How to use Meditation and Mindfulness for OCD & Anxiety Recovery
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In this episode, we are going to continue our series on Meditation and Mindfulness, specifically, how meditation and mindfulness can help you with your OCD recovery journey.
If you wrestle with OCD & Anxiety, meditation and mindfulness can feel particularly challenging because being present with OCD & Anxiety means being willing to experience intrusive thoughts and anxious feelings head-on.
However, when you practice mindfulness - rather than attempting to stop these intrusive thoughts or feelings by acting on compulsions - you begin to practice allowing those thoughts and feelings and viewing them as temporary impermanent guests.
I hope you find this series and I hope you begin practicing meditation and mindfulness so you find more inner peace on your journey.
All right. Hey, my friends, and welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about how or use meditation for OCD and anxiety recovery. And so for those of you that don't know me, my name's Matt [inaudible] and I'm a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of restored minds and the creator of the AAA response. And on this episode, I want to continue our series on how we actually can use meditation and mindfulness to help our recovery process from OCD and anxiety. So a lot of us, when we're first diving into OCD and anxiety recovery, what we try to do is we try to take concepts and jam them in to what we believe recovery should be. Right. So for, for those of us that should wrestle with OCD, let's say you're wrestling with intrusive thoughts, right? A lot of us want to use meditation to ultimately have no thoughts.
And then we try meditation and the mind's chattering like crazy. And we're like, well, this doesn't work for me. Right. Or, you know, or we try to use it to get rid of our anxiety. And that's, it's such a backwards approach. And it, and it's just like taking a hammer and trying to, you know, saw a piece of wood in half with it. Right. It's like, sure. I mean, if you hit the wood hard enough, I mean, I guess the hammer will break it up, but it's not going to work as a solid because it's just not designed to do that. And what meditation really is about, it's about learning and practicing, sitting in the seat of self. Okay. Uh, or I'm sorry, the, the higher seat of self, the witness conscious witness consciousness seat, the observing self, the impartial spectator, again, whatever you want to use.
I mean, there's so, so much to go, go in there, just on that one concept. Right? So many different writings and teachings, but really this idea of learning to be the one who hears and sees the mind, not the mind itself, right. Not getting your consciousness sucked up into whatever the mind is saying. And that really, that space is what we're looking to help practice and achieve with mindfulness and meditation. So, um, you know, and, and when you look at the power of now, when you look at, um, by [inaudible], when you look at Michael singer with the untethered soul, I mean, they really go into this idea of witness consciousness and really seeing your mind as something that you are observing. Right. And in so many of us, what happens is we're so close to our, our mind, right? We have so little awareness of being the observer.
Then our attention is so consumed with whatever the mind is saying. So we get so caught up in the content of the mind, not even, not even realizing that we're having thoughts, we're so consumed about what the thoughts are saying. That that's what we believe our problem to be. And this is what causes a lot of people, a lot of confusion. And, um, really a lot of delay in hardship on their road to recovery is that they think what they're anxious about or the content of their mind is their problem. So they spend their energy focusing on trying to control that, thinking that that will somehow calm the mind down, which will then calm them down, you know, with the anxiety. And again, it's just so backwards because what using that and mindfulness is really about, it's about again, observing the mind and getting distanced from it.
Right. So when you meditate, as you see, as you see, you know, like in, in many teachings, stored minds, we have our whole meditation program for OCD and anxiety and, um, and just a real quick. Yeah. So if you, if you are, have been following our channel or show for any length of time, we'd really appreciate your support by liking it subscribing, um, just to give us some support, as well as commenting and letting us know, um, ideas for future episodes as well that you would like. But, um, but anyways, when we talk about the idea of meditation for OCD and anxiety, a lot of us are trying to meditate to stop thoughts, and we get frustrated because that doesn't work right. But really what we're doing with meditation is we are practicing, not getting our consciousness absorbed into the mind, meaning we're practicing, maintaining our distance, right.
That's subject object awareness, right? And so, as we meditate, a lot of times, what meditation teachers do is they teach you to anchor yourself in the breath. Why? Because the breath is always happening right now. You're focusing on whatever breath you have. It's in, it's out. You're not focusing on three per three breasts ahead, or a breath that you had in the past. It's like, it's always happening right now, which allows you to anchor your consciousness right now. And like I said, what the voice of the mind, one of the things in the last episode I talked about was how it always is either past or future oriented, because you've always been able to handle right now. What's difficult to handle is five minutes from now, five weeks from now, five months, five years from now, because you don't know what's going to happen, right?
So your mind creates these scenarios. And then you're trying to solve those scenarios when they're not really happening. And the problem is there's billions of things that could happen. Right. So seems very overwhelming. The future often sees, seems overwhelming to people simply because they're trying to solve the future before it happens. When really now you've always been able to handle right now. And that's really what life is, is just a series of now's right, right now, right now, and right now. And when we understand that, when we understand what meditation and mindfulness really is about, right. With meditation specifically, right today, what we're really talking about is a conscious, dedicated period of time that you're going to invest today in accessing being the observer. And, and look, I mean, like when you're first starting out, it's like, it might just feel like chaos in there and that's okay.
You don't get, get attuned to that. I get aware of that. Don't don't doesn't mean you should stop. In fact, that's the opposite. If it feels like that, that means you should keep going. And when you're, when you're, we are practicing meditation, the idea is, is that if you can, even one time, you know, draw your attention in your, your consciousness away from what your mind is saying and into one complete breath, it's like, that's a great, it might take you 10 minutes to do that. Right. It might take you 20 minutes to do that. It doesn't matter because you were able to practice just for a second drawing away from what your mind was saying, placing your consciousness in the present and being completely present with that breath in and out. And, you know, I heard once on a, an interview and I can't remember who, um, but that's, that's what he says.
That's how he qualifies. If he had a good meditation or not. And even then, you know, a good meditation is paradoxical because, um, you know, it's, you're judging the meditation, right? And you're going to hear about mindfulness, you know, with the nonjudgmental nonjudgmental, you know, attitude approaching it, but a successful meditation. Right. He, he said, if I can maintain my focus on one breath, it's like, well, that was a good meditation, right? It was time well spent because I was able to, you know, achieve that one moment of witness consciousness. And what happens is, is the more you practice it, the better you get at it. So not only are you able to notice when you're lost. Right. Cause that was like, when I, I talked about in the last episode is so many people are so lost. They don't even know they're lost. Right.
But when you're able to at least notice that you're lost, well, then you can at least start to bring yourself back. I mean, the first step of really being able to bring yourself back is even knowing when you're lost. Right. And if you're so lost that you don't know your loss, how are you gonna bring yourself back? And, and that's really what we're talking about when people talk about waking up, when they talk about, um, you know, bringing yourself back to now, what they're talking about is your, your conscious awareness and where is it placed if it's placed into your mind and what your mind is saying, then your conscious awareness is somewhere off in this fake future that your mind is making up. And you're trying to resolve that. And you're missing out on right now.
And that really is the tragedy of OCD and anxiety. You know, that's the tragedy of living with OCD, anxiety. And I lived with that for a long time. But you, what happens is, is you're so consumed with whatever your mind is saying, and you're so consumed trying to resolve that or that futuristic idea or whatever that you miss now. And if you miss enough, now's what happens is that you Ms. Weeks and then months, and then years of your life time, you won't get back. Great time and time. You'll never get back. I mean, and, and, um, you know, it always feels so tempting and it's so enticing sometimes what the mind is saying, that our ability to distinguish ourself from that, and then use a practice like meditation and mindfulness to keep coming back from it and to be now, be here now, living our life.
Um, you know, that, that is, that is what the practice is designed for. That's why it exists. You know, that's why it's such a worthy pursuit in many ways to have a meditation practice is because it's your time to train your mind. Right? So many of our minds, they just run wild, was run absolutely wild untamed, uncontrolled unchecked. And we think that that's right, but I mean, think about it. How many times have you sat there been having a conversation with your boss or someone that you're going to have a chat with in 15 minutes and you've already played out the whole conversation. It's like, what are you doing? Like if you're driving, are you even focusing, you know, like, you know what I mean? But we spend all this time doing this stuff and, and really never, uh, never even questioned it. And so the, the reason that we use meditation is to train our conscious awareness and where we're placing it, where we're choosing to place it, even realizing that we have a choice is so, so, so important.
And so meditation is that conscious time that we give each day, whether it's 10 minutes, whether it's an hour, you know, again, you know, when I first started, when I did, you know, when I really was very, very dedicated to my meditation practice, which again, I admit that I haven't been recently, um, I was doing 10 minutes a day. That was what I did. And then I bumped it up to 15 minutes a day. And in so many, and even watch your mind when you start trying to dedicate that amount of time to something it's going to, oh, I don't have that kind of time. I don't know how people do it. You know, it's going to start shattering right away. Right. And just noticing that, I mean, oh my goodness. It's so, uh, it's so paradoxical sometimes how the mind will often interfere with our meditation.
Right. And, um, so when we talk about OCD and anxiety recovery, we're not using meditation to stop the thoughts and we're not using meditation to get rid of all the anxiety. In fact, what we're doing is to be more in tuned with what we're experiencing as it is, and our willingness to embrace it non-judgmentally and allow our body and mind to process what it needs to process. And that's, you know, what I'm going to talk about in the next episode, when we're going to dive into mindfulness, um, and, and really dive into the four components of mindfulness. So, um, and, and again, we're, we're going to expand all that in the next few episodes here. So hopefully this was helpful in understanding why we would use meditation and why I think it's so important for people to adopt a meditation practice, especially if you're dealing with OCD and anxiety, but really using it the correct way and why we use it in the first place.
Cause if you use it with the wrong goals, you're going to get frustrated, right. But when you understand these concepts that I'm introducing in this series, um, you know, at least in my experience with, with clients that I've had before, it's that it's that they, they start to understand it from a different level. So hopefully that's is what you're seeing in this series as well. So thank you so much for hanging out today. Uh, I really hope you found this valuable. We have more resources, more resources for you [email protected], um, from free trainings, as well as our premium programs and coaching services as well. So if this is something you struggle with and you are looking for that higher level of guidance, um, yeah, please visit our site, check it out, contact us. Um, you know, we're here to help. If you wrestle with OCD anxiety, that's what we do. So thank you guys. Hope you have a great day. I look forward to continuing this series on you as a next time, we're going to talk about mindfulness. So I'll see you there.
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