According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive thoughts or impulses that give way to compulsions or behaviors that feel necessary in order to tame the obsessions. Many people who have never experienced OCD might be feeling something similar due to coronavirus pandemic.
Under these circumstances, it’s very difficult to determine whether your behavior indicates an obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, if your behavior and thoughts feel uncontrollable and are significantly interfering with your normal life, it’s wise to consult a mental health specialist.
Actually, those compulsions might be feeding your fears. For many people with OCD, compulsive behaviors arise as their brain’s way of trying to make sure the fears they obsess over don’t come to pass. It’s important to understand that finding methods to control OCD is the best way to avoid excessive anxiety that can ruin your life especially now, during this horrible pandemic.
1. Don’t watch the news nonstop
It’s essential to watch and read accurate news from reliable sources to avoid excessive anxiety and fear. If you want to check the news, do this at a time when it will be easier to shift your attention to something else, for instance, in the middle of the day. Try not to check the news at night since you might have more time to get lost in scary updates. Also, do something pleasant after reading or watching the news, like exercising, drawing, or reading an interesting book.
2. Write your concerns for 15 minutes
Another good way to calm down and relieve anxiety is by writing your feelings and thoughts. Write out your all concerns for 15 minutes. Put your worries on paper in a more structured way, and this will make it easier to fight the fear.
3. Consider journaling
Journaling regularly can help you deal with your emotions connected to your actions and understand whether your actions are justified or a compulsive reaction that worsens your condition. Even if it might be difficult to understand exactly what’s reasonable in this situation, journaling can still help you make sense of your emotions. Collecting your concerns, fears, and thoughts will help you realize you’re doing everything to stay safe, of course, if you’re following the government guidelines.
4. Don’t forget about physical activity
Staying active will boost your endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine levels which can help improve your mood. Exercising and breathwork will also help calm your nervous system and reduce your anxiety. Plus, physical activity can shift your attention away from your worries. Actually, exercising has helped many people control anxiety and OCD. If you also experience OCD, try to move your body more in a way that will bring you joy.
5. Look for a professional
If you’re worried about your health status, try to contact your primary care physician. If you need help finding a specialist, you can try options like BetterHelp and TalkSpace. However, if you’re feeling your OCD is getting out of control, look for a therapist. Finding a knowledgeable specialist will help you overcome your fears and improve your quality of life.
Psychotherapy can be very effective. It will help you dig deeper into your thoughts and emotional triggers. Specialists can use several types of psychotherapy to manage obsessive thoughts. The most common type is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Patients with OCD are often treated using a method called exposure and response prevention therapy. This method involves working directly with your obsessive thoughts as well as any associated compulsions. You will use techniques such as role-playing situations that cause you distress and talking through your thought process with your therapist.
Analyze your current emotion and ask yourself is there something you can do now to help yourself take this fear under control? Of course, considering the situation today makes it hard to keep calm but it’s crucial.
Keep in mind that OCD is chronic which means you need to control it always. You can get it under control and become recovered but, now, there is no cure. The ways you will use to treat this condition will help you stay calm. If you don’t use them throughout your life, you will increase the risk of recurrence. This means that if you don’t use the options for OCD management or if you stop taking your medications, you will soon get symptoms once again.