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5 tips for mental preparation to the holiday season

The holidays can be a tough time for people for a number of reasons. Studies have shown that the holidays can take a toll on people’s mental health, especially if they are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions.

First, there is the pressure to spend time with family and friends, which can be difficult if relationships are strained.

There is also the pressure to buy gifts and make plans, which can be difficult for people who are struggling financially.

And finally, there is the pressure to be happy and festive, which can be difficult for people who are dealing with personal problems or who are simply feeling down. All of these pressures can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.

OCD and the holidays

OCD can be a mental challenge during the holiday season for several reasons. For one, the holiday season is generally a busy time of year, and people with OCD may have a hard time keeping up with their usual routines and rituals. This can lead to feeling anxious or stressed, which can exacerbate OCD symptoms.

Additionally, the holidays can be a triggering time for people with OCD due to all the holiday-related activities and events (e.g., gift shopping, decorating, attending parties).

This can make it difficult to stick to one’s treatment plan and can cause an increase in OCD symptoms. Finally, the holiday season is often a time when family and friends get together.

For people with OCD, this can be a triggering and stressful event. This is because they may feel like they have to “perform” for their loved ones and bePerfect. This can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress.

I have OCD and during the holiday season, I find it difficult to be around all the people and the hustle and bustle. I tend to want to stay in my own space and not be around others. I also have a hard time with all the food around and the temptation to eat everything. I try to stay on my diet and exercise routine, but it is hard with all the holiday parties and gatherings. I am also aware that I need to be careful of my spending during the holidays, as I can get carried away. Overall, I find the holiday season to be a difficult time for me, but I try to make the best of it and enjoy the time with my family and friends.

Paul M.

OCD and the holiday season: some tips

For people with OCD, the holiday season can be a difficult and stressful time. The holiday season can be a trigger for OCD thoughts and behaviors. OCD can make it hard to enjoy the holidays and can make it difficult to participate in holiday activities. Here are some tips for dealing with OCD during the holiday season:

  1. Be prepared for triggers. If you know that certain holiday activities or situations are triggers for your OCD, be prepared for them. Have a plan for how you will deal with the trigger.
  2. Stick to your treatment plan. Don’t let the holiday season throw off your OCD treatment plan. It’s important to stick to your treatment in order to keep your OCD under control.
  3. Reach out for support. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by OCD during the holiday season, reach out to a friend, family member, or therapist for support. Talking about your OCD can help you feel better and can help you find ways to cope with your symptoms.
  4. Take a break from holiday activities if needed. If you’re feeling really overwhelmed by OCD, it’s OK to take a break from holiday activities. Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to participate in holiday activities if it’s too difficult.
  5. Focus on the positive. The holiday season can be a difficult time for people with OCD, but it’s important to focus on the positive. Spend time with loved ones, enjoy your favorite holiday foods, and take some time to relax.

    Be kind to your mind, try it:

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    3 tips for using mindfulness to help OCD

    When I was first diagnosed with OCD, I was really scared. I had no idea what was happening to me or how to deal with it.

    But my therapist suggested I try mindfulness, and it has completely changed my life. Mindfulness has helped me to be in the moment and to not worry about things that are out of my control.

    I used to obsess over everything and I would constantly worry about what could happen in the future. But now, I’m able to focus on the here and now and to let go of those worries. I’m also able to be more present with my family and friends.

    I used to miss out on a lot of things because I was so focused on my OCD. But now, I’m able to be in the moment and to enjoy my life. I’m so grateful to have found mindfulness and to have made it a part of my life. It has truly helped me to heal and to live a more joyful life.

    Sharon, Canada

    Mindfulness benefits

    When it comes to mental health, mindfulness is often heralded as a powerful tool. And for good reason – mindfulness can offer a number of advantages for people struggling with OCD anxiety. Here are just a few of the ways that mindfulness can help ease OCD anxiety:

    1. Mindfulness can help break the cycle of anxiety.
      For many people with OCD, anxiety can become a vicious cycle. The anxiety leads to obsessive thoughts and compulsions, which in turn leads to more anxiety. Mindfulness can help break this cycle by teaching you to focus on the present moment and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgement. This can help you to start to see your anxiety in a more realistic light, which can ultimately lead to reduced anxiety and fewer obsessions and compulsions.
    1. Mindfulness can help you to manage your anxiety in a more constructive way.
      Mindfulness can also help you to manage your anxiety in a more constructive way. Rather than trying to fight your anxiety or suppress your thoughts, mindfulness teaches you to accept them and work with them. This can help you to develop a more constructive relationship with your anxiety, which can lead to improved mental health in the long-term.
    2. Mindfulness can help you to identify and challenge your anxiety-provoking thoughts.
      Another advantage of mindfulness is that it can help you to identify and challenge your anxiety-provoking thoughts. Once you become more aware of your thoughts, you can start to question whether they are really true or helpful. This can help you to start to see your anxiety in a different light, which can lead to reduced anxiety and fewer obsessions and compulsions.

    Easing OCD anxiety

    If you’re looking to ease your OCD anxiety, mindfulness can be a helpful tool. Here are a few tips to get you started:

    1. Make time for mindfulness.

    One of the best things you can do is to make time for mindfulness. Dedicate a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Once you get used to this, you can start to extend the length of your mindfulness sessions.

    1. Be patient.

    Mindfulness can take time to master, so be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to see results overnight – it takes time and practice to see the benefits of mindfulness.

    1. Find a mindfulness method that works for you.

    There are a number of different mindfulness methods out there, so find one that works best for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so experiment until you find a method that you’re comfortable with.

    Combining mindfulness with CBT

    It is well known that mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are both effective treatments for a variety of mental health conditions. What is less well known is that these two approaches can be combined to create an even more powerful treatment.

    Mindfulness is a form of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) that focuses on the present moment. It teaches people to be aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in order to gain a better understanding of themselves. CBT is a type of therapy that helps people to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors.

    When these two approaches are combined, people are able to learn how to be more mindful of their thoughts and feelings, and how to change their negative thought patterns and behaviors. This combination of mindfulness and CBT can help people to reduce their stress, anxiety, and depression, and to improve their overall mental health.

    Be kind to your mind, try it:

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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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    Prof. Guy Doron answers your ROCD questions

    This week, GGtude co-founder and CSO Prof. Guy Doron participated as a panelist in International OCD Foundation’s special event about Relationship OCD.

    Join IOCDF lead advocate Chris Trondsen, MS, AMFT, APCC and panelists Prof. Guy Doron, Dr. Danny S. Derby, and Zoe Homonoff as they discuss Relationship OCD (ROCD) and answer your questions.

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    Body dissatisfaction and resilience

    How our mental wellness app reduces negative body image for high risk female university students

    • Body dissatisfaction represents a prevalent condition in young women.
    • Daily training with our mobile app may reduce some forms of body dissatisfaction.
    • Medium-large effect size reductions emerged for BDD symptoms.
    • Effects of the intervention on eating disorder symptoms seem more limited.

    Body dissatisfaction is prevalent in young women and is associated with symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Eating Disorders (EDs).

    Prof. Guy Doron, co-founder of GGtude, together with a team of students and researchers, wanted to assess the positive effect of our mobile application, based on cognitive behavioral principles, in reducing body dissatisfaction and BDD/ED (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) symptoms in female university students, considered at high-risk of developing Body Image Disorders (BIDs). 

    How the study was conducted

    Fifty university students at high-risk of developing BIDs (using self-report questionnaires assessing BIDs and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Clinical Version) were assigned to two random groups: an immediate-use group (iApp group; n = 25) and a delayed-use group (dApp group; n = 25). The iApp group started using the app at baseline for 16 days (T0 to T1). The dApp group waited for 16 days before starting to use the app (T1 to T2). Participants completed questionnaires at baseline (T0), 16 days from baseline (T1), and 32 days from baseline (T2).

    The results

    Repeated measure Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) showed a Group interaction on BDD symptoms indicating medium effect size reductions in the iApp group compared to dApp group; post-intervention means for BDD symptoms were under the cut-off for extreme body dissatisfaction/BDD symptoms in both groups.

    Conclusion

    Training 3 minutes a day for 16 days with our OCD mobile app may lead to reductions in some forms of body dissatisfaction, including BDD symptoms in female university students at high-risk of developing BIDs.

    What does it mean for people who suffer from body image issues?

    The results show that it’s possible to reduce some forms of body dissatisfaction using the app for 16 days, 3 minutes every day.

    You are welcome to try the app for free and see for yourself.

    Be kind to your mind, try it:

    Citations

    Cerea S., Ghisi, M., Bottesi, G., Manoli, E., Carraro., T., & Doron (in press). Short, Daily Cognitive behavioural Training Using a Mobile Application Reduces Body Image Related Symptoms in High Risk Female University Students: A Randomized Controlled Study. Behavior Therapy.

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    I have doubts about my relationship. Is it normal?

    Doubt is a defensive mechanism. Its purpose is to warn and protect us from mistakes and danger. A good balance between confidence and doubt ensures we can operate in this world freely and happily, and maintain a healthy relationship.

    However, some people find it much more common to be unsure about things that for others can be more straightforward. For example, we can get preoccupied or obsessed about our partner, spouse or loved ones. This obsessive behaviour and thinking can prevent us from seeing clearly and making the right choices. Instead of protecting us, it can damage our relationships and our well being.

    How do I know if I have ROCD?

    Worrying, having doubts or even being preoccupied with a particular relationship does not automatically suggest a diagnosis of a relationship obsession.

    Like other OCD symptoms, relationship-related OCD symptoms require psychological intervention only when causing significant distress and are incapacitating. Assessing ROCD symptoms, however, is further complicated by the fact that such experiences, even if distressing, may still be a part of the normal course of a still developing relationship, mainly during the flirting and dating stages of a relationship, or reflect real life problems.

    ROCD and the OCD app

    When we developed the app, we decided to focus on beliefs as a catalyst for changing maladaptive behaviours. Beliefs are interesting: We often forget about them, but they sit there in the back of our minds and control us, making us respond in specific ways to various stimuli.

    Our app is focused on helping people improve their condition whether they have normal doubts or if they suffer from Relationship OCD.

    Research shows training for 3-5 minutes a day can benefit users by reducing symptoms and challenging beliefs that hinder judgement.