An OCD thriver reached out to me to talk about how he made self-care a priority in his life. Because it made such a difference in his life he became passionate about sharing how to do it with others.
Here is his information if you want to learn more:
Life have you feeling upside down? Self-care has never been more important.
One thing that’s for sure… whether it’s OCD or an unexpected pandemic. Life is certainly full of unexpected surprises that can leave you feeling upside down.
The last time I wrote for Tammy’s blog I was in a very different phase of recovery. Since then I have spent the last year focusing on how to incorporate a healthier balance in my life.
By healthier balance, I mean both physical and mental habits that have had a significant impact on my overall well-being. Focusing on regular exercise, eating habits, mindfulness, gratitude, and other practices have been a significant contributor to my ability to handle the sideshow that can be running at any time in my mind.
My goal with these practices is not to eliminate any feeling or use this as a distraction. My mindset on OCD is that I will have this newfound annoying best friend for the rest of my life and while it can be challenging… there are many things I can do to better prepare myself for the long haul.
While not perfect… believe me I still have incredibly challenging days. One of my newfound purposes in life is to try and help others incorporate healthier habits into their lives and help them find their own purpose and find the belief to make sustainable changes in their life regardless of any failed attempts in the past.
With all that is going on in the world, it can feel very overwhelming and be quite… anxiety-producing itself. Now more than ever it’s incredibly important to make self-care a priority. Taking care of yourself allows you to be there for others and better support them.
Incorporating change doesn’t need to be scary… it doesn’t have to be a new fad diet or unrealistic weight loss expectations. Everyone’s journey is unique and like OCD treatment it isn’t a one size fits all package.
Whether or not you are interested in working together I would appreciate you checking out my site at:
I would love to chat and answer any questions you may have. I do believe that with simple changes the effects of adopting a healthier lifestyle are incredibly powerful and am looking forward to helping you achieve whatever your personal goals are.
Grappling with OCD is no easy task. There is a continuous need to “boss it back” and face fears without compulsions. The best way to live well with OCD is to accept obsessions and resist compulsions—through the use of Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP.)
It’s true, ERP is not for the faint of heart. Committing to ERP requires a willingness to experience emotional pain. I’m not saying the pain will definitely occur. To one’s surprise, sometimes it doesn’t—the anticipation of confronting a fear can be worse than facing it!
In comparison, avoidance causes more pain than confronting. But, if facing a fear does cause discomfort, it’s usually short-lived.
When I give advice to face a fear, a client almost always says, “easier said than done.” Listen, I know it’s scary to give up trying to prevent bad things from happening. But, you’ve got your head in the sand if you think it’s easier to live a life of compulsions! No matter what you do (Feed OCD or Boss it Back), it ain’t going to be easy!
No matter what you do, it’s going to be hard. But you have strengths to help you face any challenge. By tapping into your strengths you will feel stronger and more daring.
After you answer those questions you’ll hopefully make the right choice and boss it back through Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP).
Once you take the plunge and immerse yourself in ERP, the reward of freedom and independence is well-worth the hard work of saying “no” to OCD. Besides, most people admit that feeding OCD only turns fear into terror, and pain into long-lasting agony.
It’s best to confront and not avoid; accept uncertainty, and not seek reassurance. BE DARING. You’re stronger than you think. You can endure the difficult times. You can defy OCD.
Focus on your strengths and not your shortcomings and you will be able to confront OCD. Theodore Roosevelt, (yes, the man who once gave a 90-minute speech just after being shot, with the bullet still lodged in his chest) said it best:
The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strived valiantly; who errs, who comes again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
What’s interesting about this quote is that Teddy Roosevelt is bringing into focus the need to emphasize strengths, not shortcomings. He displays a growth mindset and highlights the importance of being daring.
Daring people believe everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people with OCD, it’s this: being daring is your superpower. But, I’ve also noticed that your superpower vanishes quickly when you get down on yourself.
Every person is unique and has the potential to change. You can live well with OCD. The key is to capitalize on your strengths and pay no mind to your shortcomings. You reinforce your shortcomings by focusing on them!
The secret to being daring is to focus on your strengths, not weaknesses or deficits. Imagine what is possible when you take advantage of your strengths! Did you know that by focusing on your strengths your shortcomings will spontaneously combust? Focus your efforts on developing your strengths and the rest will take care of itself.
You’re an over thinker and this is a shortcoming. But it’s not a good idea to try and improve by thinking less. We know where that takes you. Trying not to think makes you think more! But perhaps one of your strengths is that you are known for your high level of energy. Focus on your strength of being more action-oriented, and you won’t have time to overthink.
Spend your time nurturing your strengths and not your shortcomings. This will make you more daring. Focusing on your weaknesses makes it harder to confront fear because your shortcomings make you feel weak. Whereas, developing and improving upon your strengths increases brain activity, releases happy juices (serotonin/dopamine) and makes you feel strong.
Think about who you want to be and how you want to spend your time. Do you want to be the person in the arena that Teddy Roosevelt is describing or, do you want to be like this person:
At the moment, I’m feeling like a victim. I’m having bad thoughts one right after the other. This is depressing. I thought I was done having intrusive thoughts. I feel like I’m being attacked from all sides. My family refuses to acknowledge how hard my life is. Yes, I have a victim mentality, but I don’t think I always have this. I’m trying really hard, and no one is giving me any credit. Having OCD is frustrating.
What’s interesting about this person is that s/he is focused on the problem, not the solution. There is no mention of this person’s strengths. We are not responsible for being down but we are responsible for getting up.
Focus on Strengths and Be More Daring
When an exposure exercise starts to get easy ask, “How can I be even more daring?” Dare to feel uncomfortable and life changes. Your strengths can help you be more daring.
Conduct a personal inventory NOW of all your strengths—these might include:
Special interests passions/desires
If you have trouble describing your strengths:
Imagine being 60+ years old. What would you tell your younger self to focus on? Would you tell your younger self to self-loathe and hopelessly concentrate on weaknesses?
What if you could be someone else for 30 minutes. What would your other self be like?
Try identifying your strengths from someone else’s point of view. “My best friend says that I am willing to be vulnerable (yes that’s a strength) and that I’m thoughtful.”
Recalling one of your own strategies from a past success of risk-taking, what advice would you give to a friend who doesn’t feel very daring.
What personality traits help you to keep going even when times are hard?
Think about something you’re good at. Now, ask yourself, “why?” Why are you good at it? Next ask if you can get even better at it. How?
Another way to identify your strengths is to take an online assessment:
There is a $15 fee but the results are worth it. Just make sure you rate yourself fairly. No self-loathing allowed! Use plenty of positive adjectives. Be comprehensive. The more adjectives you use, the better your report will be.
Use this free code (YOU-bossitback) to discover what’s fascinating about you. (This code can only be used a limited number of times—so 1st come 1st serve!) Go to HowToFascinate.com/YOU Enter the code (YOU-bossitback) + your information. Click the “Start Now” button.
3. This is a more costly assessment but highly informative and popular.
Once you have identified some of your strengths, it’s time to take advantage of them!
Nurture Your Strength
Take one of your strengths and on a scale of 1-10 how high would you score this strength? For example, let’s say you think you are a 7 when it comes to being kind/loving. Now think about steps you could take to raise the score to an 8 or 9. Perhaps one of the steps would be to set Alexis to start your day with a daily affirmation. (Developing self-compassion.)
Communicate Your Strength When Talking Back to OCD
“I know you are afraid right now OCD. You’re leaning toward being stuck. Afraid to be daring. But daring is my superpower. So hold on…it’s going to be a bumpy ride. I’m a mover and a shaker. I got this.”
Use Your Strengths to Take Risks
Always, always, always pat yourself on the back for initiative and effort regardless of the outcome. Better to take risks than be paralyzed.
Find Your Hidden Strengths
We all have strengths we don’t even know exist. We use them every day but we haven’t identified them because they run in the background of our consciousness. Taking one of the online assessments can be helpful with finding hidden strengths, but asking friends and family is often even more enlightening.
Keep Track of Your Strengths As They Improve
It’s beneficial to have a visible way to keep track of your progress. Download an app (e.g. habitbull) on your phone or keep a diary. I like apps because they provide graphs which are rewarding to look at and see the progress.
Share Your Strength with Others
Maybe someone else isn’t as organized and as good at planning as you. Offer your services. Design a planner and sell it on Amazon.
Collect More Knowledge About Your Strength
Instead of reading a self-help book to improve upon a weakness, read a self-help book or listen to a podcast or Ted Talk about one of your strengths. Reinforce your strengths by learning more about them.
Use your strengths to be daring. Dare to be uncomfortable and you’ll leave OCD crippled by your superpower. By sharpening your skills and reinforcing your strengths, you’ll be more motivated to engage in ERP.
To cope with bossy-pants OCD, you might have gotten the idea it’s necessary to perform compulsions to feel “just right” or prevent bad things from happening. Performing compulsions or mental acts might be what you’ve been doing for years. In your mind, it’s what you’re supposed to do or what you’ve got to do. At least, that’s what Bossy-Pants tells you.
Hallelujah, there are times you defy OCD! Somehow you pull it together, and you say, “NO!!! I’m not going to do that ridiculous compulsion.” In this precious moment, you have gained clarity and recognize that OCD is nothing more than a BFL (big fat liar). You resist the compulsion.
The anxiety rises. You ride it out. You use self-talk like, “Maybe it’s true OCD. Maybe it’s not. Time will tell.” Strangely your prediction doesn’t come true. It’s not the end of the world. Nothing bad happens. You tolerate the anxiety better than predicted. The discomfort dissipates. All by itself. No compulsion was needed.
To your surprise, you don’t feel particularly anxious. But, alas you don’t feel amazing either. You don’t even take the time to pump your fist in the air and say, “Take that bossy-pants OCD!!! KAPOW!”
When you win the battle and outlast OCD are you reminded of your strength and courage? Do you feel blessed to have what it takes to be tricky enough to outwit OCD?
Bossy-Pants OCD Hates Gratitude
Developing the skill to break free of OCD involves much more than Exposure & Response Prevention. Without self-appreciation and gratitude, you will only end up white-knuckling your way through most of it.
Whenever you resist a compulsion be sure to savor the victory. If you have OCD then celebrating victories might not occur to you. Patting yourself on the back doesn’t come naturally to you.
Not honoring your achievements is a problem that needs your attention!
Don’t wait for OCD or anybody else to say, “Good job.” You must take time out to be thankful for all that you are doing to break free from OCD. Each success that you experience is a reason to be thankful.
Your ability to #bossitback means that you are developing a hard-earned skill. Give thanks for the ability to say no to OCD. Even if it’s only once in a while or some of the time–give thanks. Don’t ever, EVER minimize your ability to defy OCD.
Stay in the winning mode and keep your skills sharp by giving thanks. The more time you spend recognizing your victories, the higher the likelihood of beating OCD the next time, and the next time, and the next time.
If someone wants to give you a high five don’t deny; fortify!!!
Accept compliments. Put your hand on your heart and say, “thank you that means a lot to me.” Welcome the support you get from loved ones who are honoring your quest to break free from OCD. Their emotional support and encouragement will help you face the next fear. Recognize the gift your family and friends give to you when they applaud your efforts. Don’t deny or pooh-pooh their praise.
Truly appreciate when others point out your victories. Don’t take for granted people’s acknowledgment of your successes. Give much thought to their praise. Let the sun shine inside your mind and heart. Be happy to hear their kind words.
When someone tells you how happy they are that you resisted a compulsion, allow yourself to feel inspired and you will endure again.
When you say, “thanks that means a lot to me” it readies your mind to repeat the success. Embrace the positive feeling of being appreciated. Accept recognition from others. They too are being positively impacted by your hard work.
Even when others forget to recognize all your hard work know that the impact of resisting a compulsion is still just as significant. Other people don’t live in your mind. They don’t know what you’re up against. So if they fail to acknowledge your victories, don’t use it as an excuse to downplay your achievements. Minimizing your success will only cripple you.
It’s quite simple. There are negative consequences if you don’t celebrate your victories.
It is an astounding blessing to be able to accept challenges and bulldoze your way through OCD. Whenever you feel your hope and determination waning, take a moment to recount all of your successes. Don’t drift away from recognizing even the tiniest step forward. If you make light of your victories, you’re leaving the door wide open for OCD to close you out of future triumphs.
Be grateful for each time you overcome OCD’s senseless demands. Be proud and give thanks when you resist a compulsion. Let the gratitude wash over you. Savor the moment of your victory. Basking in your achievements will rewire your brain!
Be thankful for each opportunity to learn and grow. Find the silver lining.
When you #bossitback how do you celebrate your victory? Eating a special treat? Listening to your favorite song?
How do you savor the moment of a triumph and anchor it in your mind? Do you do a happy dance? Clap your hands? High five somebody?
How often do you express gratitude for all your hard work? Not often? How’s that working out for you?
Do you say ‘thanks’ to others when they compliment you?
Can you feel the gratitude of others even if they don’t thank you? If they don’t acknowledge your hard work does that mean they don’t notice it? Maybe in the past, you’ve shown discomfort when they spoke about your accomplishments.
Are you treated differently by others when you pooh-pooh their praise? Do they become less verbal about your triumphs?
What moves you forward: Putting yourself down or picking yourself up?
Gratitude: The Great OCD Sanitizer (How to Turn Off Your Inner Critic)
Can gratitude sanitize OCD? You betcha! Count your blessings and discover how the words of gratitude come to be a feeling that warmly washes over you. Sound too good to be true? The benefits of gratitude are scientifically proven!
The voice of OCD always sounds like a critic: “You can’t handle it. You’re not good enough. You should be doing [this], and you should be doing [that]. You’re going to make a bad decision and mess everything up. If you’re not careful something horrible will happen. What did you do to cause this? It’s all your fault.”
OCD continually questions your motives and intentions. “Why do you have such [weird] thoughts? What do they mean? How come you didn’t use to think like this and now you do? What are you up to? You should feel guilty for thinking like this. Shame on you.”
Practicing gratitude is highly effective if you want to turn off your inner critic.
Decontaminate OCD’s sharp tongue by finding the silver lining. When you speak gratitude, you get energized and gain the courage to face anything OCD throws at you.
With an OCD sideshow running all the time, practicing gratitude isn’t easy to do. Once you get the hang of it though, in just a few minutes you can disinfect the negativity.By reflecting on your abundance and shifting your focus away from what you lack, you’ll soar above your worst worries!
Once you’ve worked gratitude into your daily routine, you’ll start to notice that your inner critic is much less stressed.
When you have finally let it sink into your subconscious mind that you have many blessings, your stress will start to slip away. OCD loses its grip on you.
12 Fantastic Ways to Express Gratitude With Your Words
I feel grateful for everything I receive today. No matter what occurs find the silver lining. If you end up with a challenge on your hands ask, “What does this make possible?”
Be grateful for all that you have and shift your focus away from thinking about what you lack. Don’t bother comparing and contrasting how much better off someone seems to be. In a split second, all of that can change. “In this moment I have not needed to start a gofundme.com account. For this I am thankful.”
I am grateful for all the activities of daily living I am able to perform. I scan my body and am grateful for the parts that function and help me throughout the day.
I am continually amazed that my circumstances don’t stop me from giving love! No matter what is going on inside my mind or world, I am always capable of showing love.
I overcome, I grow, and I prosper all the time. My abundant blessings, as well as my difficulties, make me better, stronger, and more alive. There is no destination. I choose to grow as I take this journey.
I am so grateful that I GET to take out the garbage. I GET to go to work. I GET to go to school. I GET to have life experiences.
I appreciate and show my sincerest gratitude to my loved ones. Once a day I tell at least one person how they are loved, unique and important.
The universe is looking out for me. There may be trials and tribulations, but I am never alone.
OCD is a strangely wrapped gift. For [this], I am exceptionally thankful.
I am so amazed by the tiniest of creations. Just look at how this little inchworm moves or how this tiny ant carries a heavy leaf.
I give thanks for all the abundance that is yet to be revealed to my friends and family. I wish them the strength to endure and the courage to explore.
I am grateful for the experience that caused me to forgive someone.
Spending some time expressing gratitude is one of the most natural “stress relief drugs” you’ll ever take. Gratitude comes with no ill side effects, and it’s free. Giving thanks is user-friendly. It’s also portable–it goes wherever you go.
This is an open letter to those of you who are loving someone with OCD.
I can’t imagine how frightened you were when your loved one was first hijacked by OCD. Everything was suddenly turned upside down. I’m sure you were terrified that things would never be the same.
In the beginning, you tried to do whatever made your loved one less anxious. It hurt so much to see your child or family member in such agony. So you tried to end the horror as best you could.
Enabling and Reassuring Doesn’t Work
You offered constant reassurance and tried over and over to use common sense and logic to get rid of your loved one’s fear and worry. But that part of the brain didn’t seem to be functioning properly. (There’s no logic in OCD!) So you ended up talking and talking until you were blue in the face.
You complied and met every OCD demand because it just seemed easier. You even joined in on some of the rituals like saying “I love you” five times or washing your hands when they weren’t even dirty.
You kept the environment free of triggers and censored people’s words to keep them from triggering your child or family member. People stopped visiting because they didn’t want to make the situation worse.
You lost a lot of sleep and resorted to lecturing and giving the cold shoulder. You lost your cool many times. You thought, “This is so ridiculous. Just stop it!”
I hope you know that you were coming from a place of love, not doubt, when you cried. And a place of fear, not hate, when you yelled or walked away in frustration.
Your loved one has a problem with self-compassion. I don’t have to meet you to know you have the same problem. Maybe you weren’t always resourceful but you were always doing your best. Always.
In desperation or out of convenience, you kept enabling and reassuring. But, the relief was only temporary. OCD seemed to just get bigger and bigger. It robbed all of you of everyday pleasures and new experiences. The world got smaller with every passing day.
You thought all the reassurance would help ease the anxiety but it actually made it worse. The demands were getting more intense and frequent. Accommodating wasn’t helping anything other than providing one very brief moment of relief.
And then your prayers were answered. You found out that giving in was actually feeding OCD.
Gradually Stop Accommodating
You knew that if you stopped feeding OCD your loved one would protest. Things were going to get worse before they got better. You worried: What if we’re biting off more than we can chew?
But, you believed that in order to get a better outcome, the approach needed to change.
You stopped giving in and your loved one cried, “Don’t you love me? Why aren’t you helping me?” Talk about being stabbed in the heart—ouch.
You got tougher and your loved one accused you of not understanding, “You just don’t get it! I’m all alone now.” Ouch, that hurt too.
You stopped enabling but your loved one put you to the test, and said, “Fine, “I’ll go without.” Oh no! So afraid. What if things get worse now?
Support Your Loved One, Not OCD
You validated your loved one’s feelings, “I know this is hard. I can tell this is causing you a lot of pain.” Validate. Acknowledge. But, don’t take away the pain. Soften into the pain. It’s hard to be anxious when you want to be anxious.
You also showed how much faith you had in your loved one’s ability to overcome, “You’re stronger than you think. I know that you can do this. It’s hard, I know. You’ve done hard before. You’re not alone. I’m going to help you boss it back. I’m not going to feed OCD anymore, but I will help you defeat it.”
As time passed you remained patient. You stayed the course and your loved one began to understand there would be no more avoidance. Your message was loud and clear: THE FEAR HAD TO BE CONFRONTED.
Your loved one had no other way out—but in. No more avoiding.
OCD said, “Leave.” Nope, everybody stayed.
OCD said, “Don’t go.” Everybody left.
OCD said, “Avoid.” Everybody leaned in.
OCD asked, “What if?” Everybody shrugged and said, “Whatever.”
Your loved one sought reassurance, “Could this happen?” You put it back on them, “I don’t know.”
“Will it be okay?” You shrugged, “We’ll deal with it. Whatever happens, happens.”
OCD warned, “You’re getting too anxious. You can’t handle it. Do something.” You all said, “Good. We want that anxiety. We need to practice handling it.”
It wasn’t easy to Boss it Back. But feeding OCD wasn’t easy either. It was scary bossing it back, but feeding it was scary too. Both seemed like poison.
You picked the right poison. Which ended up being the antidote—the healing potion.
The catastrophes have ended. Life has returned. No more tiptoeing. Your loved one still has weird thoughts. But, they’re fewer and fewer.
There are still triggers but nothing a good shrug or “yup” can’t fix. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Honestly, I’m really happy today because I’ve learned that a number of kids, near and dear to me, have returned to school this week with nothing more than a tiny little hiccup. (I’m thankful for the hiccups because they will only build more skills and cause more mastery.)
What About Those Who Are Still Being Accommodated?
I’m thinking now of those who haven’t been set free. Family members who continue to accommodate and reassure. There’s not a lot of bossing it back going on but, there’s a lot of tension. It feels like a hostage situation, I know.
Perhaps you have OCD and are reading this, realizing the ways YOU are being accommodated and enabled. Whether you’re requiring your family to accommodate you, or just passively allowing it—how’s it working out? Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Go get it!
If you are a family member who is enabling, write down all the ways you are doing this—feeding OCD. Rate each one in terms of which ones you think would have the least impact on your loved one’s life if you stopped doing it.
Discuss the list and your ratings with your loved one. Then ask him or her to rate the same list and to “feel free to add to the list” any missed accommodations. Compare the two lists and acknowledge all the difficulties your loved one faces.
The next step shouldn’t be done unless you’re prepared to follow through. I recommend you do this with the help of a therapist who specializes in OCD. An OCD therapist will tell you that accommodation has been tied to poor treatment outcomes. A nonOCD specialist is likely to get caught in the trap of reassuring your loved one a lot.
You can also find expert help and guidance in several books. There are numerous books to guide you through the process too.
Loving Someone With OCD
There are some people with OCD who will threaten harm to self or others if they are not enabled. Do not be held hostage with this threat. If your loved one makes such a threat or goes on a hunger strike, take your loved one to the emergency room or call 911 immediately. Don’t mess around!
But, in many cases, your loved one will (begrudgingly) go along with this plan. They don’t want to live like this either! A 25-year-old feeding OCD for almost 10 years now, was asked by someone else’s parent, “What do you wish your parents had done differently?” He answered, “Not accommodate me.” WOW!!! High Five!
Explain Why Things Have to Change
Explain to your loved one the current method of accommodating isn’t working. “There’s only temporary relief and that’s not good enough! At this rate, we’re all just hamsters in a wheel.” Try to gain permission to stop the enabling. It can be done gradually by withdrawing some of the easier accommodations.
If you don’t get permission to stop, that’s okay. Your loved one will probably be overwhelmed by this conversation but in their heart, they know it’s what’s best.
You’ll be tested. Mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. Explain if they don’t want to participate in the planning you’ll be picking the accommodations that will be stopping yourself. Look at the calendar with your loved one and write down the day you are going to stop each accommodation.
An Example of An Accommodation
Let’s use the example of contamination fears. Are you opening doors for your loved one so that s/he can avoid germs? This is an example of YOU feeding OCD. It’s one thing if your loved one, unfortunately, chooses to feed OCD, but why are you? Your loved one might still feed OCD by using a Kleenex to open the door but at least you’re no longer reinforcing the fear!
What If You’re the One with OCD?
If you’re the one with OCD being accommodated, do yourself a favor! Get your life back by telling people who love you to stop enabling you! With calendar in hand, sit down with your enablers and say, “This is the day you’re going to stop this accommodation. I’ll need your encouragement but please stop feeding my OCD.”
Accommodating someone with OCD and offering plenty of reassurance is usually the mistake everybody makes in the beginning. If you conduct a cost/benefit analysis on accommodating you’ll discover the costs outweigh the benefits.
Hopefully, you’ll continue to get more informed about how enabling someone with OCD is actually…disabling. Just start with gradual changes and you’ll make good progress.
As always, your comments are welcome and really make my day. But, in addition to commenting, if you know someone who’s coping with OCD share this post with them!
OCD thrives on answers. If you stop answering its questions you cut off its oxygen. But, OCD is a trickster and only needs to ask one single irresistible question and POW!!! Down the rabbit hole, you go.
I was watching a mother with her young daughter in the grocery store the other day. This toddler had so many questions! The mother answered every blessed one—no matter how ridiculous. Instead of feeling interrogated she seemed to love her daughter’s curiosity. When she answered the questions her tone of voice was very reassuring. Naturally, the toddler was having fun and enjoyed the attention. So the questions just kept coming.
If you know me—then you know it’s just like me to make an experiment out of the situation and follow this mother and daughter around the store. It’s incredible the Market Bistro even lets me anywhere near the store considering all the ERP I bring my clients to do there! I picture security watching the camera and when they see my car pull into the parking lot they groan, “Oh no. Now, what is she up to.”
Anyway, I followed this family around in the store because the toddler reminded me of someone I know. Someone who never stops asking questions. The questions are the most absurd, ridiculous and cockamamie you can imagine. This toddler was precisely like OCD, and I wanted to know how this remarkable Mom handled being bombarded with one question after another.
How long could this Mom hold up? When would she get tired and put a stop to it? The questions were relentless. How would the mother get out of this mess??? How could she stop the never-ending questions? Was it even possible?
I could see the mother was getting tired and honestly I don’t think I would have lasted so long. Eventually, Mom’s answers became shorter and vaguer. And then I heard Mom start answering every question with one of these responses: “Because I said so” or “I don’t know why it just is…”
The toddler tried a few more questions. But, Mom didn’t give in. I heard her say, “Maybe. We’ll have to find out later.” The toddler became quiet and looked right at me. I smiled in the most non-creepy way I could. She looked away (probably thinking this weirdo has been following us all over the place.)
In a matter of minutes, the toddler fell asleep in the shopping cart. Wow!! Mom stopped answering, and the toddler GAVE UP! And THIS (as Montell Jordan would sing), IS HOW WE DO IT! I put my hand up to high five the Mom, but for obvious reasons, she turned and went the other way.
Of course, the difference between OCD and a toddler is that the child evolves. Her crawl becomes a walk. But more importantly, she becomes intellectually disciplined. Over time the toddler uses experience and reasoning as a guide to belief and action.
OCD is incapable of developing these critical thinking skills.
I’m reminded of another song, by A Great Big World called, Say Something I’m Giving Up On You:
Say something; I’m giving up on you I’ll be the one if you want me to. Anywhere, I would’ve followed you Say something; I’m giving up on you. And I am feeling so small It was over my head I know nothing at all
OCD knows nothing at all…hence the nonstop questions. Everything is over its head. And if you don’t talk to it…it feels small and retreats to slumber.
And I will stumble and fall I’m still learning to love Just starting to crawl Say something; I’m giving up on you I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Finally, bossy pants OCD, admits it’s still crawling. It knows nothing at all. That’s right OCD!!! You can’t GET TO ME!!!
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you Say something; I’m giving up on you And I will swallow my pride You’re the one that I love And I’m saying goodbye
Good! Bon Voyage, OCD! Sayonara! Hasta la vista, baby!
Go right ahead and give up on me, OCD!
Oh listen, OCD is begging now:
You can answer every question OCD asks and it will never learn anything. Stop answering its questions and it will give up on you.
Don’t answer OCD when it asks, “WHY” or “WHAT IF…”
DON’T ANSWER with anything except this script:
I don’t know why…it just is.
Maybe, maybe not; time will tell.
Whatever. Who cares. So what.
If it’s not happening now, it’s not happening.
At this moment, right here, right now…it’s pretty okay.
If that happens it will be unpleasant and I’ll deal with it.
There’s no way to know for sure. Time will tell.
I know you’re afraid, OCD. That’s because you know nothing at all.
I’d rather take the risk than live like this.
Hasta la vista means, “See you later.” OCD will give up if you don’t try to reassure it. But, that doesn’t mean OCD won’t try again to engage you. Stick to the script. Even if it means sounding like a broken record.
Here’s the problem with all the cool stuff you know about beating OCD. You can’t always remember the cool stuff. At least, not in the heat of the moment. When your anxiety is at a 6 or 7 (out of 7), you’re not going to remember much of anything that helps. You need something that doesn’t require a lot of thought. Something that takes less than 5 seconds.
It’s not your fault that you forget to use your tools! The reason you need a strategy that doesn’t take a lot of thought or mindfulness is that your Four Lobes (in your brain) are offline. When the Four Lobes are offline, the reptilian part of your brain takes over. Fight-Flight-Freeze. Danger-Danger-Danger. Fight-Flight-Freeze.
Your Four Lobes are there to help you. When the Four Lobes are online your brain is a lean, mean, fighting machine. The ability to be rational and logical is essential in beating OCD. But if your Four Lobes are offline, it’s impossible to think or feel like a reasonable person. Good news! You can get your Four Lobes online in less than 5 seconds.
The Four Lobes are Driven to Help You Adapt to Anything
The Four Lobes remind you: If it’s not happening NOW…it’s NOT happening. Live in the moment and cross each bridge if you get there.
When the Four Lobes get deactivated, the ability to reason is lost. You need something that gets your Four Lobes back online. Something that doesn’t take a lot of thought and works in 5 seconds or less. Otherwise, you’ll spend days in your Threat-Alarm System.
The Threat-Alarm System is your Fear Center (a.k.a. Limbic System) and it is Driven to Alarm You!
Guess what triggers the Threat-Alarm System?
If you answered, “a worry” or “an unwanted, intrusive thought,” you’re WRONG!
OCD certainly spins a tangled web, but the tale itself isn’t what initially triggered the threat-alarm. At some level you know thoughts aren’t true, and feelings aren’t facts. But, something influences you, and suddenly you forget all of this. What influenced you? If you answered, “my thoughts,” you’re WRONG.
Everybody gets weird, intrusive thoughts. Some people shrug them off. Some people don’t. Why? If it’s not the thought that triggers the fear. What else could it be?
Plenty of people can touch doorknobs and eat food that fell on the floor. Almost 60% of people don’t even wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Why do some people care and others don’t?
The more you care about your unwanted, intrusive thoughts the more your Four Lobes will fail to function. The size, activity level and the number of neural connections will only increase in the fear center of your brain.
What makes people live in their Fear Center and others in their Four Lobes? We could certainly propose that anxious people were born with an overactive Fear Center. It would explain why you’re more likely to feel threatened and subsequently lash out, avoid or freeze-up.
Maybe you weren’t born this way, and it has more to do with experiences early in life. Don’t worry. We’re not going to excavate or dig up those early life experiences. That certainly wouldn’t take 5 seconds!
It’s probably a combination of nature and nurture that causes you to live in your Fear Center. But, what triggers your alarm system? Do your thoughts trigger your Fear Center or could it be something else?
Guess What Triggers Your Threat-Alarm System?
Your thoughts don’t trigger the alarm system. The trigger comes from sensory input. Something you saw, smelled, tasted, touched, or heard triggered your threat-alarm system. Anything you perceive requires sensory input.
Something you saw, smelled, tasted, touched, or heard is associated with a memory of an early learning experience. You probably don’t even remember what that experience was. It could have happened in real life or on TV.
You think you’re afraid of something bad happening but oh….what tangled webs OCD weaves. The way it spins tales should earn it an Academy Award. OCD can make a story so believable that you think there’s fire where there’s only smoke.
The story is irrelevant. The sensory input is relevant. Stay away from the tale OCD is spinning. Do this instead:
RECOGNIZE you were triggered by sensory input.
Go into RELAXED BODY.
This will not take more than 5 seconds. Try it now. Set your stove or stopwatch to 10 seconds. Say, “Sensory input triggered me. Relax body.” Right now that might have taken you about 6 or 7 seconds to say, and you probably didn’t <YET> get into “relaxed body.” It’s okay with a little bit of practice look what you will learn to do in 5 seconds or less:
You’ll notice the OCD tale,
Attribute your anxiety to sensory input (not your thoughts or the OCD tale.)
And get into the relaxed body
All in 5 seconds or less.
What Does “Relaxed Body” Mean?
Right now scan your neck and shoulders. Are they tight, tense, or stiff? Maybe you even have pain that travels down into your arm. Can you feel the knots and hard spots around your shoulders?
Your neck and shoulders have 12 bones. Your neck and shoulders are tight and tense when you’re not letting those 12 bones govern. You’re asking your muscles to do the work, and they can’t do it!
Your neck connects your body to your head. Imagine the responsibility! Your muscles can’t handle this job. They’re telling you this! Deuteronomy 31:27 “For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are.” Your muscles are rebelling! They don’t want the job! Let your bones do all the work.
OCD will spin tales until your neck and shoulder relax. As long as your muscles are tight, the Limbic system will stay online. Tight muscles signal danger. How can the Limbic system go offline when there is perceived danger. And the threat is first perceived by sensory input-not thought.
We don’t have to figure out the specific sensory input. Just know it as a fact. Stay away from the OCD tale. Stick to the sensory input. Now ease into “relaxed body.”
This is not the same as relaxation therapy. We don’t have time for that or meditation. We only have less than 5 seconds. And we need to be able to do it on the go…we can’t go into a dimly lit room and take a break. This is done in real time.
How to Get Into “Relaxed Body”
Let your bones do the work. When you turn over all responsibility to your bones, it will feel like you’re floating. Do this all day long! It’s not “set it and forget it.” Keep doing it whenever it occurs to you. It only takes 5 seconds! Or;
Visualize that you are warming your hands over a fire or holding a warm beverage. Don’t close your eyes to do this. On the go just picture it in your mind. Or;
Try to see what’s in your peripheral vision without moving your eyes from side to side. Or;
Touch thumb to the index finger and say “sa”; thumb to the middle finger and say “ta”; thumb to ring finger and say “naa”; and thumb to pinky finger and say, “maa.” Or;
Take deep breaths from the belly, not the chest. Inhale to the count of 4 and exhale to the count of 1. Your breath is portable; it goes wherever you go and this exercise can be done in real time.
Beating OCD Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
These techniques counteract the stress response which will immediately put your Four Lobes online. Choose what works for you as long as it’s something you can do on the go. You don’t need something you have to do behind a closed door. Do it on the move. And it needs to be something you can do in 5 seconds that doesn’t take a lot of thought.
Not Buying That Something So Simple Can Work?
Despite my efforts to explain that anxiety is a helpful messenger telling you to change course, and reminding you to keep your Code of Honor, there are still many who see anxiety as an evil perpetrator. I can spend a whole day with clients and not once do they mention their Code of Honor. Instead, they want to talk about the tale OCD is spinning–which is so irrelevant!
So those of you who continue to see OCD as a perpetrator, “how long do you want this perpetrator in your brain and body?” When you spend your time listening to the tales being spun, how does that work out? Why keep doing something that doesn’t work? Every time you break your Code of Honor you will experience anxiety or depression.
Try this instead: Attribute your anxiety to sensory input not story. Whenever you are anxious or notice tension in your neck, shoulders (or stomach) get into “relaxed body” and see what happens to your perpetrator. Focus on your Code of Honor. It’s much more meaningful than the OCD tale.
Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) Is Not Enough
I’m a big believer in ERP. But why stop there? Did you know you can beat OCD with your bones! I know, I know you keep hearing ERP is the way to go. Confronting fears changes lives. You even hear it from me. It’ll probably be on my tombstone. “The only way out is in.” But over the years I’ve learned there’s more to beating OCD than just confronting fears and resisting compulsions.
ERP is a slow method of facing fears by taking tiny little baby steps. It takes time to climb a hierarchy and become desensitized. It’s true ERP helps you build skills and gain confidence. But, unless you’re committed and determined it can take too long. Recovery can be spotty–two steps forward and five steps backward.
It’s not good enough to confront fears just so you can white-knuckle your way through life. It’s a complicated therapeutic process because in addition to confronting fears, you have to develop a very specific mindset–Mental Kung fu.
You have to embrace doubt and hunt down anxiety. “I want this anxiety and I want it to be intense.” That’s easier said than done, Tammy.
You have to see everything as a challenge and an opportunity to grow. Developing a growth mindset takes time and diligence but also a willingness to fail. That’s a tough pill to swallow, Tammy.
The effects of ERP and Mental Kung-Fu are not immediate. Many people get frustrated and quit. It’s hard to do this kind of therapy when the fear seems real and believable. It’s just easier to avoid and give in to compulsions.
In the heat of the moment, it’s so hard to remember what to do. You know what the treatment principles are but when push comes to shove they don’t come to mind.
Are you feeling stuck? Do you keep forgetting to use your tools? Then you’re going to like this simple answer.
Your Bones Have the Answer
People who are anxious have tense muscles. They are constricted all of the time. If you can rely on your bones your muscles will relax. If your muscles relax then your frontal lobe goes back online. You gain clarity and insight to the point where your weird thoughts are just that…weird.
The Limbic System Needs to Be Offline
If your muscles are tight your limbic system is online. This is your default system. It’s the part of your brain that sounds alarms…especially false ones. It’s where you live day in and day out. You perceive danger when there is none.
Danger! Danger! Danger! That’s the message tight muscles give to your brain. This puts your limbic system in a frenzy. What kind of day does this give you? Fight, Flight or Freeze. You’re doing whatever you can to avoid pain and get certainty.
The Frontal Lobe Needs to Be Online
Your frontal lobe has to be functioning in order to beat OCD. Why? Because it’s the rational, logical part of your brain. If it’s functioning you will make good choices. You’ll choose to live your life and not feed OCD.
When your frontal lobe is offline your limbic system goes online. You’ll easily fall for OCD’s tricks. All the cool stuff you ever learned goes out the window. No frontal lobe…no choice. You will automatically feed OCD.
Your Bones Can Get Your Frontal Lobe Online
From now on put your trust in your bones. What bones? The video below offers a bit of humor but it’s also shared to remind you of all the bones you have in your body. Nevermind the joints. Look at the bones.
How To Beat OCD With Your Bones
You can beat OCD by being in a relaxed body. A relaxed body keeps your frontal lobe online. How do you get into a relaxed body? By letting your bones do all the work.
This is NOT relaxation therapy. Relaxation therapy is something you set aside time to do. It’s guided imagery and tightening and releasing muscles. Relaxation therapy doesn’t teach you to self-regulate anxiety.
This is NOT meditation. Meditation is something you set aside time to practice. It also requires frontal lobe functioning. Many people with OCD have a terrible time meditating. That’s because the limbic system is online which makes you too hypervigilant to meditate.
Using your bones will automatically put you in a “relaxed body.” The effect is immediate. Using your bones is done in real time. It’s not something you stop to do or set aside time to practice. Using your bones is done “on the go.” You do it the same time you are conversing or performing activities of daily living.
This isn’t relaxation therapy, mindfulness or meditation. It’s not any kind of therapy. Learning to rely on your bones is part of normal human development.
I think anxiety exists to help you self-regulate and choose a path that leads you to your higher self. But, seeing one’s anxiety as helpful is a hard sell. Release your muscles and rely on your bones. It can only help to add this to your toolbox.
“But, Tammy this is very unlike you to talk about relaxing. Whenever I tell you I’m anxious you always say, “Good. You need the practice. You’re always telling me to go find ways to be anxious.” True. But how many of you agree with me? How many of you want to practice being anxious and hunt down triggers?
I’m not opposed to anything if it sets you free and changes your life for the better! A person who knows everything learns nothing. I’m not going to stop learning how to beat OCD. I will spend my life offering you hope. Besides, using your bones isn’t about relaxing. It’s simply about letting your bones do all the work.
Look, you either see anxiety as a perpetrator or a friend. If you see anxiety as a friend then you use KAPOW. If you see anxiety as a perpetrator then I need to ask you something.
“How much longer do you want this perpetrator in your body?”
Have you had enough??? If you’ve suffered enough you’ll start using your bones. It’s simple. Every single time you use your bones the quality of your life improves. It’s impossible to experience stress when you use bones instead of muscles.
Every time you use your bones you’re restoring frontal lobe functioning. You immediately gain confidence and insight. If you see anxiety as a perpetrator then why wouldn’t you use your bones to eject it from your body? You can’t possibly be suffering enough to NOT try this!
How to Beat OCD With Your Bones
All you have to do is set your intentions to rely on your bones, not your muscles. It’s simple but hard. It’s hard because over the years you’ve put all of your weight and all of your stress on your muscles. It’s time to interrupt your default system. Let’s give your bones the job of carrying the burden, not your muscles.
How to Do It
Tell yourself, “My muscles aren’t needed. My bones do the work.” Find your “sit” bones. Place your hands, palm up on your bottom and rock side to side until you find your sit bones. (Once you’ve found them you won’t need to keep touching them. You’ve created an anchor in your memory.)
Whether you are standing or sitting imagine that your “sit” bones are holding you up. If you’re standing your knees might get wobbly. It’s ok just adjust a little. If you’re sitting you might feel a bit floppy–like a wet noodle. It’s okay just adjust a little.
Do this in real time. While you are listening or talking to someone put all your weight on your sit bones. Whatever activity you’re engaged in trust your bones not your muscles to help you complete the task.
But, Tammy doesn’t this require frontal lobe functioning?How will I remember to do this if my frontal lobe is offline? This takes no more than 5 seconds each time you do it. There’s not a lot of thought put into using your bones. In fact, there’s just enough space between a trigger and your response to remembering to use your bones. This does not require deep thinking or full body attention.
Trigger <<Space>> Response (no compulsion)
In the space shift your weight to your bones. Even if you forget after you’re triggered, you’ll probably notice how tight you feel. Do it then…shift responsibility to your bones.
It’s also possible to use your bones in the space before a trigger.
<<Space>> Trigger <<Space>> Response (no compulsion)
But, Tammy if I use my bones before or after a trigger, which interrupts the anxiety, am I not neutralizing the anxiety which you always tell us not to do? If you’re not confronting your fears and not embracing anxiety AND still avoiding and using compulsions AND white-knuckling your way through it’s because YOU’RE MAKING YOUR MUSCLES DO ALL THE WORK.
Soldiers with PTSD tried Exposure Therapy with terrible effect. When they learned to trust their bones and release the muscles from such a heavy burden…they got better!
I’m not telling you to use your bones to neutralize anxiety. This is just normal human development. It’s what the rest of the population without an anxiety disorder does! You can be on the same playing field as everybody else!
I’m still telling you to confront your fears. I’m still telling you not to feel sorry for yourself because you have unwanted intrusive thoughts. I’m still telling you to not argue with OCD. I still don’t think OCD or anxiety is a perpetrator…But, I think you do.
Even if you use your bones you’ll still have weird thoughts. You can’t control what you think. You can’t control what triggers you. But, you can put your attention and energy where you do have control…You can shift your weight to your bones. This is something you control! Take control all day long!
It takes no more than 5 seconds.
It’s done in real time, on the go.
Every time you do it your life improves. So do it all day!
The effect is immediate.
Dem bones, Dem bones…Are you going to use them and rise up?
Many people say they forget what to do when their anxiety is high or the OCD thoughts seem so real.
All you have to do is remember KAPOW! It’s an acronym you need to memorize. In the heat of the moment, use it!
K= Kooky. The quickest remedy for OCD is to respond to its strange thoughts with silliness. Get Kooky!
OCD: What if (that terrible thing happens?)
Kooky: Not only could that possibly happen, but this might too! Go over the top. Be outlandish. To make it even kookier, say it with an accent!
Getting Kooky is a way to tease OCD. “Oh yeah, OCD? You think that bothers me? Hah! Watch this!!!”
Be paradoxical. Lean in when OCD says lean out. If you’re having trouble getting unstuck from a thought or worry, look for a way to get Kooky.
You know what helps in a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious way? Get somebody else to be Kooky with you.
OCD: Oh no,this means [some bad thing] is going to happen.
Agree: Maybe. Time will tell.
Don’t waste your time disagreeing with OCD. If you have OCD or are helping someone with OCD, it’s better to not argue with OCD. Nod your head and pretend to agree. “I hear you OCD. You might be right. Time will tell.”
Accepting uncertainty is vital. OCD will always have an opportunity to lead you astray if you don’t play along and say, “Maybe” to OCD.
Trying to ignore OCD does not work! OCD is like a telemarketer that won’t stop calling until you pick up! It’s just that when you pick up say, KAPOW!
OCD: You’re too tired. You don’t have what it takes today.
Punch: I am tired. Let’s see what 10 jumping jacks can do.
Check your body language. Get into a competitive stance. Sit up. Stand up. Use your anxiety as energy to move onward…not downward.
I’m not suggesting that you punch OCD in the face. I haven’t found that hating OCD is very helpful. I’m suggesting that you see your exhaustion as a challenge. Besides, even friends spar in a boxing ring.
Every person with OCD needs Kapow!
OCD: This day is dreadful and best approached with avoidance.
Onward: There’s an action I need to take and I’m taking it.
Think of your anxiety as a Global Positioning System (GPS). Most everyone uses a GPS to reach an unfamiliar destination. You enter the address and the GPS tells you when to turn. If you don’t take the recommended turns your GPS will recalculate.
When your internal GPS recalculates it sends you a signal that feels like anxiety. It’s simply telling you that you’re not taking the path you’re supposed to take. The anxiety is used to get your attention and help you move onward.
Your GPS will keep recalculating until you take the path you’re supposed to take.
If you have anxiety consider which of the following messages it’s trying to give you:
Are you avoiding or neglecting something? Your GPS is sending you a signal to attend to a need or confront a fear. Until you take the necessary action you’re GPS is going to keep recalculating.
Do you feel vulnerable? Your body knows when you don’t have enough energy to deal with everything on your plate. The anxiety is reminding you to stay in the here and now, take one priority at a time and replenish your fuel throughout the day.
Are you tackling something that is above your “pay grade?” Are you trying to do something you don’t know how to do? It’s time to get coached and sharpen your skills. Reach out! Your GPS is telling you to stop and get directions!
If you’re hiding something then you’ll feel guilty which is just adding to your stress. I’m not talking about the guilt you feel from your OCD thoughts. That’s just straightforward inappropriate guilt because nobody can help what they think. I’m talking about guilt caused by a non-OCD thought or event. Are you keeping secrets from your accountability partner? Your GPS will keep recalculating until you tell the truth.
Your attitude needs a front-end alignment. Perhaps you’re having a pity party. “Why is this happening to me? This isn’t fair.” Self-pity sits in the middle of your soul and eats everything nearby, except itself. Your GPS is telling you that whatever you are experiencing it’s a challenge and an opportunity to grow. Remember, it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you react to what happens that counts. Make this your motto: Change, learn and grow!
Does your lifestyle need a change? If you’re eating sugar, nightshade plants, or drinking too much caffeine, your GPS will signal toxicity and try to flush it out of your system with anxiety pushing through your veins. Ever experience an increase in urinary frequency when anxious? Now you know why. Your GPS is trying to rid you of toxins.
You’re not hanging up on the conversation fast enough. OCD is like a robocall telemarketer. If you don’t answer, it keeps calling. Answer the phone, say something KOOKY with an accent and HANG UP! No more discussion! When you start conversing with OCD you’re headed for a wrong turn and your GPS is yelling at you to find the nearest U-turn!
Think of anxiety as your friend. Your negative evaluation of anxiety is getting in your way. Anxiety is trying to steer you in the right direction.
W= WW__D? What would (the most reasonable person you know) do? Copy them! It’s hard to know for sure whether a thought or worry is OCD. Ask yourself what your BFF would do.
OCD: I don’t think you should do that.
WWTD: OCD, you have zero life experience. Everything scares you. I don’t have to do or avoid anything that ________ (the most reasonable person you know) doesn’t.
If you have OCD, say KAPOW!
Want some help facing uncertainty? Add this book to your toolbox!
Q: “How do we recharge so we have the energy to resist compulsions? I find my compulsions spike for a variety of reasons in the days with shorter daylight, less healthy eating (i.e. holiday parties and sweets) and the stress of shopping for a perfect gift every year.”
We are all resisting something and especially around this time of year, it’s even more challenging. Normal everyday routines get interrupted. Way too much sugar is consumed. The blue sky is rarely seen.
How to Get Fortified During the Holidays
You could easily Google and learn what to do. Honestly, I bet you don’t even have to perform an Internet search to know how to get refortified. You know this stuff!
Don’t overschedule. Put your mental health first.
Get pumped up or calmed down by listening to your favorite music.
Laugh and laugh again. “Big Bang Theory” does it for me! How about you? What makes you laugh?
Call your guilt what it is (inappropriate.)
Count your blessings. Practice gratitude.
Exercise at least 7 minutes a day. Get your heart pumping!
Follow your treatment plan no matter what! Don’t seek reassurance. Tease your OCD through exposure exercises. “Oh yeah, OCD! You think that bothers me? Ha! Watch this.”
Eat a hearty breakfast. Refuel throughout the day on blueberries, nuts, seeds and even some organic honey. Substitute mango for cookies.
Say no. Learn to be assertive. Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. Now is not the time to “yes” everybody! You don’t have enough fuel!
Find a balance between “me” time and sociable activities.
Use aromatherapy, take Vitamin D and use a lightbox.
Get grounded. Hug trees and play outside!
Go off the grid and have a tech-free day. Find something to do that doesn’t involve a screen.
Plan a getaway for mid-winter or take a day trip.
Say no to perfection and yes to learning. Watch thisKobe Bryant video on Growth Mindset vs. Success Mindset. He’s got it all figured out for you!
Be willing and open to whatever happens next.
I doubt the list above is news to you. You can thread the needle through 1-16 and know you’ll be connecting one positive to another. Positive in equals positive out.
You know this stuff. It’s very tough for people to apply what they know. (This has been proven in studies.) It’s why repetition is a big part of ERP. You need practice. Practice makes…progress.
So, you know me…I like to think outside of the box. Let me try to add something else to your toolbox.
How to Get Fortified During the Holidays
Don’t ever forget that there are plenty of people in the same situation as you. Like others, you always get out of this mess. I think the Bible says it best:
“If one member suffers, all suffer together…and if one member is honored, we all rejoice together.”
~1 Corinthians 12:26
You Are Part of A Community
It’s important to remember you are never alone. If you suffer we all suffer. The way I see it, no one is healed until everybody is healed. Even if you were cured of OCD, there’d still be others suffering.
“As long as someone is suffering so shall I.”
There is pain all around us. I’m not trying to minimize your pain. I just think it’s pointless to strive to be free of pain. Even if I’m doing okay, I’m still going to feel pain if someone else is in pain. And you know what? I’m okay with that pain.
We are all facing challenges and being tested in some way. We’re in this together. Believe in something bigger than you. Individually we are a cog in a big wheel. Together…there ain’t no mountain high enough.
Join something bigger than you, and you will get fortified.
**I belong to the Global Citizencommunity. This way I keep a bird’s eye view so that I don’t get too small in my thinking. (For example, I didn’t know you could buy a goat in a vending machine!)
The Power of the Heart
…and if one member is honored, we all rejoice together.
When a client breaks free from OCD, it’s the best day of my life. (I’ve had a lot of best days!) It happened this week!
Almost one year ago OCD hijacked her brain. She fought so hard to reclaim her life. It was clear from the moment I met her that she’d had enough of OCD.
How did she fight? She stopped avoiding. She surrendered. “Maybe that will happen OCD, and if it does, so be it.” Surrendering is not giving up. It’s letting go. “I’d rather have that happen than live like this.” It’s knowing what you’re fighting for. “I care more deeply about this than that.”
When a client breaks free, it’s like I’m meeting him or her for the first time. We’ve been working together but, it’s really been OCD in the room.
This week OCD wasn’t in the room. The day finally came. She looked peaceful. I could tell something had changed. She smiled and said, “I feel like myself again.” I couldn’t wait to do my happy dance!