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10 most common obsessions of OCD

There are many different types of OCD, and each person with OCD may have different obsessions, or things that trigger their OCD. However, there are some common obsessions that many people with OCD experience.

I obsessively worry about making mistakes. I also obsessively worry about being embarrassed or humiliated. These obsessions cause me a great deal of anxiety and distress. I have to do certain things to try to relieve my anxiety, such as washing my hands over and over, checking and rechecking things, arranging things in a certain way, and avoiding people and places that I fear will trigger my obsessions.

Thomas, MI

Here are 10 of the most common OCD obsessions, and a brief explanation of each:

  1. Fear of contamination: This can include a fear of dirt, germs, or other substances that might cause illness. People with this type of OCD may obsessively wash their hands or clean their homes to try to avoid contamination.
  2. Fear of harm: This can include a fear of injury or death. People with this type of OCD may obsessively check things like appliances or locks to make sure they are safe, or avoid activities that could be potentially dangerous.
  3. Fear of losing control: This can include a fear of losing control of one’s emotions or actions. People with this type of OCD may obsessively check themselves for signs of anxiety or anger, or avoid situations that could trigger these emotions.
  4. Fear of making mistakes: This can include a fear of making mistakes at work, school, or in other areas of life. People with this type of OCD may obsessively check their work or re-do tasks to make sure they are perfect.
  5. Fear of dirt and germs: This can include a fear of contamination by dirt, germs, or other substances. People with this type of OCD may obsessively wash their hands or clean their homes to try to avoid contamination.
  6. Fear of being judged: This can include a fear of being judged by others for one’s thoughts, feelings, or actions. People with this type of OCD may avoid social situations or obsessively seek approval from others.
  7. Fear of harm to others: This can include a fear of harming others, either physically or emotionally. People with this type of OCD may avoid contact with others, or obsessively check on them to make sure they are safe.
  8. Fear of losing things: This can include a fear of losing important possessions or forgetting important information. People with this type of OCD may obsessively check their belongings or make lists to try to avoid losing anything.
  9. Fear of change: This can include a fear of change in one’s life, such as a change in job, relationship, or living situation. People with this type of OCD may avoid making changes or obsessively plan for every possible outcome.
  10. Fear of the unknown: This can include a fear of what might happen in the future or a fear of the unknown. People with this type of OCD may avoid new situations or obsessively plan for every possible outcome.

Be kind to your mind, try it:

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5 tips to reduce OCD checking

It can be difficult for people with OCD to resist the urge to check for things. They may feel like they need to check things over and over again to make sure they are safe or to prevent something bad from happening. This can interfere with daily activities and make it hard for people to focus on other things.

Opinions on the matter of checking are naturally varied. It is normal to check, and everyone does that. But at the same time, people dealing with OCD have a tendency to check excessively to deal with their anxiety. Various Reddit posts discuss this matter, and while the community has a plethora of ideas, not all of them are actually helpful as a long term solution.

I’ve suffered from OCD for as long as I can remember. Checking has always been one of my main compulsions. I’ve spent hours every day checking locks, appliances, and making sure everything is in its place. It’s been a constant battle to try to stay ahead of the OCD and keep my anxiety at bay. Over the years, I’ve learned some techniques to help me cope with my OCD, but there are still times when it gets the best of me.

A year ago, I started using a checking app on my phone to help me keep track of everything I need to check. While this has been helpful in some ways, it has also increased my OCD distress. I found myself constantly needing to check the app to make sure I haven’t missed anything. This has led to more anxiety and more checking. I was in a cycle of checking that is even harder to break than before.

When I realized this was becoming a problem, I started working on finding a balance with the app and trying to use it as a tool to help me rather than something that exacerbates my OCD.

Malina, Greece

Checking and distress

For people with OCD, checking can actually increase distress. This is because the act of checking can reinforce the person’s beliefs that something bad will happen if they don’t check. Checking can also lead to more anxiety and intrusive thoughts. It’s important for people with OCD to understand that checking won’t make things better and can actually make things worse. If you or someone you know has OCD, it’s important to seek out professional help.

Tips for reducing checking

  1. Use a timer: Set a timer for a specific amount of time and only allow yourself to check once that time has passed.
  2. Distract yourself: Find something else to focus on that takes up your attention and time.
  3. Create a barrier: Put something physical in between you and what you’re trying not to check.
  4. Let go of perfection: Remind yourself that it’s okay if things aren’t perfect and that you can still function even if things aren’t exactly as you want them to be.
  5. Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to resist the urge to check, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist who can provide you with additional tools and support.

Be kind to your mind, try it:

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3 tips for OCD and dating

It’s not easy living with intrusive thoughts and OCD. Trying to date people and run a normal life can be even harder.

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, intrusive thoughts that can cause a great deal of anxiety. OCD is a mental health condition that can cause people to have obsessive thoughts and compulsions.

Dating can be difficult for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for someone with intrusive thoughts or OCD. It can be hard to open up to someone new about your thoughts and compulsions. You might worry that they will think you’re weird or crazy.

I was really excited when I met her. She was funny, smart, and beautiful.

We hit it off right away. I asked her out on a date, and she said yes. I was thrilled. But then I started to worry.

What if I said something wrong? What if I did something wrong? I tried to push the thoughts away, but they kept coming back. I didn’t want to screw this up, so I decided to cancel the date.

I was really disappointed, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something would go wrong.

Ben, US

It can also be challenging to keep up with the demands of a relationship while also dealing with OCD. You might have to miss out on date nights or other activities because you need to spend time compulsively washing your hands or checking the locks on the door.

I wanted to go out with a woman I liked but struggled because of weird OCD rituals I was ashamed of. I would avoid touching anything that might be dirty.

I would also compulsively check things to make sure they were safe. This made it difficult to be around other people and I often felt isolated. My OCD made it hard to relax and enjoy myself. I was always on edge, worrying about whether or not I was doing something wrong.

Simonne, New Zealand

It’s important to find a partner who is understanding and supportive. They should be willing to listen to your concerns and help you find ways to cope with your OCD.

Tips for OCD and dating

  1. Don’t try to hide your OCD from your date. It’s important to be honest and open about your condition from the beginning.
  2. Be upfront about your needs and expectations. Let your date know what works for you and what doesn’t.
  3. Relax and be yourself: The most important thing is to relax and be yourself. Your date will be able to sense if you’re tense and it will make the evening less enjoyable. Just take a few deep breaths and remember that you’re a great catch!
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Treating your body as an object: What it means and 4 tips on how to fix it

We all have bodies, and we all have to take care of them – but sometimes it can be easy to forget that our bodies are actually living, breathing things that deserve our attention and care. It can be easy to treat our bodies like they are objects, and when we do this, we can start to forget that they are actually part of us. This can lead to all sorts of problems, both mental and physical.

I was always treating my body like it was an object. I would neglect it and not take care of it the way I should have.

I would use it to get what I wanted from other people and then I would just discard it. I didn’t realize how much I was harming myself in the process.

It wasn’t until I started working on myself and healing my relationship with my body that I realized how much I had been mistreating it.

I started to think about my my body as a sacred vessel that deserved my love and care. I began to treat it with the respect it deserved and I started to see the benefits almost immediately.

Diyane Blissong, UK

If you find yourself treating your body like an object, it’s important to try and change your perception. Your body is not an object – it’s a part of you, and it deserves your care and attention. Here are some ways to start changing your perception of your body:

  1. Talk to your body. This may sound silly, but it can actually be really helpful. When you start to see your body as a living, breathing thing, it can be easier to start taking care of it. Talk to your body like you would talk to a friend. Thank it for all the things it does for you, and tell it that you’re sorry for the times when you haven’t treated it well.
  2. Listen to your body. Your body knows what it needs, so try to listen to it. If you’re feeling tired, maybe you need more sleep. If you’re feeling thirsty, maybe you need to drink more water. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you, and act on them.
  3. Treat your body with care. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy all new clothes or anything like that. But it does mean that you should start treating your body with the respect it deserves. That means taking care of it – both physically and mentally. Exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep. And, when you do something that you know is bad for your body, like smoking or drinking too much, try to cut back or stop altogether.
  4. Be proud of your body. This one can be tough, especially if you’re not used to it. But it’s important to remember that your body is amazing, and it deserves your pride. Be proud of what your body can do, and of the way it looks. Accept your flaws, and love yourself – body and soul.

Changing your perception of your body can be tough, but it’s worth it. When you start to see your body as a living, breathing thing that deserves your care and attention, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier life.

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OCD, PTSD, and how to cope with both

After my car accident, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I was having intrusive thoughts about accidents and feeling like I was in danger all the time. I was also hypervigilant and always on the lookout for potential threats. My friends and family were trying to be supportive, but I felt like I was struggling to cope on my own. I still have days where I struggle. I am hopeful that with time and continued progress, I will be able to fully recover and live a normal life again.

Corinne, Canada

If you’ve experienced trauma, you may feel like you’re never going to feel normal again. The combination of OCD and trauma can add additional hardship.

When someone is obsessively thinking about a traumatic event, they are re-living the trauma over and over again in their mind. This can lead to flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts.

The person may also start to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma, which can make it difficult to function in daily life. This can all lead to a downward spiral of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

There are studies that show the relationship between OCD and PTSD.

5 symptoms of OCD and trauma

  1. Unwanted, intrusive thoughts that are difficult to control or stop.
  2. Excessive worry and anxiety about everyday situations.
  3. Compulsive behaviors or rituals that are performed in an attempt to ease anxiety or prevent certain thoughts from occurring.
  4. Avoidance of certain people, places, or things that trigger memories or thoughts of the trauma.
  5. flashbacks or intrusive memories of the trauma that can occur at any time.

Recovery

Studies about PTSD and OCD define recovery as strongly related to thinking and rituals: “effective treatment of trauma-related OCD is defined as the reduction in obsessional thoughts and compulsory rituals“.

The good news is that there are treatments available that can help you recover and heal. One of these treatments is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT is a type of therapy that helps you change the way you think about and react to your experiences. It can be used to treat a wide variety of mental health conditions, including trauma.

Here are some of the ways that CBT can help you recover from trauma:

  1. It can help you understand your reactions.

CBT can help you understand why you’re feeling the way you are. It can also help you see that your reactions are normal and that they don’t have to control your life.

  1. It can help you change the way you think about your experience.

CBT can help you challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs that you have about your experience. It can help you see that your experience is not who you are.

  1. It can help you change the way you react to your experience.

CBT can help you learn new ways of coping with your experience. It can help you deal with your emotions in a healthy way.

  1. It can help you connect with others.

CBT can help you build supportive relationships with others. These relationships can provide you with the social support you need to heal.

  1. It can help you take care of yourself.

CBT can help you develop healthy coping skills. These skills can help you take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, PTSD or a combination of the two, it’s important to seek professional help.

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3 Tips for improving your confidence if you have OCD

People with OCD often have issues with confidence because they are constantly doubting themselves and their abilities. This can be extremely frustrating and debilitating, as it can prevent them from enjoying activities or participating in activities that they used to enjoy.

I have ocd and it really affects my confidence. I tend to second guess myself a lot and it really holds me back from taking on new challenges. I’m always worried about making mistakes and it really affects my ability to just go for it. I’m constantly doubting myself and my abilities, and it’s really frustrating. I know that I’m capable of so much more, but my ocd just gets in the way.

Mark Romanoff

Why people with OCD struggle with confidence?

There are 3 main reasons why people with OCD can have issues with self esteem and confidence:

  1. People with OCD often have intrusive and unwanted thoughts that they cannot control. These thoughts can be very distressing and can make it difficult for them to feel confident in themselves.
  2. People with OCD may also have compulsions that they feel they must do in order to reduce their anxiety. This can lead to them feeling like they are not in control of their own lives and can make it difficult to feel confident.
  3. People with OCD may also avoid situations or activities that trigger their OCD symptoms. This can make it difficult for them to participate in activities that they enjoy or that could help them build confidence.

20 examples for common negative thoughts related to confidence

1. I’m not good enough.

2. I’m not smart enough.

3. I’m not pretty enough.

4. I’m not thin enough.

5. I don’t deserve to be happy.

6. I don’t deserve to be successful.

7. I’m not worth anyone’s time.

8. I’m not worth anyone’s love.

9. I’m not lovable.

10. I’m not good enough for anything.

11. I’m not talented enough.

12. I’m not special.

13. I’m not worth anything.

14. I’m not worth anyone’s attention.

15. I’m not worth anyone’s respect.

16. I’m not worth anyone’s love.

17. I’m not a good person.

18. I’m not a worthwhile person.

19. I’m not a lovable person.

20. I’m not a good enough person.

10 Examples for negative thoughts related to confidence that are specific for people with OCD

  1. I will never be able to control my OCD.
  2. I’m so ashamed of my OCD.
  3. I’m disgusting because of my OCD.
  4. I will never be able to lead a normal life because of my OCD.
  5. I will always be alone because of my OCD.
  6. I will never be able to have a successful career because of my OCD.
  7. I will never be able to have a happy and fulfilling life because of my OCD.
  8. I am a burden to everyone because of my OCD.
  9. I am worthless because of my OCD.
  10. I will never be able to be happy because of my OCD.

So what can I do to improve my confidence?

Cognitive behavioral methods are a way of increasing confidence by reducing negative thinking and self criticism. The way it works is by changing the way you think about yourself and your abilities. Instead of thinking negatively, you focus not just on your positive qualities and accomplishments, but more importantly, on supportive interpretations of situations. This change in thinking leads to improved self-esteem and confidence.

The first step is to become aware of your negative thoughts and self-criticism. Once you are aware of these thoughts, you can start to challenge and reframe them. For example, instead of thinking “I’m not good enough,” you can tell yourself “I am good enough.” Once you start to reframe your negative thoughts, you will start to see an increase in your confidence levels.

3 tips for building confidence

  1. When you feel low confidence, write down your negative thoughts, so you get to better understand your challenges.
  2. Challenge and reframe the negative thoughts. Try to find additional ways to approach a specific negative thought or situation.
  3. Studies show that maintaining LOW self-esteem is actually a very laborious and consuming habit. Just by reducing your self-criticism, your confidence will increase.

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5 examples of magical thinking when you have OCD

If you have OCD, it’s likely that you suffer from magical thinking. This is when you believe that your thoughts, emotions, and actions can control events and outcomes that are unrelated to you.

For example, you may think that if you have a negative thought, something bad will happen to you. Or, you may think that if you don’t perform a certain ritual, something bad will happen.

I am a sufferer of OCD, and my condition causes me to have what is known as magical thinking. This means that I often believe that my thoughts, actions, or words can influence events in the world around me in mysterious or supernatural ways.

For example, I might believe that if I think about a certain person too much, I can make them have a car accident. Or, if I don’t perform a certain ritual just so, I might think that something bad will happen to me or my loved ones.

I now know that my magical thinking can be extremely distressing and can cause me a great deal of anxiety.

Stephan, Switzerland

Here are five examples of magical thinking:

1. Thinking that you can control the weather by thinking positive thoughts.

2. Thinking that you can influence someone’s behavior by imagining doing something bad to them.

3. Thinking that you can prevent accidents or illness by worrying about them.

4. Thinking that you can control your destiny by making sure you don’t do anything that could jinx it.

5. Thinking that you can influence other people’s thoughts and emotions by thinking about them in a certain way.

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5 CBT based techniques to help you with confidence

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap us in a vicious cycle.

CBT can help us to break out of this cycle by identifying and challenging negative thoughts, and learning to react to situations in a more positive way. Here are five CBT techniques that can help you to boost your confidence and self-esteem, and approach challenges and decisions in a more positive way:

1. Identify your negative thoughts

The first step is to become aware of the negative thoughts that are holding you back. These might be thoughts such as “I’m not good enough”, “I’ll never be able to do this” or “I always make the wrong decisions”.

2. Challenge your negative thoughts

Once you’ve identified your negative thoughts, it’s time to start challenging them. Ask yourself whether your thoughts are really true, or whether there is another way of looking at the situation. For example, if you’re thinking “I’ll never be able to do this”, ask yourself “What evidence do I have for this?” or “What if I give it a try and it turns out better than I expect?”.

3. Practice positive self-talk

Start to counter your negative thoughts with positive self-talk. This might be something as simple as telling yourself “I can do this” or “I am good enough”. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, take a step back and reframe your thoughts in a more positive light.

4. Set yourself realistic goals

Setting yourself small, achievable goals can help you to start feeling more confident. When you achieve a goal, it will help to reinforce the positive message that you can do things and that you are capable. Start with something small, such as taking a different route to work, and then build up to bigger goals.

5. Take action

The final step is to take action and put your new-found confidence into practice. This might mean saying “no” to something you don’t want to do, or speaking up in a meeting. It’s important to remember that you might not get it right every time, but that’s OK – the important thing is that you’re taking action and making progress.

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Can changing the way you think help you cope with OCD?

It is now well documented that negative thinking habits affect people’s ability to deal with mental challenges. Multiple studies in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy show that OCD symptoms can improve by working on appraisals and adaptive thinking.

However, it is sometimes unclear what is the cause and what’s the effect: does OCD fuel negative thinking? or does negative thinking fuel OCD?

Common belief looks at OCD as some kind of an entity with its own mind. Trying to battle and control this entity is tiring and often fruitless.

One approach Cognitive Behavioral Therapy suggests is to look at OCD from a different angle – by dividing the cognitive process to two: controllable and uncontrollable thoughts.

When dealing with OCD, we can have all kinds of thoughts – some disturbing or annoying. One useful approach is letting these uncontrollable thoughts go by, without trying to control or change them.

There are two parts to this approach though: following these uncontrollable thoughts, we can have additional thoughts – that continue and build upon the negative story and strengthen it. These thoughts are actually something that we can control.

To give an example: I had a disturbing thought about me doing something bad. This thought was uncontrollable. I’d better just let is go and forget all about it.

Immediately after it, pop additional thoughts: maybe I’m a bad person? What if I did something bad? These thoughts seem as a logical progression from the original uncontrollable thought, but they are actually part of the story I’m telling myself.

So how do I avoid getting into the story?

Here we can use another technique. We give the story a name. Let’s name this story – “The story of me thinking disturbing thoughts and getting freaked out about being a bad person”. From now on, when I will have these thoughts, I will ask myself – “Do I want to tell myself the story of me thinking disturbing thoughts and getting freaked out about being a bad person?”

Is the answer yes? then maybe I do actually want to get into this story. But I have to now know that this was my choice. It is not some kind of external or uncontrollable entity that caused me to get into the story. It was me!

Is the answer no? Great, let’s try to not get into this story then. This was just a thought, and while it was disturbing and hard taking it in, I can cope with it.

Obviously, these are just suggestions. There are many techniques. For example, by using our OCD app, we can learn to let go of negative thoughts, and offer alternative, more adaptive thoughts that can come instead and replace the negative thoughts.

The main conclusion? Focus on the controllable, and make your new year helpful and supportive.

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OCD vs. Anxiety: key differences

Mental diagnosis can be difficult, in part because the differences between individuals’ internal experiences can seem quite nuanced. Per community request, here are some of the key differences between OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

OCDGeneral Anxiety
Characterized by
compulsive or ritualistic
responses to…
Compulsive, ritualistic
coping mechanisms
are not typical.
neutralize, erase,
replace, or stop…
Characterized by
worrisome attempts to
problem-solve in
multiple areas of life.
unwanted and repetitive
thoughts, images,
and doubts (aka: obsessions)
accompanied by
physical symptoms.
which are often
hypothetical or
unrealistic in nature.
Worries focus on
relatively realistic
negative outcomes.