Many of my clients that ask me this question are very concerned about this. They pride themselves in having a clean house but they know that they spend a little too much time cleaning things that have already been cleaned. What I tell them is very helpful. When they do something such as vacuum the floor, I say to them: “When you vacuum the floor, say out loud, I just vacuumed the floor and I will not do it again until tomorrow.” When they have a hard time after about an hour or so, I tell them to just post pone it. Say to yourself: “I’ll do it at five o’clock, then when five comes around say that you’ll do it at eight o’clock, then just put it off until tomorrow.”
The reason that this helps is because the more you postpone something, the easier it is not to give in to the compulsion. Here is a great example: I lost my cat, she was always peeing all over the house and scratching everything up. I felt the very strong urge that I had to go and make fliers and go to every house looking for the cat, even though I knew that I was moving and could not keep her. I did miss her but I knew that these urges were a little more than just concern, it was OCD.
I then put it off until the next day and the next day and the next day until finally, it became easier to not do it at all. That is how I beat that obsession with trying to find a cat that I could not keep and really wasn’t behaving really well. It all worked out for the best. So you can apply this lesson to your obsessive cleaning as well. You see, you have to slowly expose yourself to the anxiety of not doing your rituals. Once you do this, you will start to feel the burn mentally, just like you do when you are working out.
When you start to work out, you really don’t feel like doing it but you know that you need to. The knowing that you need to keeps your going until your muscles stop being so sore and you get used to it, then you actually love going to the gym because you love how you feel after you work out. It’s the same with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. You need to start facing your anxiety because you know you need to, then when you start to feel victories, you want to continue facing them because you love how you feel when you have a victory.
Apply this to any kind of OCD ritual that you have, not just obsessive cleaning. I’m telling you that this is one of the most important parts of the puzzle to getting rid of your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder once and for all. You are actually changing your brain chemistry when you do this and it’s for the better because you are training yourself to do the correct action. Now one of the other most important aspects of dealing with this is…