How Meditation Can Assist Handle OCD


There’s no one-size-fits-all method to treating obsessive-compulsive dysfunction (OCD), however many individuals discover aid by way of meditation.

If you happen to haven’t tried meditating to assist handle your obsessive ideas and actions, now’s a good time to get acquainted with the essential method. Though meditation has been round for hundreds of years, it’s not too long ago having fun with renewed mainstream consideration because of in style apps reminiscent of Headspace and Calm.

The holistic therapy is beneficial by medical professionals, touted by meditation specialists, and praised by folks with OCD.

Dorothy Grice, MD, director of the Tics, OCD and Associated Issues Program within the division of psychiatry on the Icahn College of Medication at Mount Sinai, believes meditation (together with different therapies and/or medicine) could be an efficient option to handle OCD ideas or urges and the misery that comes with them.

Certainly, meditation is claimed that can assist you calm down and ease stress, amongst different advantages.

Transcendental Meditation

Adam Delfiner started having OCD signs when he was a teen. He says Transcendental Meditation (TM) has helped him overcome what he calls the “What Ifs.” He even wrote his dissertation on the subject.


This distinctive kind of meditation includes a twice-daily observe the place you repeat mantras. The mantras are meaningless phrases. They exist to channel a “silent, secure, quiet realm,” says Kelly McKay, a licensed Transcendental Meditation teacher based mostly in Brooklyn, NY.

Because the meditator in TM, you’ve permission not to focus on something. McKay says the observe strikes your brain from pressured right into a state of rest.

Conscious Meditation

Not like Transcendental Meditation, a mindfulness meditation observe doesn’t require mantras, although you need to use them if you’d like. You may meditate in a seated place, mendacity flat, or on foot, both standing nonetheless or strolling.

Carla Stangenberg has been meditating and bringing college students to the meditation mat for over 20 years at Jaya Yoga Heart in Brooklyn, NY. She describes meditation as “thoughts coaching.”

It’s about anchoring your consideration onto one thing, she says. By specializing in breathing and utilizing it as an anchor, you possibly can put your consideration on the current.

Though Stangenberg largely practices Buddhist-rooted conscious meditation, she’s tried different varieties and believes they will all assist. Conscious meditation’s deal with respiratory works to calm you down and gradual your busy thoughts. This appeals to Stangenberg, who turns to respiratory by way of meditation when she’s feeling pressured or anxious.

Getting Anchored

Meditation’s calming or centering impact works for Laura Fortune. Identified with OCD at 12, Fortune says she experiences OCD “as one thing that exists in a disconnect or hole.”

The hole separates her from her “floor, middle, physique, breath, self, internal witness,” she says, however meditation facilities her as soon as once more.

This is named anchoring. It means taking your thoughts from what it’s fixated on, whether or not you’re at all times worrying a couple of good friend or member of the family or feeling the urge to depend issues repeatedly. It brings consideration to your breath, a mantra, or imagery by way of guided meditation. If you deal with one thing else, you might be able to push out obsessive ideas and compulsive tendencies.

As an alternative of worrying for those who locked the door, you may flip your consideration to your breath. The place do you are feeling it? In your stomach? Chest? Your throat?

Marriage and household therapist Jon Hershfield, who focuses on treating OCD and associated issues, explains the method like this: Having the ability to acknowledge while you’re misplaced in thought and return to the current with out having to interact will help you break the cycle of obsession and compulsion.


Hershfield, who’s co-authored two books on mindfulness — The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD and On a regular basis Mindfulness for OCD, says the observe will help ease OCD signs.

He additionally stresses the significance of the anchor. Take note of your respiratory and see when your thoughts shifts, he says. Then return to the anchor — to the feeling of respiratory.

Over time, he says, you’ll get higher at noticing while you’re triggered so you possibly can reset your consideration.

One A part of a Therapy Plan

Meditation and different actions that promote well-being and a way of calmness will help handle your OCD signs. However medical doctors and therapists say they’re only one a part of treating the situation.

Hershfield likes meditation’s means to reel in fearful narratives and produce your consideration again to the current. It could possibly bolster the consequences of different remedies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you acknowledge, and alter, unhealthy considering patterns, or publicity and response remedy (ERP), the place you acknowledge ideas that upset you with out responding to them.


Likewise, Grice believes in utilizing CBT and ERP together with different actions that may promote well being, rest, and a optimistic sense of well-being. The bottom line is discovering “a optimistic sense of engagement.”

Meditation is one such exercise. And anybody can do it.