Remembering to be mindful, or aware, is not easy.
It’s one thing to read about something. It’s another thing to actually do it, or even to remember to do it.
Relabel. Reattribute. Refocus. Revalue.
Those are the four steps created by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz to use in cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD.
Now I haven’t read his entire book, “Brain Lock,” yet. I’ve read a good overview of the steps I found online. I have a lot more to learn, and I have a therapist who will lead me through this.
But I want to do something while I wait for my next appointment, so I thought I’d start trying to catch myself in the midst of the obsessions and compulsions and practice the four steps.
I have found that some of my OCD habits are so ingrained in my routine that I don’t always realize I’m in the midst of a ritual until I’ve done it. I’m sure I didn’t even recognize a lot of them today.
I cut down a little on some of the checking, but I still did the compulsions.
I did have what I would call a small success. When I left work this evening, I didn’t go through my maddening ritual of checking my office lamps to make sure they were off. I turned each off, careful to be fully aware of what I was doing, and then I walked away. As I did, I reminded myself that I didn’t really believe the lamps were still on. Rather, I had a compulsive urge to check them. That was OCD, not me. And I haven’t thought much about it since.
I’ve got bigger issues to deal with, but I guess that’s a start.
I’m also reading the book “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I’ll write a review when I’ve finished. So far, it’s very good, and I think it’s going to help me.
If I can remember to be mindful.