I often hear people use the phrase, “I’m so OCD about…” I understand what they mean, but it also occurred to me that most probably don’t really have OCD, and many might not know what it actually is, so here’s a quick description:
OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder and a person with it has obsessive and distressing thoughts or images in their head that they can’t get rid of. Then, to help counteract the anxiety and terrible feelings that the obsessions cause, they’ll compulsively do some type of repetitious behavior (like handwashing, counting, or checking), which can consume hours of their day.
So, if this doesn’t describe you, chances are you don’t have OCD. Nonetheless, is it possible that you’re a little too obsessive about certain things in your life?
Does Your Obsessiveness Have the Upper Hand?
When we get too obsessed with anything it’s as though our brains get hyper-focused on whatever it is and can’t let go. For example:
- Do you constantly pick apart your physical imperfections when you look in the mirror?
- Are you always concerned about what other people think of you?
- Do you replay your mistakes over and over in your mind?
- Is it hard to shake off vindictive thoughts?
If you tend to do/say/think things like these, chances are there’s something going on deep inside of you that is driving the unhealthy and negative thinking that you’re stuck on.
Speaking from personal experience, there was a period in my life when I was obsessed with my appearance and did everything I could to try to minimize my perceived flaws, including excessive exercising and purging my food. I couldn’t seem to stop myself—even when I didn’t feel well. What I didn’t know at the time was that my extreme and obsessive behaviors were a cover for my insecurities and how bad I felt about myself underneath it all.
Is Something Going on Inside of You?
Are there behaviors or beliefs in your life that you can’t seem to let go of—even though they might be detrimental to your mental or physical health? If so, chances are they’re serving some kind of purpose for you—but not in a good way. Obsessiveness often gives us a false sense of control. And many people who struggle with it tend to be pretty stressed out—not just from the thoughts or behavior, but also from what’s driving them. In many cases, there might be an underlying mental health issue like anxiety, depression, or unhealed trauma, relationship and social problems, and/or financial challenges.Obsessiveness often gives us a false sense of control, but it’s usually a cover-up for painful feelings deep inside. Click To Tweet
4 Ways to Leave Obsessiveness Behind
If you’re struggling with the strain of being too obsessive in your life, there are some very doable ways to get your thoughts and/or behaviors under control. Using introspection as your guiding light, it’s possible to identify and examine what’s really going on.
Here are 4 ways to help yourself:
- Identify and focus on what you can control in your life—rather than what you cannot—because when you’re always thinking about the unpredictable, it increases stress and anxiety.
- Take a few minutes each day to turn off the negative chatter in your head and spend some time getting grounded through meditation. I welcome you to join me for this free meditation.
- Keep a journal and write in it every day. Write about what your concerns are and how they make you feel. Don’t keep them bottled up and spinning around in your mind.
- Challenge your thoughts. If you’re familiar with my work, you know that I find the 4 Questions from Byron Katie to be really helpful when trying to let go of negative beliefs and thoughts. So, for each negative thought you keep having, ask yourself all of these questions:
- Is it true?
- Can I absolutely know it’s true?
- How would I feel without this thought?
- Who would I be without the thought?
- Then turn it around to its opposite and see if that is actually truer than your original thought.
As always, if you’re having difficulty managing your thoughts and behaviors, please reach out to a psychotherapist or schedule a psychiatric evaluation, so you can get professional help for healing. Although to an outsider, your obsessiveness may fly under the radar, if it goes on for too long without being addressed, eventually it can really get in the way of living a normal life.
You deserve to have a healthier mindset!
For more inspiration, order my newest book, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.