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Nervous System Regulation for OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be an extremely debilitating condition, causing you to feel like you have no control over your life and fears. This loss of control is often the result of a dysregulated nervous system. The good news is you can learn to regulate your nervous system for OCD to regain control and live a fulfilling life.

OCD: Obsessions and Compulsions

According to the publication Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Hannah Brock and Manassa Hany, OCD is often a “disabling condition consisting of bothersome intrusive thoughts that elicit a feeling of discomfort.” These intrusive thoughts are known as “obsessions” and they elicit feelings of high stress and anxiety. To reduce stress and anxiety from obsessions, a variety of compulsions, or rituals, may be employed.

Emotional Regulation for OCD

OCD can wreak havoc on your nervous system, which governs your emotions. Compulsions occur in an attempt to alleviate high stress caused by obsessively thinking about something or having intense fears. These consistently stressful situations can increase cortisol levels and cause you to be stuck in a cycle of high alert.

Emotion Suppression

A 2020 study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that OCD patients “frequently suppress their emotions instead of using more beneficial reappraisal strategies.” Instead of dealing with the stressful emotions head-on, this suppression can lead to even more distress and intrusive thoughts.

Positive and Negative Emotions

The way you experience emotions can have a huge impact on your overall well-being. For those with OCD, learning how to shift from negative to positive emotions can be life-changing.

According to NIH News in Health, negative emotions “can activate a brain region known as the amygdala, which plays a role in fear and anxiety.” This can be disastrous for OCD and leave you in a constant cycle of fear.

On the other hand, positive emotions can expand your awareness, help you grow, and allow you to become more resilient when facing life’s challenges. Even though you may feel stuck in constant fear with OCD, it is possible to take control of your emotions.

Regulating Your Nervous System for OCD

Negative emotions like fear and stress can overtax your nervous system. On the other hand, positive emotions can keep your nervous system in a regulated state. This is important for OCD. As you learn how to regulate your nervous system, you can regain control of your life and heal your condition.

Activities that help you ground into the present moment will help you regulate your nervous system. Becoming present allows your mind to stop racing, thinking about the past, or having worries about the future. Instead of being controlled by fear, you can actually enjoy life as it unfolds.

Adopting a Meditation Practice

One of the best ways to regulate your nervous system for OCD is to cultivate a consistent meditation practice. Many people feel like meditation is difficult, but it’s actually one of the simplest things you can do.

According to the aforementioned NIH News in Health article, people who have practiced various forms of meditation “appear more resilient and better able to hold on to positive emotions.” Since positive emotions can help you overcome OCD, meditation can help you develop the skills needed to take control back in your life.

Meditation can take various forms. You may want to start with something simple like focusing on your breath, listening to a sound, or even watching something like the flicker of a candle flame. Later you can try more complicated types of meditation.

Becoming the Observer

It’s also important to note that meditation doesn’t mean you will shut off your mind completely. In fact, meditation is just a way to naturally observe the waves of your thoughts and emotions without judgment. When you become the observer, your thoughts and emotions will have less of an effect on you. This effect helps you to regain control.

Trying Mindfulness Techniques for OCD

Another great way to regulate your nervous system is to practice mindfulness. This is a simple practice that allows you to be more present and aware as you go about your day.

Through mindfulness, you can focus on a task or activity using the five senses. Just like meditation, different thoughts may arise. When they do, just release them without judgment and continue grounding yourself in the moment.

Mindful journaling is also a wonderful tool for OCD. It’s a great idea to use a journal to unpack your negative thoughts instead of suppressing them with compulsive rituals. As a human being, you will always have a full range of emotions. Instead of ignoring the negative emotions, it’s important to face them head-on so you can actually release them for good.

Healing for OCD at the Guest House

At The Guest House, we offer a variety of activities and therapies to help you overcome OCD and live a happy, healthy life. Our cutting-edge blend of traditional therapies and holistic healing will allow you to find modalities that you enjoy, tailored to your unique journey.

Oftentimes, OCD evolves as a response to trauma. At The Guest House, you will find a trauma-specific program that helps you explore the root causes of OCD so you can learn how to overcome it for good. Here you will meet with highly-trained professionals in both individual and group counseling to help you develop the life skills needed to take back control of your life.

Holistic Options for OCD

You will also have access to our wide range of holistic therapies. These include practices to help you stay focused and stop the spiral of negative thoughts and fears. We offer modalities like meditation and yoga, breath work, and art and sound therapies. All of these holistic options can help you to rediscover life’s joys.

At The Guest House, you will receive unyielding support to help you regulate your nervous system and overcome OCD so you can live a fulfilling and healthy life.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can wreak havoc on your nervous system. Constant high emotions of stress and anxiety can make you feel stuck in a never-ending cycle where you have no control. At The Guest House, you will learn how to regulate your nervous system for OCD. Here we offer a cutting-edge blend of traditional and holistic therapies that help you stay grounded in the present moment. Individual and group therapies can help you get to the root cause or trauma associated with your OCD. Then, you can partake in a wide variety of activities like meditation, breathwork, and art therapy to help you rediscover life’s joys and overcome OCD for good. Call us at (855) 483-7800.