How to stop mental compulsions

How to stop mental compulsions

OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is an anxiety disorder that causes sufferers to have repetitive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and engage in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors (compulsions). The compulsions temporarily relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions, but eventually, the anxiety returns, and the cycle begins again. OCD can interfere with work, school, and social activities and cause great distress. While most people with OCD know that their thoughts and behaviors are irrational, they feel powerless to stop them.

There is no single cause of OCD, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for OCD involves a combination of medication (usually antidepressants) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (exposure and response prevention).

What are mental compulsions?

A mental compulsion is a repetitive behavior or mental act that a person feels compelled to do to ease anxiety or stress. Common examples of mental compulsions include:

-Constant reassurance seeking




-Repeating certain words or phrases

  • need to do things in a certain order or way
  • Causes of mental compulsions
  • Most people with mental compulsions recognize their thoughts and behaviors as excessive or unreasonable, but they cannot resist or control them. Many people try to ignore or hide their compulsions from others and may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or anxious about them.

Mental compulsions can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

-Anxiety: People with anxiety disorders often have obsessive thoughts and engage in repetitive behaviors to relieve their anxiety.

-Stress: Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss, can trigger obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

-Trauma: Traumatic experiences, such as abuse or witnessing a natural disaster, can also lead to mental compulsions.

-Genetics: Mental compulsions can run in families, which suggests that they may be partially due to genetic factors.

-Brain chemistry: Abnormalities in brain chemicals may play a role in the development of mental compulsions

How to stop mental compulsions

Mental compulsions are unwanted and intrusive thoughts that can cause anxiety and distress. They can be about anything, such as worry about germs or contamination, fear of making mistakes, or needing things to be symmetrical or in a certain order. Many people have mental compulsions but don’t realize them. If your mental compulsions are starting to interfere with your daily life, there are some things you can do to stop them.

Understand your compulsions

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that you feel compelled to do to try to relieve anxiety or discomfort. People with OCD often have both obsessions and compulsions, but you can also have just one or the other.

The repetitive behaviors or mental acts serve the purpose of reducing anxiety or preventing something bad from happening. However, these compulsions end up maintaining and sometimes worsening the anxiety. Most people with OCD realize that their compulsions are irrational, but they still cannot resist doing them.

To overcome your compulsions, it is important first to understand them. Once you know what your compulsions are and why you do them, you can start to work on replacing them with healthier coping mechanisms.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your compulsions:

-What compulsions do I have (e.g., washing, checking, counting, touching)?

-What triggers my compulsions?

-What thoughts or emotions do I experience before and after engaging in my compulsion?

-How much time do my compulsions take up each day?

-How much discomfort or anxiety do my compulsions relieve in the short term? What are the long-term consequences of my compulsion (e.g., missed work, damaged relationships)?

Identify your triggers

To stop your mental compulsions, you first need to identify your triggers. A trigger is anything that sets off your compulsion. It can be a certain thought, feeling, or situation. Once you know your triggers, you can start to work on avoiding them.

There are a few ways to do this. One way is to keep a journal of your compulsions. Write down when they happen and what triggered them. This can help you see patterns and avoid situations that trigger your compulsions.

You can also talk to a therapist or counselor about your compulsions. They can help you identify your triggers and work on avoiding them.

Distract yourself

There are a few things you can do to try and stop mental compulsions:

-Distract yourself: This can be tricky, but if you can find something else to focus on, it can help. Try reading a book, watching a movie, or talking to a friend.

-Challenge your thoughts: Ask yourself whether your thoughts are true. Are you sure that something bad will happen if you don’t do the compulsion?

-Wait it out: Set a timer for a certain amount of time and see if you can make it that long without doing the compulsion. Start with just a few minutes and work your way up.

Practice mindfulness

One way to stop mental compulsions is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and help you control them. This means paying attention to the present moment and observing your thoughts without judgment.

Another way to stop mental compulsions is to change your thoughts. Instead of thinking of them as something you have to do, try to think of them as something you want to do. This can help make them feel more like a choice instead of compulsion.

Finally, if your mental compulsions are severe or negatively impacting your life, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can help you understand your thoughts and develop healthy coping mechanisms.