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Mindfulness and OCD - Part 2

We are programmed to approach anxiety and fear in one of three ways.  

One way is to try to ignore it ('it' refers to both anxiety and fear from this point forward in this post). Ignoring it may be done through distraction, whether that's always thinking about the future or the past so that you don't have to face what's presently going on in your life or numbing yourself from the present by watching lots of TV, playing on your phone all the time, spending too much time working, abusing alcohol or drugs; the list goes on but you get the idea.  

Another way is to buy into it. We think about it by trying to reason and rationalize with it. We then apply logic and reasoning in an attempt to solve it or make it go away. We fool ourselves into thinking, 'if I just think about it one more time', or 'I haven't really thought about it long enough', or 'I have to solve it to find peace in my life'. 

And yet another way is to to resist it. We try to push it away, stop thinking about it, feel sorry for ourselves because it consumes us, compare ourselves to how other people must feel on a daily basis (as if we could really ever know this).

The honest, hard, yet liberating truth is that we cannot ignore it, we are not able to solve it, and we cannot resist it. 

I've spent the last 20 years of my life trying to get rid of it using all three methods described; OCD lives on and is fueled by anxiety and fear. It's completely reasonable that I wouldn't want to feel these things and that I would do what I think is necessary to make the pain and suffering caused by it go away. A definition of crazy is trying to get a different outcome by using the same methods that you've always used. 

Well I'm not crazy but I've certainly been good at practicing this definition of crazy. I can tell you that after 20 years of trying with every ounce of who I am to make it go away doesn't work. But there is hope for if there wasn't I'd be in a sorry state of affairs and this post would have no place being on this blog. There's another way, a fourth way of dealing with anxiety. Observing it.

Observing it may sound silly or like a very unrealistic idea. I've certainly had my doubts but observing it is possible and may be the only thing that brings you the ease of being that you deserve. Your brain has been reacting to it the same way for a long time. We are creatures of habit and learned behavior so don't try to think your way into this; it won't work. This is the time for the practice of mindfulness both regularly practiced and as an integrated part of your life. Regularly practiced doesn't mean 60 minutes a day, it can be 5 minutes or 10; the key is regular practice. 

I cannot logically explain the process of observing, this is something that you need to experience yourself by practicing mindfulness. Words only do so much and this is when you need to use your brain and mind in another way besides logic and reasoning. 

I'd recommend going directly to the website www.headspace.com to start your journey right now. Please check some of my other posts for great tools on how you can use mindfulness to treat your OCD. 

P.S. I don't work for Headspace or receive money from them. I just want you to find a way to work with it and Headspace is the best way that I know how to do that.

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