The most important step in learning how to stop OCD rituals is to realize what causes your OCD to happen in the first place. One way of doing this is to start a journal. Write about your feelings during the day, even if you’re not sure that they are affecting your OCD. You will learn very quickly what is happening and why. The answers may surprise you. If this doesn’t sound like something that would work for you, talk to the people you confide in and trust the most. Have them pay attention to you and how you react to situations. Sometimes others will notice things you fail to see.
The second step in figuring out how to stop OCD rituals is to further educate yourself on what OCD is, what causes it and how it affects the brain. This will help you better understand what is going on and learn to react differently when you feel the OCD tendencies arriving. It becomes very easy to just think of OCD as someone being obsessive and compulsive in the most common way. After doing some research, you will quickly find there are many different ways that OCD can affect you.
The third step in understanding how to stop OCD rituals is exposure. Put yourself in situations that make your OCD go wild. What I mean by this is, let’s say your OCD acts up when you don’t wash your hands three times before leaving the bathroom, don’t let yourself do this. Force yourself to only wash them once and then you must leave the room. This is probably going to be the toughest step of all, but the most rewarding. This is where you get the best results and will start seeing changes. Trust me, it won’t be easy, but it will be very much worth it.
Another thing you can do when trying to learn how to stop OCD rituals is avoid situations where you know your OCD is bound to be triggered. When I say this, I don’t mean avoiding things all the time, but do it when needed. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself in the process of change. It can be something as simple as not going over to a friend’s house one night; because you know there is an OCD trigger there. Avoiding things once in a while doesn’t make you a weak person, it shows strength, because you are trying to better yourself and you are starting to realize what works best for you.
Learning how to stop OCD rituals is something that may take months, even years. Keep in mind, OCD has many faces, so it all depends on your individual OCD and how your brain is handling the symptoms. Thinking positively and not being too hard on yourself plays a major role in your success as well. Try not to overwhelm yourself if you have days where you ‘slip up’, because they are bound to happen. Try to think of them as part of the learning experience. The fact that you are willing to make this major change in your life shows improvement in itself.