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12 self-help tips for people with OCD

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

If you’ve ever been afflicted with obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), you know it can severely affect your day-to-day life. Oftentimes OCD sufferers are told to just “get over it” or “snap out of it,” but these phrases only worsen the anxiety and shame that accompanies the disorder.


Luckily, there is a lot more help available than if we had just a decade ago. But unfortunately, there is still a stigma for people with OCD who are seeking treatment. But the more we talk about it and share our stories, the more people will become educated on how to cope with OCD, which is an important first step in dealing with this debilitating disorder. There are several OCD self help tips available which helps to deal with this disorder effectively.


How to deal with OCD and Anxiety?

The following self-help tips can also be used by anyone who is suffering from anxiety or depression.


1) Treat your OCD like an old friend

OCD is what it is: a bizarre, sometimes cruel and often terribly inconvenient disorder. But it’s also an old friend who won’t go away. And that makes it tough to deal with, but you can learn to manage the condition that you have. One way to do this is by treating your OCD like a faithful old friend — one who always comes knocking on the door — but one who isn’t any fun. It’s someone you have to grit your teeth and put up with, but at the same time you don’t want him showing up at every party. So if you want to get rid of him, you'll have to ignore it at times and focus on your important ongoing tasks.


2) Time out your symptoms

OCD is a disorder that has a lot of the symptoms of mental illness, like anxiety or depression. And those are the same symptoms that have been responsible for keeping people from seeking treatment. So if you realize that an obsessive thought or compulsive behavior is something you need to deal with on a daily basis, try to find some time where your compulsion won’t pop up. Your brain is trained to pop up every X hours, but you can’t give it the opportunity to do so, because you won’t be able to get much done if your OCD is constantly showing up.


3) Accept that OCD is a monster and fight fire with fire

OCD isn’t just a random voice in your head. It’s an intruder that lurks on the edges of your consciousness, waiting for any chance it can get to make itself known. So imagine if you had a monster that was trying to attack you or take over your home. The first thing that you wouldn’t do is sit still and wait for it to attack. You’d start fighting back. Well, that’s what you need to do with your OCD. Fight it and try to beat it back every time it pops up in your mind.


4) Grab on to the feeling of freedom and don’t let go

We all know what freedom feels like, and as a person who has OCD, you don’t get a lot of chances to feel that way. So you want to cherish the times when you do feel free, and jam a big old post-it note on those feelings and make it clear what those feelings mean. And this will help you remember how good it feels to be free from the tyranny of your OCD.


5) Enjoy what’s good about OCD

OCD is a disorder that messes up your life pretty badly, but nobody said that having a disorder meant that it had to be all bad. Yes, it can get you into trouble and drive your loved ones crazy or we can say, it is the OCD fear of going crazy, but if you look hard enough, there are things about having OCD that have some upside. For example: if you’re someone who can’t come out of the shower without picking your hair, that might be the only time you get to feel that silky-soft feeling in your hair. So enjoy that one moment of luxury.


6) Understand that there is nothing wrong with you

This might seem like a strange thing to say when you have a disorder in which things are wrong with you, but remember there is nothing wrong with you. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. And it doesn’t make any difference whether or not we believe there is anything physically wrong with us. Our OCD is messing up our lives and we still deserve to be happy. We just have to work harder than most people.



7) Remember that it’s a disorder, but not in a bad way

OCD is your brain’s attempt to protect you from something. So no matter how much it messes with you, remember that this is your brain’s way of protecting you and trying to get you ready for something. If we think about our physical bodies, we know they are relatively weak. But the human brain is a stronger organ than we give it credit for. We all have brains that are capable of incredible things and keep us alive. And because of this, our brains can be very creative when trying to protect us from things that could be dangerous or hurt us in some way.


8) Learn to be patient with yourself

Have patience while you’re trying to conquer your OCD. It will take time, even if you feel like nothing is changing. If someone were trying to fix your car, for example, and nothing was happening, you wouldn’t give up on them and insist that they do the job in a day — even if it’s something that could be done quickly. So don’t give up on yourself or your brain just because it seems like it has taken longer than you would like for things to change.


9) Get used to the idea that you’re a work in progress

OCD is different for everyone. Some people have it for years, some for a short time and others have it for just a few months. Nobody has OCD forever. So if you have OCD now, don’t worry about the fact that you will get better. Because you will get better. And then you can use that time to work on being a better person, because you will be less focused on your OCD and more in control of your life.


10) Celebrate the little things

When your OCD is trying to stop you from doing something, it’s reminding you how much it’s in control. And that’s never a good feeling. So instead of letting that get to you, take the time to appreciate the small things — even the small things related to your OCD — because they will remind you that these aren’t bad things; they are just things that are happening. And at least when these things are happening, there is nothing dangerous going on in your life.


Quick Recap

OCD is a serious mental illness and it’s not something that will get better in a short period of time. It can be turned back into our minds with the proper treatment, but it’s going to take some work. But if you can find the strength to work through your disorder, you will feel free from it almost all of the time. And then you can relax and enjoy life for what it is — filled with many good things, even though there are times when your OCD could ruin that as well.


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