This one obsession is ruining my life right now. How do I deal with it?

Asking how to tackle a specific obsession that’s causing lots of anxiety is like a person in the midst of running a marathon asking how to boost endurance because they’re struggling with feeling exhausted. They don’t like feeling exhausted, just like you don’t like feeling anxiety, so they want that to stop. That feels like the only problem they have–if they could just not feel exhausted they could win the race!

But building the ability to not struggle with that feeling is something they need to practice for many months before. Believing that there’s just this one problem is a mistake. What they’re experiencing is the result of many other decisions and contextual factors. A runner can’t get rid of exhaustion in the middle of a race. They can blame that problem if they want but overcoming it will involve many changes and supports throughout their life. Many of those changes or supports won’t seem directly related to preventing exhaustion during a race, but all of the supports are part of the big complex puzzle of fitness. If the runner insists they don’t need to stretch or eat healthy or follow a structured exercise regime or lift weights before the race because those aren’t things they struggle with–they only struggle with feeling exhausted during the race so that’s what they want help with–they’re never going to get better.Their ability to handle the issue that bothers them is determined by their daily practices in numerous other areas that don’t bother them.

Getting over OCD is about building better mental fitness. That’s also a big complex puzzle and will require many consistent changes on a daily basis. And those changes may not seem directly connected to what’s bother you. but if you recognize that what’s bothering you is poor mental fitness, then those changes are directly connected to what’s bothering you.

The simple reality is that if you’re struggling with physical health and fitness or mental health and fitness, you’re not dealing with a single problem or a single change that needs to happen. Recognize that there’s a difference between your health and the things that bother you about your health. It’s extremely likely that you’re making many decisions and engaging in many practices on a daily basis that are fuelling poor mental health.


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