Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that impacts millions of people. It is more common than many people believe, but it is also a bit of a mystery for most. Due to misinformation and people carelessly saying that someone “is OCD,” it’s no surprise that many view this as a mysterious condition.
OCD is when someone has obsessive thoughts. In turn, these obsessive thoughts cause them to behave or perform rituals in certain ways to relieve their minds of the obsession. To better understand how to stop OCD rituals, let’s go over the basics of OCD.
OCD starts with obsessive thoughts. These obsessions can involve thoughts, images, or urges. Some of the most common obsessive thoughts we see in people with OCD are:
- Intrusive thoughts
- An extreme need for symmetry and order
- Intense fears about illness or germs
This is not an exhaustive list of obsessions that someone may have. Once these obsessive thoughts or urges occur, it causes someone to experience intense anxiety about them. For them, the only way to ease this anxiety is to behave in a certain way. These are called compulsions.
Compulsions are intended to help someone calm down or to prevent something from happening. Depending on the person, the compulsive behavior may look different. But they can include:
- Hand washing or extreme hygienic techniques to prevent germs from spreading
- Always cleaning or organizing their home, car, or office to maintain order
- Checking and re-checking if they fear their house might be broken into, as an example
How To Stop OCD Rituals
Living with OCD is one of the most interfering mental health conditions you can deal with, especially if untreated. Even though it is a challenging condition to live with, it can be treated and managed for long-term relief. Keep in mind that the most effective ways to treat OCD are through a combination of therapy, medication, and self-care/DIY techniques.
Here are some of the most popular ways to stop OCD rituals.
Stress is not good for anyone, so learning to keep stress levels to a minimum is important for every single human being out there, especially for those who are dealing with OCD. OCD flares up when someone is under a lot of stress or tension.
There are a variety of techniques that someone can try that are effective. They can include the following:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Participating in activities or hobbies that help you unwind and destress
- Creative expression
Self-care is far more than just taking a bubble bath or a long shower at the end of the day. We can think about self-care as the very foundation of what all humans need. The basics of self-care are:
- Eating nutritious meals
- Getting enough sleep
When you are fueling your body with what it needs and giving it time to heal and rest properly, it helps your body to maintain balance and harmony. It will make managing OCD rituals easier, too, because it gives your mind fewer chances to spiral.
More people are beginning to realize the importance of talking about mental health. Additionally, most are realizing that, in some ways, we all have something that makes us feel imbalanced. Whether that is anxiety, depression, or OCD — no one is completely free from struggling.
There is nothing wrong with you if you do have OCD. While you might feel intense fear and shame over these rituals, the important thing to remember is that they are just a reflection of you trying to keep yourself calm.