What makes human beings different and superior to animals is our ability to anticipate, plan, and think about the future. We can literally change our future. Due to this extraordinary ability, it is normal for us to have worries and be anxious from time to time. However sometimes when worrying and anxiety is excessive it can become pathological, affecting our lives and the people around us.
Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias are among some examples of excessive and unnecessary worrying or anxiety. Such people generally need some form of intervention to improve their condition. However, for the majority of us we do not have an anxiety disorder but we are just anxious throughout the day with no particular reason. If that is the case you are not alone and help is a lot simpler than you think. The best part it is free. In this article, we will learn about a particular technique used in treating people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that has also been shown to help people with anxiety, compulsions, and bad habits such as smoking, and gambling.
When worrying is too much
People that have OCD are “great worries” as Doctor Norman Doidge calls them. Their worrying like those with anxiety disorders are in a class of their own (Doidge, 2007). OCD usually starts to develop in young adults who were fairly anxious as children. People with OCD lock onto a worry and can not let it go. In their heads, they may try to resist thinking but they cannot. The threat feels so real to them that they think that they must attend to them. Typical worries or obsessions to them is the fear of contracting a disease or illness or being contaminated by gems but their worries are not limited to that only. OCD patients are always second-guessing themselves. Sometimes they think: “ Did I turn off the geyser?” Then let’s say for example they have been driving to work and that thought comes to their head. Then will go back home to check if the taps have been off. Then when they leave the thought again will come to their heads.
Sometimes their worries can become very bizarre. I have read experiences of people with OCD that may seem very strange to most. For example, a husband thinks that his fingers are made of razors so he is afraid of touching his wife thinking that he will hurt her. He knows that it is not real but he just cannot let go of the thought (Doidge, 2007). His mind just insists that the blades are there. Cases like these seem extreme but there is hope for them. Jeffrey M. Schwartz has created an effective treatment to help those with OCD but can also assist those with bad habits, and anxiety.
The Lock Brain. The treatment
Jeffrey M. Schartz’s technique comes in three stages. The first stage is relabeling. When a thought comes to mind that causes anxiety or worry, it is important to label it for what it is. This means recognizing that the thought is just that, a thought, and not necessarily a reflection of reality. The second stage is reattributing. This means realizing that the thought is not you, but rather a product of your brain. The third stage is refocusing. Instead of dwelling on the anxious or worrying thought, it is important to redirect your attention to something else that is pleasurable (Doidge, 2007). Examples could be listening to your favorite music, gardening, talking to someone close to you, reading a book, or reading my blog posts. It is important to do this exercise as soon as the obsessive or anxious thought comes to mind for about 15 min to 30 minutes. By following these three stages, you can learn to manage your worries and anxieties more productively and healthily.
In conclusion, the Lock Brain treatment can be effective for managing excessive worries and anxieties. By relabeling, reattributing, and refocusing, individuals can learn to redirect their attention away from anxious or obsessive thoughts and towards more productive and enjoyable activities. It is important to remember that seeking professional help may also be necessary for those with severe anxiety disorders or OCD. However, for the vast majority of us, this technique can be a great help. If you found this helpful you are more than welcome to tell me about your experience. If you want more value you can go to my About and check out my book. Remember though to always keep trying to live the life you deserve.