How one reacts to OCD is psychological but the problem itself is faulty wiring within the brain. So that’s why I use mechanical terms I guess.

But, now that I know it can be hurtful I will certainly be more mindful of my choice of words. It just felt good to have one word that captured the science behind neuroplasticity (the brain’s capacity to change.)

If you’re keeping a journal answer these three questions:

What could you discover by confronting OCD and conducting exposure exercises?
How might you get stuck if you don’t engage in ERP?
How can you make it real and take action today?