Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Those Suffering From OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, causes uncontrollable and persistent obsessions and compulsions that take up at least an hour of your day, or even longer. When you have OCD, you can experience obsessions in the form of impulses, thoughts, or images, and they’re often disturbing, unwanted, or intrusive.

Because you can’t control these obsessions, they usually create discomfort or anxiety that triggers a compulsive response. Compulsions associated with OCD are repetitive actions either carried out physically, like locking the door, or mentally, like counting. While you may understand that your obsession is irrational, you might feel that the only way to way to relieve your discomfort is by performing a compulsive activity. These obsessions and compulsions can significantly interfere with your life.

OCD is a neurobiological problem affecting the nervous system. To treat it, you have to strengthen new neurological pathways in your brain and weaken old ones. At Revîv Functional Psychiatry & TMS Wellness Center, Dr. Hina Sidhu understands that medications are only part of the approach to treating anxiety disorders like OCD. To effectively manage your symptoms, she also believes in the therapeutic benefits that come with making a variety of lifestyle changes.

Watch what you eat

When you don’t feed your body right, your brain doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to produce enough neurotransmitters. This can trigger anxiety or depression symptoms. To support your brain, gut, and nervous system, consume a diet low in trans fats with plenty of fresh, whole foods. It’s also important to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and beverages that are high sugar.

Break a sweat

Participating in regular exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your mind as well. Exercise prompts your brain to produce serotonin and endorphins, neurotransmitters that reduce depression. Getting more physical activity can also reduce anxiety symptoms, especially if you focus on exercises involving mindful movements, such as tai chi, yoga, and qigong.

Don’t skimp on sleep

One of the things you can do for your brain involves getting enough sleep. This restorative period helps replenish your neurotransmitters, which play a large role in your mood. When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s also easier to identify neutral images as negative, so even mild, everyday things can appear more threatening and lead to feelings of anxiety.

Harness the power of positive thinking

Cultivating certain attitudes like kindness, gratitude, and forgiveness can help reduce negative attitudes. When you have negative thoughts or feelings of hopelessness, it not only throws off your hormonal imbalance, but it can also zap the brain chemicals you need to stay calm or happy. With mental training like meditation, you can change your emotional response to things and relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Learn to manage stress

Stress and anxiety are a bad combination. By identifying items that cause stress and learning relaxation techniques to help reduce your response to them, you can build up your resilience, which allows you to better cope with unavoidable stress in the future. Popular relaxation techniques include yoga, meditation, visualization, and massage.

To learn more about lifestyle changes that can help you manage OCD and other anxiety disorders, call Revîv Functional Psychiatry & TMS Wellness Center. You also can schedule an appointment online.

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