Breaking Free from OCD and Procrastination: The Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety
You have a deadline for a work project coming up. This project involves a lot of steps and preparation. The thing is you suffer from OCD so everything must be perfect, orderly, and on time. You know this but as time ticks by and the deadline looms ahead, you are losing hope. How on Earth will you be able to get everything ready by the deadline? You know it is going to be an ordeal because it is always an ordeal when you have something due at work.
Your boss and co-workers have no idea how anxiety-ridden I become when assigned to a new work project. You become so stressed that it often causes you to vomit several times. Yes, it is that serious. Perhaps, you are in the wrong field, but what field could you enter that does not cause your OCD to flare
What if you are not prepared and do a terrible job? What if you make a mistake? What if your work is not perfect? What if your boss and coworkers secretly talk about the terrible job you did? What if you miss the deadline altogether and get fired because of it? You could end up jobless and homeless. It feels like you have a thousand questions and fears.
So, what do you do? You try to put it out of your mind by not doing anything at all or not doing anything until the last moment (delaying the inevitable). You know it does not make sense and is counterproductive, but avoiding the situation for as long as possible is the only way you know how to cope with the intrusive thoughts, fears, and compulsions. What is going on? You feel as if you are in a mental and emotional jail and just want to break free from your OCD and procrastination.
The truth is living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and procrastination can be incredibly difficult and stressful. The constant anxiety and fear of failure can leave you feeling overwhelmed, and unable to move forward. Fortunately, there are ways to break free from the cycle of OCD and procrastination, and regain control of your life.
With the right OCD treatments, you can stop living in a perpetual hell of OCD and procrastination. Programs, like Impulse Therapy, an online OCD recovery treatment program, can help quiet the noise in your mind, so you can reclaim your life. In this article, we will explore the causes of OCD and procrastination, the types of treatments available, and how to create a roadmap to overcoming the stress and anxiety causing your symptoms.
What is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition that involves stress, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, fears, images, urges (obsessions), and/or compulsive behaviors (rituals and routines). OCD can affect nearly every part of your life, from your mental, physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual health to your relationships, self-confidence, and even career choices and job prospects. This anxiety condition can feel controlling and all-consuming.
OCD sufferers tend to hide their symptoms from other people out of fear of being judged or criticized. There are different types of OCD, from contamination OCD and hoarding OCD to reading OCD and meta OCD. The most common obsessions and compulsions include a fear of becoming infected with something or infecting someone else and feeling a need to compulsively clean and disinfect one’s body, home, car, workspace, etc., or a fear of losing something and feeling a need to hoard or collect things.
Excessive checking, ordering, and seeking constant reassurance are also prominent symptoms of OCD. The good news is that there is a wealth of OCD treatments available to help you get a grip on your symptoms. These treatments may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure response and prevention (ERP) therapy, and/or medications like SSRI antidepressants.
Why Do People Procrastinate?
There are many reasons why people procrastinate, but it often comes down to fear. We are afraid of failure, making mistakes, and/or not being “good enough.” Conversely, some people are also afraid of becoming or being successful, which can lead to worries about the future, or being overwhelmed by certain tasks. Most people, however, procrastinate because they are overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do.
When a person feels that a task is too complex or confusing, they may put it off to avoid the stress and anxiety that often accompanies. Other reasons why people procrastinate include a need for everything to be “just right” or perfect, a lack of motivation or interest in the task, a fear that you will not have enough time to complete the task, and/or a belief that you do not deserve to be successful. Anyone can fall victim to procrastination, however, people with OCD appear to have an elevated risk of becoming chronic procrastinators.
How is OCD Linked to Procrastination?
Yes, it can be.
OCD and procrastination are mental health issues that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. OCD is characterized by recurring, emotionally distressing or upsetting thoughts and repetitive compulsions designed to alleviate the stress and anxiety prompting them. Procrastination, on the other hand, is the act of delaying or avoiding tasks or activities that need to be completed.
According to researchers, the probable cause of OCD-related procrastination is anxiety. OCD sufferers, who tend to procrastinate, because they are afraid of missing a deadline or making mistakes (obsession). So, these individuals avoid this by procrastinating (doing things late or not doing them at all) (compulsion) – the procrastination then triggers a new OCD cycle of stress and anxiety followed by obsessive thoughts, fears, or images, and then avoidance.
This OCD cycle looks like this: stress and anxiety – OCD intrusive thoughts, fears, or images (obsession) – avoidance (to relieve the stress and anxiety causing the obsession) – then repeat once the OCD is triggered (i.e., needing to take a test or exam, or clean the house before guests arrive). This cycle can be difficult to break, but it is possible to overcome these OCD obstacles, and start living a happier, more fulfilling life.
Understanding the Anxiety Behind OCD and Procrastination
When it comes to OCD and procrastination, understanding and managing the stress and anxiety behind them is key to breaking free of them. Stress and anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, such as in physical symptoms like heart palpitations, excessive sweating, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, nightmares and night terrors, and/or rapid breathing.
These negative emotions can also lead to feelings of extreme fear, excessive worry, and/or a sense of being “overwhelmed” and “out of control.” The best way to manage your stress and anxiety is to identify the underlying causes and triggers of them. Once you understand what is causing your stress and anxiety, you can reduce your OCD symptoms by taking steps to better manage it and relax, such as developing healthy coping skills, practicing mindfulness meditation, taking CBD, etc.
What Are The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective form of therapy that can help you to gain control of your thoughts and behaviors. CBT works by helping a person identify and challenge the negative thought patterns causing the anxiety, OCD symptoms, and procrastination.
CBT can also teach people struggling with OCD and procrastination how to cope with their OCD symptoms and avoidance tendencies in healthier ways, such as with hypnotherapy/hypnosis, journaling, create expressive art, dancing or exercising, getting more and better quality sleep, developing a strong support group or attending support group meetings, and learning as much as you can about OCD.
CBT can also help you identify your OCD and procrastination triggers, which is also important for managing your symptoms. Thus, researchers have found that CBT can help reduce the symptoms of OCD and procrastination. Ultimately, CBT can help ease the compulsions associated with OCD by tackling the underlying reasons for the procrastination.
What Are Some Techniques That Can Help You Break Free from OCD and Procrastination?
There are a number of stress-management/relaxation techniques that can help you break free from OCD and procrastination.
These techniques include:
- Setting realistic goals and expectations
- Breaking tasks down into smaller more manageable parts
- Practicing mindfulness meditation and self-compassion
- Challenging your negative thoughts, beliefs, and fears
- Focusing on the present instead of the past
- Developing consistent (but not obsessive or compulsive) daily routines
- Using positive self-talk when upsetting OCD symptoms arise
- Sharing your thoughts, fears, worries, and urges with someone you trust
- Taking regular breaks, practicing stress-management/relaxation techniques, and engaging in regular self-care or “me time”
- Seeking therapy, joining an OCD forum, or calling an OCD hotline
- Listening to a OCD podcast about procrastination
These techniques can help reduce your stress and anxiety, so you can easily tackle your tasks.
What Are The Benefits of Overcoming Your Stress and Anxiety?
Overcoming stress and anxiety can provide a variety of benefits to an OCD sufferer who tends to procrastinate out of fear.
Some of these benefits include:
- Lower stress
- Reduced anxiety
- Increases productivity
- Stronger and healthier relationships
- Fewer headaches and stomachaches
- Higher self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-confidence
- A feeling of empowerment when it comes to your life
- A feeling of achievement
- Healthier coping skills and strategies
- Less extreme or frequent obsessions and/or compulsions
Are There Any Support Groups or Tools That Can Help With OCD and Procrastination?
Yes, there are many support groups and tools that can help you better manage your OCD and procrastination symptoms.
The most effective way to battle (and win) OCD and procrastination is to develop a strong support system. Support is the key to breaking free from the stress and anxiety that is triggering the OCD and procrastination. Your support system could include your family and close friends, or even in-person or online support groups. If you need additional help managing your OCD and procrastination tendencies, it is also important to seek OCD help for them.
An OCD therapist can provide you with the support and guidance you need to successfully manage the stress and anxiety, and overcome OCD and procrastination. Other resources and tools may include using crystals, vitamins, minerals like magnesium, OCD podcasts and forums, a healthy diet, and healthy coping skills and strategies.
Putting it All Together – A Roadmap to Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, OCD & Procrastination
Creating a roadmap to overcoming stress, anxiety, OCD, procrastination can help keep you on track for OCD freedom.
Listed below are the steps you should take to break free of the stress and anxiety triggering your OCD and procrastination symptoms:
Step 1: Set realistic goals and expectations.
Step 2: Breaking these goals and expectations into more manageable parts.
Step 3: Create “doable” steps for these various parts of the goals and expectations.
Step 4: Practice mindfulness meditation and self-compassion.
Step 5: Challenge your negative thoughts, fears, urges, worries, etc.
Step 6: Focus on the present – not the past.
Step 7: Take frequent breaks or “me time.”
Step 8: Regularly practice stress-management/relaxation techniques.
Step 9: Develop a daily routine (do not become obsessive over it).
Step 10: Bombard yourself with positive affirmations and self-talk when you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed with a task.
Step 11: Develop a strong support system to be a shoulder to cry on or to celebrate your milestones and achievements.
Step 12: Believe in yourself.
Step 13: Ask for help or seek OCD treatment.
Resources and Support for Breaking Free from OCD and Procrastination
There are also a variety of resources available to help you break free from OCD and procrastination. The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America offer helpful resources and support groups. If you are unable to attend an in-person support group, online support groups, like the IOCDF Anxiety & OCD Support Group, or the Procrastination Stoppers Group may be viable options.
Other resources that can help you break free from OCD and procrastination include OCD books, articles, to-do checklists, a daily calendar, an accountability app or partner, a reward system for when you accomplish your goal or complete a task, positive affirmation so you feel empowered to take initiative and complete your tasks in a timely manner.
Dealing with OCD and procrastination can be challenging, however, it is possible to truly break free from an OCD and procrastination cycle that is taking over your life, and destroying your self-esteem and relationships. Using various techniques to understand the causes and triggers of your stress, anxiety, and OCD and procrastination tendencies can help you better manage them. Moreover, having a strong support system can teach you how to make positive changes in thought processes and behavior. Being proactive and taking these important steps can help you become OCD-free. So, take the first step today, and start your journey towards having a happier, and more fulfilling life.
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