Compulsive behavior is the term used to describe a repeated action that a person feels very little control over and cannot stop. Common examples of compulsive behaviors include repeatedly counting to a certain number, shopping, nail-biting, cleaning, or skin picking. A key difference between a habit and obsessive behavior is that a habit is easy to stop, and you do not usually feel a strong urge to do the action. Compulsive behaviors make you feel like you have lost all control. However, this article will discuss ways of coping with compulsive disorders.
Find a replacement habit
Not all compulsive behaviors are harmless, a good example being skin picking. It would be best to find a replacement habit to prevent further bodily harm to yourself. For instance, if you love the sensation of your skin on your fingertips, try to replace skin picking with a less harmful behavior such as drawing with a washable marker or massaging your skin. By replacing your destructive compulsive behavior, you get to satisfy your urges while reducing the negative consequences to your body.
Identify your triggers
Try to pinpoint the exact time of the day you find yourself getting the urge to engage in compulsive behaviors. Look into environments and bodily sensations that urge you to engage in obsessive behavior. Do a thorough evaluation of your thought process and determine whether certain thoughts make you feel like picking at your skin or biting your nails.
Being mindful at all times will help you regain some form of control over your compulsive behavior. Mindfulness will lessen the frequency of your behaviors and help you notice triggers. The next time you feel like engaging in compulsive behavior, draw your attention to the present and take note of your feelings and sensations that accompany this behavior.
Go for cognitive behavior therapy
Learning about your triggers is a great first step. However, you might still find it hard to let go of these compulsive behaviors even with understanding your triggers. Trauma is at the root of your compulsive disorder most of the time. We advise seeking help from a therapist near you who can help you peel off the layers and uncover what is underneath the need for compulsive behavior. If you are around New York, look up CBT therapists NYC to get the professional help you need. You will learn techniques to recognize and change these patterns.
Find ways to manage your stress
Individuals suffering from compulsive disorders confirm that their symptoms worsen during high-stress bouts. When we are stressed, we feel like we are no longer in control, forcing us to engage in compulsive behaviors to help us calm down. It is upon you to recognize when stress is most likely to build up and nip it in the bud as soon as you can. A great stress management technique is to develop emotional resilience and try deep breathing exercises to help you calm down.
As you have seen, living with a compulsive disorder is not as hard as it may seem. We hope that this article has provided you with insight into managing your compulsive disorder and preventing it from lowering the quality of your life.