“Developing healthy coping strategies for OCD can help someone manage their symptoms and bring them under control,” says Schiff.
While treatment for OCD is best under the supervision of a mental health professional, there are several self-help strategies you can use to help cope with your symptoms as you look for professional help. Here are a few suggestions:
A more adaptive response than suppressing your feelings and engaging in unhealthy behaviors is to journal, says Schiff. Journaling helps you to make sense of what you are feeling.
“Journaling is a helpful coping strategy with OCD because you can write down the intrusive thoughts in order to better process them, but also distance yourself from them,” explains Schiff.
“Sometimes just getting your thoughts down on paper and out of your head can prove therapeutic.”
Practice relaxation techniques
“Managing stress is an important coping strategy when it comes to OCD since high-stress levels tend to increase OCD symptoms,” explains Schiff. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindful meditation can be an effective OCD self-help strategy.
“Avoidance OCD is actually a compulsion since the individual is either avoiding certain thoughts or feelings or an actual person, place, or thing due to the anxiety it induces,” says Schiff.
Relaxation strategies are important because they may decrease anxiety, worry, and overthinking.
Another healthy coping strategy is to take care of yourself. “It’s important that you take care of both your mind and body when dealing with avoidance OCD,” says Schiff.
Try and get into a regular routine where you go to bed and wake up at the same time. It‘s also important to eat well.
Schiff says, when you feel good about yourself it’s easier to combat OCD when it presents itself. She says it’s important to be kind to yourself and not to judge yourself too harshly.
Schiff suggests trying positive self-affirmations, which can increase your self-esteem, confidence and boost your mood.
Find a healthy outlet
“Doing something physical can also be helpful – this can include exercise or something as simple as going for a walk outside in nature,” says Schiff.
Keeping yourself busy with a hobby or through fitness is a great way to keep your mind occupied and away from your obsessions and compulsions.