20 years of OCD cured in 2 days!

© Mathowie

I often write about my friend who has “OCD” — obsessive compulsive disorder. Because the issues he faces are the same ones we all face.

His are just more extreme, more obsessive but they’re the same. Just two days after giving his full effort to just one simple technique he called me…

“I’m cured,” he said.

This was after months of severe anxiety states. He was shaking a lot of the time, sweating heavily at night. His thoughts were racing constantly and he couldn’t control them.

He had to stop work several times and his life was grinding to a halt as he avoided as much as he could and withdrew into his private world of pain.

The reason I’m telling you all this is to show you the amazing power of attention. The technique is simple — distraction…

Attention is where your power is. Attention is the volume control for thoughts — as I’ve told him a thousand times.

The “cure” lasted ten days. Ten days of almost complete normality with no sign of OCD. And it took only two days to go from gibbering wreck to happy and enthusiastic using only distraction. Amazing!

Old habits die hard

And his cure would have been permanent but for the fact that ten days later after burning the candle at both ends, he had some little twinges of anxiety that triggered the old way of thinking. Slowly for a further 4 days, he ramped the whole thing back up again.

Again, this has powerful lessons for all of us. “Old habits die hard” as the saying goes. After making changes, we need to be sure to bed them in well.

It’s like riding a bike

“This OCD” I tell him, “is just like riding a bike. You’ll always be able to do it. Just DON’T GET ON THE BIKE.” Unfortunately he did — despite the most severe warnings. I talk to him for hours and hours and hours. “I can’t do this without you,” he says.

The truth is that all this talking is really unnecessary in the sense that it has only one purpose. To convince him that distraction IS the answer — to explain to him that his way can never work, and to get him to commit 100% to the simple method of distraction. Once he commits; two days. He is normal after two days. Twenty years of OCD gone.

If you stick your hand in the fire… it ALWAYS burns

So… round and round we go. As I speak he’s fallen back into the old way. Now he needs me to talk him out because it’s very foggy in there. He can’t see his own way out. I hope and pray that this time he’s learned and he won’t need to stick his hand in the fire one more time to realize… IT ALWAYS BURNS!

Thoughts are… just thoughts

The lesson for you and me is that thoughts aren’t us. They are for the most part conditioned reactions that we believe in and identify with. Once you can see thoughts as just thoughts, you have the power to remove your attention from unwanted ones.

Now you have a choice — to pay attention or not. Whether it’s because you want to stop a bad habit or stop a thought loop about a girlfriend that just dumped you, the process is the same. Distract from thoughts you don’t want (ie. ignore them) and their power is gone.

The amazing power of attention

Once you know this simple process, you’ll find a thousand ways it can serve you. Someone says something hurtful? Distract. Worried about tomorrow? Distract. Craving unhealthy food? Distract.

This one simple technique ALONE can have a massive impact on your health and happiness because you always have choice. There is always a choice of where to put your attention. You can stop reacting to everything in the same old conditioned way — the way everyone else reacts — predictably.

Master the process

Now you make your decisions consciously. You are in charge — not old habits, old ways and the same old reactions. If distraction can end 20 years of misery in only 2 days, what can it do for you?

Learn and master the incredible power of attention and you’re going to get happier and happier.

It’s been 8 years I am searching for a cure. Just to tell you thank you so much, I started the attention (distraction) method and my OCD is fading away. Many thanks!!— Jad, Canada

Update: I received this feedback from the friend I talked about in the article:

Sometimes there’s things you don’t want but it’s a reality. But I now know thinking can bring nothing but more suffering. I don’t do OCD anymore. Thanks to you. Love you brother x— Paul Attwell, UK

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

243 thoughts on “20 years of OCD cured in 2 days!

      1. Hi

        I have ordered book , waiting for it!!

        Now here is my story..

        I am suffering from OCD and depression from last 7.5 years.

        When I was in 11th standard I watched one movie with gay character..and random thought came in my mind is that I am gay..and lots of more thought I cant describe here…at that time no help is available to me..so for six month I was in terrible anxiety…i have tried many time to prove by doing some nonsense thing to prove that I am not gay..I have too many thoughts regarding suicide too..one day I told it to my mom..and then we went to one normal doctor..doctor told me to ignore it..

        I have started ignoring it..it was very difficult initially..than I able to ignore it..but at same time I was not sure whether I am gay or not…so that thought is there but I was just running away from it..trying myself to running from that thought…i got some temporary relief..And than I entered in college.

        However it was then converted in depression..negative thoughts about future my self ruined my life..thoughts regarding homosexuality were also there..I have accepted that now this is my life..so I was living very sadly..no happiness at all..trying to escape from family function..no friend..stay home all day..that what I have done for 4 year…just think not a single happy day…in this way I completed my graduation..i got distinction but you know it does not make any sense until you are depressed and unhappy..I also suffered from lack of self confidence,self esteem and stuttering..all this thing mad me crazy..i had no idea what to do..but yes I have completed my graduation..

        Than I got one job..i was there with so many girls…that depressive and gay thoughts are there..i was in anxiety ..one day one random thoughts came in my mind that I am transgender…at same time I am in love with one girl..i am totally confused what to do…i have tried to ignore it..but it was not possible..24*7 I am thing about same thing…no other thought…this thing was there for 1 year. i have tried so many thing for distraction like study more,playing,helping needy people..but nothing helps me..actually it has make situation more complex.. I have decided to talk to one psychiatrist..

        He told me that I have ocd. .I even don’t know what it is..i have done some research and yes..i believed what he said..we started psychotherapy and medication..and my situation become more worse ..initially.. later I found some relief…but that was temporary..yes I was depressed and ocd patient..but I had a hope that thing will become better..i have started to read some positive books and watching inspirational video on you tube..it gave me some boost..now I had very less transgender thoughts..but now again homosexual thoughts started..I was staying in boy hostel ..so now this thoughts are so powerful that I have believed that yes I am gay..but again that thoughts are there..its coming more and more..even doctor is helpless..eventually I have accepted it…and as I have accepted it become less..

        now I was able to handle both gay and transgender thoughts..with less anxiety..yes I am not happy with this thought but I believed that this is my life I have live like this…now as I have excepted this thoughts..another thought started in my mind about relation ship..that he is not good..she is not good..they are ignoring me..no one is giving me importance..etc..i was again in anxiety….i have even excepted this thought too..and started in living isolation..with no friends..it gave me temporary relief..but again it was there…

        Now I some what able to live with this gay,transgender and relationship thoughts..again one new thought came in my mind is that I am very weak in my job performance..i dont know anything..all are better than me…i wont be able to do anything in life..others are considering me as weak…this thought has ruined my life..i have decided to give up..decided to left the job..

        I just want to say that I have very good job career ,family and awesome friends..but one thing I am missing is happiness. yes I am doing all the thing but forcefully..no inner satisfaction…
        Yes I am doing good things like reading books about happiness,spirituality and inspiration..but its not working that much..

        However I have decided to fight back..and started to live new life..I am on medication..
        I have stared to do mediation,mindfulness which has given me temporary solution..now I am less anxious ..but still I am not happy..I have fear that thought will come again. and yes sometimes many thoughts are there..so always worried. sometime worried about my career sometime worried about sexuality..some time worried about my happiness…sometime worried about depression.

        My question is why this thoughts is coming back again and again..what is the reason..where I am missing..do I have to live all my life in this situation…is there is any hope for improvement..

        I need your help to come out from this trauma..
        I have FAITH that I will come out of this with your help!!!
        Please help me…I will be thankful to you..

      2. Hi Ashutosh, you are not your thoughts. You need to learn to still your mind and no longer be identified with your thinking. Happiness is not about life circumstances, it’s about your “state” and the big causes of happiness are health and peace of mind. The book will go into more detail about this. In the meantime, check out these articles, which explain how thinking, fear and attention can cause the kind of issue you’ve described…

        https://happy.guide/2012/02/06/am-i-gay
        https://happy.guide/2013/12/11/big-picture-unwanted-thoughts

        Have a read-through and if you have any questions, just leave another comment.

        Best wishes,
        James

  1. Hi james,

    Thanks for your reply!!!
    I wilk definitely follow book..
    And I have faith that I will come out of this with your help…today I have decided that I am not my thoughts…thats it..
    I am going through your articles read one wonderful sentence ..the solution is impossible when there is no problem..

    I want to you to write on stuttering and anxiety…if you want I can share my experience. .i don’t want to see people waste there time in doing same thing I have done .
    Please write separate article…

    Thanks again :) :)

      1. Hey james.. i was confused so wrote a wrong comment.I dont want to write something else,thank you.

    1. Hello ashu,m n ocd patient too,once i got away completely with one ocd fear,n my experience says that different ocd fears hv different solutions which happens automatically in our mind.In my case,the solution came automatically in my mind.

      1. Oh sry.. i wanted to say it to ashutosh.But still i want to make correction,i wanted to say something else n i wrote it completely wrong.

  2. Hey Mike/James,

    It’s teddy from last year. OCD isn’t really a problem in my life anymore and it never really affects me, however I have a new problem and I have turned to you guys for help, because I know you’ll have the right solution.

    So recently I have thought about how I am kind of a 1% person, and I have this bad feeling about all the people that aren’t rich in the world and suffer. I used to not feel bad about this but for some reason I do. Also someone told me that “we are all gonna die some day, so what’s the point of doing anything” and I don’t think that’s right (of course there is purpose to life!) but for some reason I obsess over it and feel bad also!
    I also am just not confident. I worry my jokes won’t be Funny, I worry that if I don’t talk then I am unsociable, and if I do talk a ton and get energetic than I am crazy. When I used to be energetic I never thought I was being crazy.

    Do you have solutions to all these problems? I would be very grateful for a quick response because these things are making me feel bad/guilty/anxious and I want to just be my confident happy self but these things are in my way!

    Thanks,

    Teddy

    1. Hi Teddy, glad to hear the OCD isn’t a problem anymore, that’s great!

      “I have this bad feeling about all the people that aren’t rich in the world and suffer.”

      It’s natural to empathize with others like this, and it shows you’re not lost in your own mental world anymore, which is great. The feeling isn’t a problem, it’s normal :-) Just let it guide you. Just “listen” to the feeling and let it guide your actions. Maybe it doesn’t prompt you into action right now, that’s fine.

      But maybe one day you’ll walk past a charity shop and feel compelled to donate something. Maybe you’ll feel compelled to give up an hour or two a week to a worthwhile cause in your area. Who knows? Don’t make a problem out of it, just acknowledge the feeling and see where it takes you, if anywhere.

      “We are all gonna die some day, so what’s the point of doing anything?”

      The answer is for the JOY of it :-) Of course, whether or not we feel joy mainly depends on our state, our biochemistry. That’s why health and peace of mind should always be our top priority. We get happy first, and then *see* what we do. The person who said that to you was in a tired / low-vitality state at the time. I can almost guarantee it :-)

      “I also am just not confident. I worry my jokes won’t be funny, I worry that if I don’t talk then I am unsociable, and if I do talk a ton and get energetic than I am crazy.”

      It’s not “real” and conducive to happiness to live through a mental filter like this. Use the Live in the Moment chapter of Happy Guide to stop this kind of habitual thinking. When you put it into practice, you will act and re-act to all situations completely naturally, without thinking.

      Best wishes,
      James

  3. Hi james
    here’s my problem..
    I actually don’t know weather m actually suffering from from ocd or not…its a matter of 6 months back when I started to have unwanted thoughts..like how our brain understands things,how our brain is able to store things on its own, why different people have different level of IQ’s..its like I obsess on everything the human kind the universe,science, maths who invented these things, y our body is like what it is now, y do we have thoughts, how one is able to understand what m saying to him, how m I able to understand what the other person is speaking to me..I consulted the psychiatrist he told me that m having ocd and provided me with meds..But do I really have ocd.??

    1. Hi Arbaz, wondering how our brains work, why we all have different IQs and so-on — that sounds like a healthy interest in humanity and the universe to me! It’s entirely natural to be curious about these things. Michael and I certainly are.

      What matters here is if you feel out of control. If the thoughts are disturbing, or if you’re “obsessing” about them, then make a new choice. We choose with our attention so remain aware, and when they pop up, distract / ignore as Michael advises in the article.

      Based on what you’ve told me, I’m shocked (but not entirely surprised) at how quickly your psychiatrist decided to throw meds at you.

  4. One more thing james ,
    the thoughts which I generally had though sounds interesting but actually are disturbing.sometimes when I cant find answer to my thoughts I suddenly starts crying..do u think its healthy/normal..??

    1. It sounds like your overall state could probably use some attention. Are you generally in a relaxed state? Are you looking after yourself? ie. are you getting enough sleep, eating healthy food and so-on? Do you have any worries or stresses in your life? Issues such as unwanted or disturbing thoughts are often born out of an anxious/worried/worn out state. It’s also much harder to control our attention in that state.

  5. Hi James, i saw your blog talks about ocd. I am unsure of if my case is ocd or not and it’s just so rare that i had noone on the internet having the same issue as me. Mine is only obsessive thoughts. This problem has taken my life away and changed me to a completely different person. My friends and family member are dead worried too.

    i am KH 20 year old and i am from singapore.

    Bascially i never had OCD before, never had any mental illness other than some sad moment in your life that you would certainly face and get over it and i am telling u i might have OCD is because what i am experiencing does not have explanation nor logic, only OCD symptoms could link to what i am currently facing.

    So 3 weeks ago i started to have thoughts of shirt touching my neck, like the sensation of shirt touching your neck area, slowly i became aware of it and now i can’t kick it away, like i would always have the thought of it and can’t focus in what i am doing. That’s one symptoms i could link it to OCD.

    But at the same time, i could experience headache, neck and shoulder pain, i feel tired even i had full 8 hours of sleep, i don’t eat more used to what i eat, my hands are restless, so i do not know if it could be myself being sick.

    This thought, purely this, i do not have other issue, just this issue. Because of this issue, my life went a 180 degree turn and i really want to kick it away and lead my usual life back. Could u tell me how can i kick this type of OCD away. I don’t mind suffering just for the time being, all i am concern about is this being with me in my whole life. Because of this, i at time have suicidal thoughts. I really want to kick it away and out of my life. can u please give me advice and help me get out of this nightmare please.

    Thank you for listening james!

    Cheers,
    KH

    1. Hi KH, I’ve added the email you sent me to your comment above, but I’ve edited your name so that it’s anonymous.

      The answer is in the article :-) Thoughts are just thoughts, they have no inherent importance. It’s *us* that make them important with our attention, and by worrying about them.

      So the answer is to distract away from them, ignore them. Give them no meaning or importance. Do nothing and as soon as that thought about the shirt pops up, distract. Calmly put your attention back to what you were doing (ignore).

      I suspect this issue has popped up during a period when you’re more tired or anxious than usual — or maybe you’ve just been overdoing it for too long. The aches and pains indicate this too. It’s important to live in a calm, relaxed, healthy way. Make sure that’s the highest priority in your life.

      1. Hi James, i do not know if this is sensorimotor ocd because all i read online is people having it will focus on their blinking, heartbeat, swallowing etc. And they can’t focus when they are having it. All of them said they have good time and bad time meaning they feel it on and off, at specific hours per day. But for mine, it happened 3 weeks ago, it is only the neck issue, i do not have thoughts or wanting to focus. It’s just etc your nerve sending signal up and let you feel it. Which mean is always constantly. 24/7 i have been having this. So i am like damn lost, because it is freaking me out. But to say, not only this issue but my health issue changed with it too, so i really do not know what happened to me.

      2. Hi KH, you don’t need a label for this issue, you just need to ignore it. You noticed your shirt touching your neck and you gave that idea attention and importance. As a result, the thought popped up again and then you worried about it (which gives is lots more meaning and importance), which means it’s now firmly “on your radar.” It’s like when we buy a green car and suddenly we notice all the other green cars. They were always there, but now, we notice them, they are “on our radar.”

        So the solution is to ignore it, don’t care about it. If you want to cover all the bases, check out this article…

        https://happy.guide/2013/12/11/big-picture-unwanted-thoughts

        It says “Thoughts come back depending on the meaning you previously gave, depending on your attitude to the original event. What meaning did you give? How did you react?”

        As mentioned, you gave attention and meaning to something that usually doesn’t have your attention and isn’t important at all. So, to get rid, you must change the meaning and attitude to “don’t care.” That really is it, but as I say, that article really covers all the bases.

    2. Its been about a year,since u posted this,so not sure if the information m going to give u,u had it now or not.Well..,maybe james may not like this,about giving u this info,but as an experienced sufferer of sensormotor ocd,i was also curious to know about my illness like u.Its not a long info,u just read it,n thats it,the clearity u need to know.The problem u r having or i wish it’s not there now,is sensorimotor ocd.U said that the people u read about had different problems like breathing,blinking,swallowing etc.,people have problems like u too,basically its the sensation thing,it may be breathing or the thing in ur case.Well.. the solution is what james told u.

  6. hello again,

    I’m still having problems about the guilt of being rich, and seeing other people poor. I feel like being rich itself is against gods will because he doesn’t want poor people so we should just give all of our money away. I also feel guilty and bad about being white. I live in a very white comunity. Last year when I went to the golf course, I would just enjoy it. But now I obsess over how everyone is white and racism white privelage etc. and it makes me feel HORRIBLE and so that I can’t enjoy the things that I used to. How do I stop this?? I want the life that I had last year back.

    Thanks so much,

    Teddy

    1. Hi again Teddy. I believe that if there’s a God, he makes no judgment about what’s going on down here, that what we’re experiencing is all part of the rich tapestry of existence, and that it’s probably impossible for us to fully understand it with our limited human minds :-)

      If there is a God, the idea of him being judgmental makes no sense to me whatsoever. Why would he create imperfect beings and then judge us for being imperfect? So we must follow our own feelings.

      And if your feelings lead you to take action against inequality, that would be a wonderful thing. That could be in many different ways. The best action you can take is to show people how to be happy. Because once we’re simply happy, our true nature — our loving, compassionate nature — shines through. In that state, the idea of mistreating, or exploiting, another human being is basically impossible. It would be like abusing ourselves.

      Unfortunately, we are all born into a world where the causes of true happiness are little-known, and it certainly isn’t taught in schools. So we must learn it ourselves. That’s why Mike and I created Happy Guide. It’s badly needed in the world.

      So there is nothing to feel guilty about. You have simply been born into a privileged position in the world. This is neither good nor bad, it’s simply a fact. Make no judgement about it. Ignore feelings of guilt about it. What it does mean is that you have an opportunity to make a difference. What you *can* do is take action — show others how to be happy, so that their natural compassion shines through.

      You can refer people to the home page of this website, or you could buy and hand out paperback copies of Happy Guide. Mike and I spend our time keeping our information up to date and reaching as many people as we can — people who are often in desperate need of help. You can support that work with a one-off donation:

      http://selz.co/1KFoB3v

      Or if you’d like to make a regular donation, that would be hugely appreciated (just let me know and I will set it up).

      When we’ve created happiness far and wide, rich and poor will become a thing of the past. We will all realize that *my* happiness is *your* happiness, because we all affect each other. In the meantime, we will simply help as many people as we can. Helping even *one* person makes a difference… and that person’s life will touch a hundred more :-)

      Best wishes,
      James

  7. Hey James, thanks for your advice.

    There’s still this one thing that’s bugging me, that makes me feel bad and upset, and that I am semi obsessing about. It’s racism that I am thinking about. White privelage. I used to be able to play golf, and love the game and all. Now I think of

    1) golf is a country
    club sport, and clubs are exclusive, and that’s wrong (but I used to love the clubs I played that I played at!)

    2) the comunity I live in is all white, which has to be caused by some sort racism (am I wrong??) and so how can I enjoy my comunity when I know that others cannot because of racism??

    3) how can I enjoy my own life if there are other, starving people in the world??

    It is these specific things that really have me upset, and make me my not normal self.

    For these specific scenarios, how do I solve them to get back my old life when I didn’t have problems with this?

    Thanks so much,

    Teddy

    1. 1) I don’t know much about golf clubs. But if it bothers you, why not do a bit of research or ask around about your club. If you get feedback that membership is very elitist or even racist, and you don’t want to support a club that acts that way, that’s completely understandable. I would feel the same way. How we spend our money is the biggest vote we have. It’s much more important than the political vote.

      I would look for another club, and if I found they were all the same, none of them would get my money. To be honest, I would be very unlikely to ever join a golf club. Memberships are expensive and I would be very aware of the good that could be done with that money. That’s no judgement on anyone else playing golf of course. We must all follow our feelings.

      2) An all-white community isn’t necessarily racist. For example, a lot of places have a “chinatown” area. People of similar backgrounds/traditions/interests tend to group together to a certain extent. However, as with the golf club, if you’ve heard repeated stories of racism or elitism that makes you uncomfortable, then you might consider moving to somewhere with a more diverse ethnic mix. Personally, I prefer that. It’s fascinating to meet people from different places, with different ideas and traditions. Much can be learned that way.

      3) You need to accept that the world is the way it is. Humanity has lost its way, become disconnected and separate to a certain extent. As a collective, we don’t yet see that *my* happiness is *your* happiness. Few people are living in their natural, compassionate state. If they were, hunger simply wouldn’t exist, as we easily have the manpower to feed, clothe and house everybody.

      Unfortunately, the prevailing system (capitalism) is a competitive one. It sets us against each other. Instead of co-operating to the benefit of everyone’s happiness, we compete for jobs, resources and wealth. Both at an individual level and country level. It’s an absurd situation.

      Things are slowly improving with organisations like the UN. But in the meantime we must simply accept that the world is the way it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference, as I’ve already said. If hunger is a particularly wrenching idea for you, why not donate to charities that help starving people, or even volunteer to raise money?

      But you need to make a choice. You can either live the rest of your life feeling guilty, which helps absolutely no-one, and only damages your own health… or you can feel lucky and blessed to have food in your belly and a roof over your head, and then decide to dedicate x amount of time or dollars a week to help make a difference.

    2. Hey teddy..,first of all with all due respect to a wonderful human james,i want to say that james.. u didnt read,i mean by mind,the problem of teddy correctly.Teddy,the thoughts which r coming in ur mind,r not part of ur actual thought process,its the fearful thoughts,ocd,which is precisely called moral scrupulosity in ocd.The person tends to think,”is this against the morals?”,”is it right or not?”,”i think it is wrong”,”how can i do something wrong”,its the fear not the actual u.

      1. Hi Kush, I think we have to be a bit careful before saying “It’s just the OCD and that’s that.”

        ALL thinking is not the actual “you”. You are not your thoughts. So the ultimate answer is always to achieve a still mind, where we’re no longer identified with our thoughts. There are several things we can do to move towards that state, most notably meditation.

        But there is also nothing wrong with looking at individual thoughts and making a decision on them, in order to get “unstuck”. When we do that, we move to a feeling of resolution. This is always the aim — to return to our once natural state of “let go-ness”.

        You can become obsessive over literally anything and then give it a label such as Moral Scrupulosity (and people do). That doesn’t mean there’s no value in looking at an individual thought such as the idea that it’s morally “wrong” to join an elitist club. Coming to a course of action / resolution over a thought is extremely free-ing and often the first step to letting go of other thoughts. As mentioned, I would feel exactly the same way as Teddy, so it’s a thought that’s worthy of conscious attention, and a clear decision.

      2. So when my mind is clear and I feel great and love my bf and do not have my unwanted thoughts that’s really me? The anxiety ridden thoughts are not a sign of me actually being what I fear then?

      3. Hi Dee. Exactly — that’s the real you. You are simply a presence. Pure consciousness. Think of that consciousness as being the “background”. Thoughts are something that happen “on top” of that. The mistake is getting into a state where we think habitually, constantly, and we believe those thoughts are actually us! We call this network of thoughts that we identify with, the ego. To quote Mike in the book:

        “The ego is the illusion of a million thoughts we incorrectly called ‘me.'”

        Best wishes,
        James

  8. Hello,

    I’m sorry for being here bothering you, but I really don’t know what to do anymore. Since February, I’ve been studying for an important exam that I’m going to do in October. It has been SO exhausting and stressful for me that it already gave me serious headaches, neck pain and all that stuff. But, 3 weeks ago, I watched a interview, on YouTube, of a guy that became a girl, he was a transgender. Since then, I can’t stop thinking that maybe I’m a transgender as well, but I never, as long I can remember, had this desire before. I always liked being a boy (I’m gay) and now I’m scared that maybe I can be a girl. I already put some women clothes, tried to imagine myself with long hair and all that feminine stuff, but I don’t see myself like that. (I think feminine stuff really beautiful, but I don’t see myself using it)

    I found your website, read all the posts about these intrusive thoughts, all the comments, and I had progress, actually. I spent one week being happy again, away of these thoughts. But Saturday and Sunday were stressful days for me, and I think that’s why the thoughts returned.

    I’m trying to do what you said, ignoring my thoughts, pretending they’re nothing, but I always think, 1 minute later, if I always wanted to be a woman, had this locked inside me, and now this desire is surfacing, you know? I can’t stop thinking about it because it feels so real. I can’t study anymore, I can’t sleep anymore (spent almost 4 days sleeping 2 hours only), my life sucks right now.

    My friends says to me that I’m not a transgender but my mind doesn’t want to accept it. I’m so sad right now. Can you help me, please? I want to be happy again and I have no other help.

    Thank you.

    (I’m sorry for my English mistakes, I’m from Brazil.)

    1. Hi valdemirjr

      Transgender people “just know” they are in the wrong sex body, they feel it from the earliest age, just as gay people “just know” they are gay. So this quagmire is the result of giving meaning, fear, attention to an idea. It is your very sense of self in question, in doubt, so you have given it a lot of meaning.

      What we give meaning to comes back to be resolved. So to let go you need to find peace with the idea that you are not transgender because otherwise you would have always felt it, and that this is the result of meaning and attention to a thought. Once you feel happy to let go, then simply ignore, because we don’t give attention to meaningless thoughts.

      You have even explored the idea by wearing clothes etc and it didn’t feel right. The feeling is the truth of it.

      All the stress and lack of sleep has resulted in confusion and clouded judgement. So put your lifestyle back on track to feel better, as well as ignoring every thought to do with the idea of being transgender, until it is not there, and you are not aware it is not there, it’s just not there.

      It feels real because that is what fear does. It shows you what you fear in a very real way because you perceived danger and reacted. Fear is primitive, whether the danger is real or imagined, the response of the mind is to show you the danger with a sense of extreme urgency and vividness.

      So you SOOTHE the fearful part you created by staying consistent in the NEW TRUTH “nothing to fear or worry about, my mistake.” The fearful part takes some soothing, so repeat over and over for as long as it takes. The clearer and happier you are with the new truth, the new way, then the faster the fearful part is soothed.

      You have experienced how fast it happens, but STRESS and lack of sleep caused a loss of control and disturbance in your mind. That’s why it’s always a multi-pronged strategy that works the best. This is exactly what happened to my friend in the article. He was cured, happy, normal until he got no sleep and then the mind isn’t working right and clarity lost, and the old conditioning/fears come back.

      1. Hi Michael,

        Thanks for reply me. I tried to do what you said about ignore my thoughts (as I did last week) but IT’S SO HARD. Last night, I went to sleep and I wasn’t thinking about my problem but today I woke up and thought about it all morning. In the afternoon, I put on my mind that if I didn’t ignore this thoughts, I’d ruin my life, so I started ignoring it FOR REAL. It’s been SO hard because there’s something inside me that says that I’m denying my condition although I know, deep down, I’m a male. Is this what fear does, right? Trying to ignore it’s making me so anxious and stressed, I feel chills all over my body, but I put on my mind I can’t succumb to that.

        OCD is so terrible, right? I had this crisis three other times and they were terrible as the one I’m through right now. I hope I can get out of this and live my life was I always lived.

        Peace. x

      2. Hi Pedro, yes this is what fear does. It’s primitive, like if you watch a scary movie, all sorts of horrible feelings and thoughts can happen afterwards even though you KNOW it’s just a movie. Same here, you KNOW you are male, the rest is a primitive reaction to what you perceived as danger. And just like with a scary movie, you just stay in your truth that it’s just a movie and let the rest die away on its own.

        So any thought or feeling that comes to do with your issue, you just observe it passively and refocus away. No discussion or pondering or trying to stop it coming. You are to do NOTHING other than stay in your truth and so see all other thoughts as just a reaction to your previous confusion, and so as irrelevant. In other words you no longer care about them because now you are clear.

        Where is this problem when you are not thinking about it? Non existent. It’s not a REAL problem, like say a lion, because if you are not thinking, it doesn’t exist, as oppose to a lion that will continue to be danger if you stop thinking about it.

        Your issue is only terrible if there is doubt, then your mind is split and you are unclear. You know deep down you are male, and that is the clear truth that you need to amplify, to hold, to settle into, so that you are at the POINT OF LETTING GO. Now all other thoughts seem silly in the light of this clear and bright truth that you know deep down.

        And everyone, including me, is agreeing with your truth of being male, so you have full confidence in it, even though previously you were confused for a little while.

        Why give any more attention to something meaningless? So as a thought comes, simply LOOK AT IT, see it is rubbish (although it may feel important, because that is what fear does), and refocus away (ignore).

        That’s all you need to do. It’s very simple.

        Peace to you too.

        Mike

    2. Also, a true sense of self comes from literally feeling yourself, the thoughtless, wordless presence of your BEING. When you settle into that state of being, then what flows comes from that true place, wholeness, being wholly yourself. And when you begin to TRUST that, to trust yourself, the unconscious part that is nevertheless you, then everything becomes very simple and very good. This is nothing weird or mystical or difficult to comprehend, because it is the natural, spontaneous and joyful state that children are most often in.

      So when we get lost in confused thinking and lose this connection, this feeling yourself, it causes a lot of suffering.

      The thoughts that come when you are primarily trusting and being yourself have a sense of rightness and truth about them, so you don’t suffer self-doubt, everything works as it should, as a whole self.

      Read these articles to get started, and keep coming back to your center often, habitually, so thoughts don’t cloud you out.

      https://happy.guide/2010/10/13/what-does-meditation-do/

      https://happy.guide/2011/10/27/start-meditating/

  9. Hey James, Thanks a lot for all your help, your thinking helped cleared my mind on a lot of stuff–I feel like in this age our minds can get easily cluttered and become confused.

    There are still two things that I am still confused of:

    One, is I become very sad whenever I think of how someone has less than me in terms of wealth/priveledge, and guilty as well. I used to not think this way. I don’t know what to do? It makes me really sad and upset though

    Second, I am really getting hung up on how strictly I need to follow the bible. I am a Christian and always have been. I certainly believe in God and in Christ. But there are so many strict guidelines and I worry if I don’t follow them then I am not really a Christian, or a good one perhaps. For instance “turning the other cheek” but I know that doesn’t work with bullies, or just being a boy, sometimes you have to “punch back” (and I mean with words, only in a dire situations with fists that luckily I haven’t had to deal with). Am I just taking scripture too literally? Or when I talk crap about people etc. whenever I don’t do something the bible says but that our culture does. I am obsessing over over this how do I get over it? I feel like if I don’t follow everything Christ/the bible said then I am not a true/good Christian. However I know that on certain issues, like genesis, it can’t be taken literally. Of course evolution happened (duh). Help me with this problem I have please.

    Thanks so much,

    Teddy

    1. Hi Teddy, James isn’t around for a few days.

      I think I would feel the same way as you if I had a lot of wealth and others were struggling. This is a big conversation and I may post about soon, the solutions, the causes etc, but briefly, society is set up so that we are competing with each other instead of cooperating, and the need for each person to “make it” on their own is really at the roots of a lot of insanity. You could use this sense of injustice you feel to imagine how it could be better, because ideas are the most important thing for change to happen. Everything starts with an idea. I have been thinking along these lines for many years, and although there has been little actual change, I talk about it with others, so the ideas spread, and when enough people are holding the vision of the better way, THEN you will see shifts in the outer structure of society that is resonant with the better feeling ideas people hold as vision.

      The teachings of Jesus all become clear when you realize that what he is teaching is love, and that all the advice like “turn the other cheek” are “what love does.” Love does not hate or make an enemy of a bully say. Love loves the bully, because it SEES all the connections, all the causes, the confused and separated, disconnected state of the bully who is not being who they really are but something less. When you try to follow rules in order to change to being good, it doesn’t really work… trying to love the bully while you really want to hit him or hurt him. The only way is to BE love first, then you are having compassion for the bully, your drive is to heal all, not to punish the bully and love the victim, but to heal all.

      When you take “what love does” and try to do it, you’re always going to be split, confused, in an inner battle. Align with love first by meditation, living in the moment, practicing awareness of thoughts, and you gradually move more and more into alignment with love, which is really who you are, and then you will ACT FROM love.

      Mike

  10. Thank you James. I 19 and I am super straight and I am very masculine. But recently I was watching a video on YouTube about gay and it knocked the wind out of me…. I had fear what would happen if I was gay.?am I gay? Etc. Than I went in net and learnt that its a type of ocd called HOCD or sexual orientation ocd. And the treatment is ERP… exposure response prevention. And my ocd went within a day or two. Then a couple of days later I saw caitlyn Jenner video. I got ocd of what I am a transgender…. I got rid of it fast. Then I saw a documentary on mental illness. And ocd kicked in….. I was having same symptoms as a pervious commenter asuthosh had. But I hardly had these thoughts for 3 days. But I thought I would venture deeper into what caused all these idiocy so I went on a blog about HOCD and it was very good later I saw comments section it made me panicky because I saw a guy comment that he cured it within a few months and another man who still gets chronic thoughts for years. Well I had had cured it within couple of days.. So this makes me afraid that is my approach effective because I just treat it like a vague thought that doesn’t require my attention. And it worked perfectly. But others took a long time . This makes me afraid about relapse and I got a relapse I cured it instantly. So. What to do.? Should II o I am obsessing that have i really cured myself….? And I. Would also like to know. How Mr asuthosh is coping with his ocd….thank you again for the positive post.

    1. In so many cases the OCD label is sooooo unhelpful. It pains me how often people either self diagnose OCD or are even officially diagnosed by a professional, when really all that happened was you reacted to, and paid attention to, something that required ZERO attention. You reacted to an *idea* with shock/fear and then gave lots of attention/importance to the resulting thoughts and feelings.

      Because you reacted “big” to the *idea* of being gay, the thoughts and emotions keep popping up and seem incredibly important. That’s how the mind works. We communicate what is important to our brains by how we *react* to events, thoughts and ideas. But instead of realizing that *we* created the sense of importance, we interpret it as something that we just weren’t aware of before, or that somehow arrived “externally”… So we think “Omg, I can’t stop thinking about this — it must be true!!!”

      But no, the *whole thing* was entirely self created. Big reaction of shock/fear to an idea, followed by lots of habitual attention. That’s all that happened.

      So. You know you’re straight and now you know *how* you created this, you can relax and ignore all thoughts and emotions on the subject. When you do that, they will fade away out of your world… and because you don’t care about them anymore, you won’t even notice.

      Best wishes,
      James

    2. Hello..,i just wanted to answer about ur concern of u getting cured in 3 days,another person in months,and an another person who has been struggling from chronic thoughts for years.Its not a matter to worry,the cure can happen anytime.

  11. HI Mike ,

    I have taken antidepressant for 5 yrs.As its side effect i have lost my Libido (Sexual Desire).

    I have taken different tablets to regain my libido back but none of them helped me. I have tried
    Bupropion ,Buspirone , Pramipexol tablets to increase desire but non of them worked for me. I have not able to feel pleassure in pleassurable activities. I have dopamine defficiency as a result i have not feeling plessure in doing sex.
    I am very frustrated now. Can you please help me to regain my sexual desire. Please tell me how to increase dopamine.

    I have taken HAppy Guide book last year. I am doing exercise also but nothing is helping .

    PLease help me regarding this problem.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Atul, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. The nature of your question suggests you haven’t fully absorbed the book yet :-) It’s important to understand the mindset, and put it all into practice — it all matters. This gives your the body the best opportunity to perform as it should in every way — and also allows you to simply feel good for no reason. Health and happiness is our natural state, so if you’re not feeling it, your lifestyle still needs correcting.

      Best wishes,
      James

      1. HI James ,
        Thank you for replying me.

        I am following the Happy Guide book. But my question is how to come out of antidepressant Sexual Desire lost side effect. I am not able to feel pleasure in pleassurable activites like listening music , doing sex etc. Due to prolong use of antidepressant dopamine defficiency occured. Dopamine is pleasure chemical in the brain.From last 3 yrs I have tried different medication to increase sexual desire but not helped any.
        I want to increase Dopamine level in the brain.

        Do you know any method to increase Sexual Desire without any side effect?

        Mike is on vacation?

      2. Yes — put the causes of health and happiness in place. That’s the only way to do it without any side effect. Drugs are not needed for our bodies to function properly. They didn’t even exist until very recently in our evolution. Plus, there is not a single drug out there that doesn’t have side effects, because they are unnatural. This is key information. Trust me Atul, I know that you’re not familiar with the book, or at least have not taken it “on board.” Please read it carefully, it’s all there. If you were familiar with the “Discover the Happiness Secret” and “Be Free from Drugs” chapters especially, your questions would be answered :-)

        Best wishes,
        James

      3. In other words — all you need to do is focus on putting the Happy Guide lifestyle into practice. This gives your dopamine level (and all other levels) the absolute best chance to regulate themselves. You won’t even need to know what dopamine is :-)

      4. OK Thank you James.

        I will put the Happy Guide lifestyle into practice.
        Is antidepressant induced Sexual Dysfunction side effect goes automatically without any medication.

        From last 4 yrs ,it is present. I am frustrated for this.

      5. There is every chance Atul, because the Happy Guide lifestyle will give your body the best chance to do its housekeeping and function fully. You may be able to short-cut the process a little in terms of your actual issue, by prioritizing certain foods. I remember seeing a documentary about guys who solved sexual dysfunction by including raw onion, I think it was, in their diet. Worth Googling anyway :-)

      6. Hi Atul, I will just quickly add what what James has already said. Depression is caused by inflammation which has many causes that all need to be addressed through lifestyle e.g. balancing essential fatty acids, removing grains and dairy etc. All these things are critical in that failure to address any cause may keep you trapped. That’s why it’s always a multi-pronged approach.

        Stress is another factor feeding into inflammation, so you’ll be wanting to do as much as possible to stay relaxed and not send signals to your body that danger is everywhere.

        Severe inflammation can be tricky to resolve as the biochemical processes involved can create a self-perpetuating cycle. Fasting is the fastest way in my experience to resolve inflammation, as the body starts cleaning up by a process called autophagy. You could simply skip breakfast every day, or just have something light like grapes or watermelon for a month or two and this will help.

        Follow the diet precisely because it is designed to be anti-inflammatory. Initially it will probably be helpful to increase your omega-3 more than maintenance level, so you could have oily fish every day for a while.

        Focus on resolving the inflammation and creating health (homeostasis). That’s the key. Drugs can never address these causes, and just add more long term problems as they throw delicate biochemical pathways even more out of balance.

      7. Thank you for your valuable information Michael & James.

        I will follow the direction suggested by you & will inform you about the updates.

        Thanks once again.

      8. Atul,

        Many clinical observations relate an early (between day 2 and day 7) effect of fasting on depressive symptoms with an improvement in mood, alertness and a sense of tranquility reported by patients.

        http://www.psy-journal.com/article/S0165-1781(12)00815-3/abstract

        From the conclusion…

        Today many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs in psychiatric disorders. Our goal in this article was to increase psychiatrists’ awareness of the potential positive effects of adjunctive fasting therapy on mood.

      9. Thank you Michael.

        For cooking of food which cooking oil will you recommend , considering my sexual desire lost case.

      10. Hi Atul, almost every symptom we can experience, almost every disease, including loss of sexual desire, has the same causes — loss of health. So the solution is restore health. For cooking, I would recommended oils that are low in omega-6 like beef tallow, lard, duck fat, olive oil and coconut oil.

  12. Hi James and Michael,

    It’s Teddy again, and it’s not an OCD thing I think…OCD isn’t really apparent in my life anymore! My problem is more of a spiritual one and I thought you guys would be able to really help. I’m a Christian. Always have been and never doubted the existence of God and at certain points I got really into the church. I’ve been baptized and confirmed, etc. but then I sort of had this crazy breakthrough that has really altered my perception at the moment. First off, most of the gospels are apparently historically immaculate. Second, there is so much bad stuff that happens in the bible. Third, many other civilizations have their own religions and past ones as well and for those past ones we see them as myths. But the fourth one is really my biggest problem and it really has made it hard for me. That is, I learned early in being a boy that you have to be able to fight back. You need to stand up to bullies, and be aggressive with them otherwise they won’t back off. You need to be able to punch back if need be (thankfully I’ve never been in that situation). And also in life, you need to be able to get what you want, be assertive, successful, etc. and that takes that same sort of thought process. But my problem is that this seems exactly contradictory to what Jesus said. He said “turn the other cheek”. Now in the past I would just say “oh well you can’t read the bible literally” but now, that just seems like bs if you know what I mean. “Oh well you can’t take the bible literally” works for things like Genesis but I feel like it doesn’t make sense in terms of going against what literally my savior Jesus Christ said. But I know that how I acted previously wasn’t bad or anything–it’s just life! And I know that I will continue to have to be that way, to be the man, be tough. It’s like I see famous American Football players praising God (Christians) and yet they themselves can be cocky, and violent, getting in fights sometimes. But in the past I wouldn’t really see this as anything against Christianity or wouldn’t really take it that seriously! So I don’t know what to think now, except for the fact that I will have to continue the way I was in the past. I am not a violent person or anything, I just have learnt that in life you need to stand up for yourself: physical, verbal, etc. if you can see where I’m coming from, can you please help me with this problem? Because I don’t want to lose faith over this situation. My school is a very secular environment, that never bothered me in the past but now I just can’t stop thinking about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Teddy

    1. Hi Teddy, it’s very difficult to talk about religion as people are very much identified with, and defensive about, their own particular branch.

      I will say this: Happy Guide is about creating a happy life and religion is not *required* for that. The big causes of happiness are health and peace of mind. When you have both of these conditions in place, the result is a simple, joyous “feeling good for no reason.”

      Nothing else is required. That state is pure and joyous — it requires no thought, no ideas about who we are, no mental self definition.

      Best wishes,
      James

    2. Hi Teddy, a lot of the teachings of Jesus are riddles, intended I believe to cause those who hear them to want to discover their meaning, which is exactly what is happening with you, so it works :-)

      I’ve studied spirituality for a long time, and I’m familiar with the teachings of Jesus. Interestingly I once read, I think it was in the Tao Te Ching, that “a master creates confusion in those who think they know,” which certainly correlates to what Jesus strategy seems to be :-)

      The opening line of the Gospel of Thomas which is basically a list of the sayings of Jesus is “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.” So the goal is for the person to “discover.”

      Also, I agree with you that the Bible is a mishmash of documents and writings, some of which have been interfered with, stuff added, stuff removed. And it is certainly incorrect to take the Bible as the finished Word of God to the people, as many do believe… that is if it is in the Bible, it’s “Gospel.” :-)

      To your dilemma… Jesus often spoke about what I consider to be “the finish line,” e.g. love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, etc. In my experience, trying to be something, like loving towards your neighbor, or loving towards an attacker, verbal or physical, is basically egoistic. The ego by my definition is a false sense of self caused by identification with thoughts. So the ego wants rules, definitions; “here is who I am and what I do in x situation.”

      The ego phenomenon is cause by a split from being “whole” in the first place, and so trying to define ahead of time what you need to do in x situation in order to be a good Christian, is not the way to go in my experience and opinion.

      Deciding ahead of time straitjackets you and totally limits your freedom to act in the best possible way according to what x situation is, which cannot be defined ahead of time.

      BUT when you practice living in the moment, which is what being whole is, then you bring all that you know and perceive into any action you take, and you allow your unconscious, bigger and creative mind, to work through the conscious to create the best action for that situation.

      There are a million factors that could play into x situation, and the conscious mind cannot do that math and pop out the answer but the unconscious can.

      Jesus also warned against worry, which is what you do when you project an imagined future bad thing into this moment, and then worry further about who you are in relation to all that.

      Wholeness brings self-trust. When you focus your energy onto being whole (present), then you start to trust the unconscious creative self to act spontaneously in the moment in the best way, it becomes a powerful experience.

      So really it boils down to “how can I be my best self in every moment” and that is the 6 lifestyle elements in the book. All powerful individually, and give the best results when working synergistically.

      The core teaching of Jesus is love, and that is wholeness too “thy will be done,” “I and the father are one.” What happens if someone attacks you and you are whole, loving? Do you then hit back? In my experience no, because love always wants to heal, and sees clearly the situation with millions of interconnected causes. We hit back when something in us is hit, so out of that pain we hit back. But what if nothing gets hit, no pain, only love? That is what Jesus is talking about when he says “turn the other cheek.”

      So align with love by being present essentially, it’s a very simple thing, but not easy to do at first, it takes a consistent intention and effort. And then see what you do from this consistent state of presence. Align, experience “loving your enemy.” That is a powerful experience that can never be had by the egoistic decision through worry to try to be better.

  13. Good article ,
    Does this work for all types of OCD?
    I am suffering of many different taboo and also gay sexual intrusive thoughts.
    I no that i not really want that what pop ups in my mind.
    But because of the Groinal responses i keep worrying.
    At the other hand i notice that my groin also can react only when i am affraid that it reacts.
    I have no erections, only in the morning sometimes a little growing there because of an intrusion or only because of the fear getting one.
    I suppose that i am in the morning more vulnerable for the ocd.
    Is that possible?

    So i was also wondering how my groin can react on taboo and gay thoughts. I mean is everything on a continuum????
    Or is that because of the confused ocd thinking and wrong attention?
    But how can that happen?

    I mean sometimes i think i my mind sexual thinks that i never want in real life! That happens only very rare but that is how the ocd ever started.
    Has everybody sometimes (like i have very rare) egodystonic thoughts? I mean thoughts or feelings you never want in real life.

    I hope you can help me with these questions.

  14. Hi James and Michael! I’m so thankful for this article. I’ve suffered from anxiety for nearly a year and I’m tired of every minute of my life feeling like a war with myself. I’m ready to get back to my carefree self. I have been doing The Linden Method, which has the same principle as you- diversion. I think my problem is that I over complicate things. I definitely try to problem solve- I obsess over creating mantras that might work for me. Sometimes they do and I think I’ve found my solution but when it comes back and my current mantra doesn’t work I start making it almost like a math problem “why didn’t that work, what can i repeat over and over to myself to prevent this next time?” My current problems are that I don’t just have unwelcome thoughts, i think “anxiety, ignore, anxiety, ignore, anxiety, ignore” in the background of my mind basically every second of every day which is causing me anxiety in itself. I also think ‘What if I have a panic attack?” frequently when I am talking to someone. I’m not even sure what I’ve done different but I’ve gotten myself out of this loop (usually only for a day or two) and then like your friend, when the twinges come back I’ve reacted. I know that this background chatter is harmless, as are any unwelcome thoughts but they don’t feel that way. How do I undermine them? If I keep telling myself “I don’t care” every few seconds and continue doing what I’m doing despite how I’m feeling, will my brain catch on? I guess the point of what I’m saying is that I’m anxious about being anxious because I know I’m making the problem worse. Thankful for your input!

    1. Hi Pumpkin Spice,

      I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to figure out how to answer you without it sounding like a sales pitch. Because the absolute best thing you can do, the biggest shortcut you can take, is to read the book. It only takes about an hour. I was going to tell you about this that and the other thing, but the true solution is to remove all the causes of what you’re experiencing. This requires a multi-pronged strategy. When you put the book into practice, the outcome is health and peace of mind — feeling good for no reason. Everything you’ve described will fall away out of your life.

      Best wishes,
      James

  15. This is my post on the website of OCD Baltimore. I think it is important not only talk about unwanted thoughts but also unwanted (egodystonic) feelings that can sometimes happens in people their lives.
    Also strange sexual arousal, not every month but a few times in a lifetime for example.
    What i read on many websites like that from Jon Hersfield is that everybody can experience unwanted egodystonic feelings/arousal sometimes.
    I think many people have experience that sometimes in there lives.
    But that people can still be 100% straight!
    The attention people with ocd give to that occasional feelings is the problem. So By the wrong attention that feelings will become more pronounced.
    Beside that when you suffering ocd it is a fact that a unwanted thought wil pop up in your mind. After it pop ups it can also give an unwanted feeling. Thought-feeling-fear-wrong attention -fear-and so on.

    Do you agree the post below and what i discover?

    Tom March 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm – Reply
    Dear Jon,
    Does this mean everyone can experience strange egodystonic sexual arousal (occasionally)
    But people with OCD are going to give too much attention to an occasional strange sexual feeling so it can become an obsession?
    By the obsessive nature of the state of mind you can get ”caught up in feelings” The attention you give them, they create the real problem?
    Thinking and thinking what you feel, everything want to explain, the fears making them even worse and so on?
    By the obsessive character (OCD) weird sexual feelings (egodystonic) can get too much pronounce sometimes?
    I give my obsessive thoughts less space and check less and less. My OCD symptoms are getting less!
    So what you give attention on a wrong way can give OCD problemens that are there because of the wrong kind of attention?
    Exposure therapy in OCD is good because you get ‘out of the circle ” you create with your own mind? The sort of prison of obsessive thinking? Exposure therapy is like throwing someone who sleeps a bucket of cold water over the head so he is in reality again?
    OCD can give a sort of overload of egodystonic feelings?

    Jon Hershfield March 31, 2016 at 1:28 am – Reply
    Yes.

  16. What do you think James? Or others?
    To be clear: I know 100% that i only want sex with women. I never felt that i realy want to do taboo thinks. Never had a real erection from taboo thinks. Only Groinal responses and in the morning sometimes a little erection.
    But in the morning when i just woke up my thinking was also more confused. Then the ocd takes over sometimes. But i think that this is because i’m not clear in my mind in the morning when i just woke up. Just like when you are dreaming, people can also dream strange things.

    I had only very rare egodystonic moments in my live with strange feelings.

    But a few months ago ocd started. Many checking, compulsions and all things that fits in ocd.
    I wrote many times to Jon Hersfield and he also think that i developed ocd.

    1. Hi Tom, yes it’s all about attention. I did reply to your first comment on May 15th a little further up the page. Please check out those two articles, I think they will clarify things for you.

  17. Hi james n mike..,i’ve been suffering from sensorimotor ocd since 7 years i.e. from when i was 19 to 26 which m right now.The catch in my story is that,in the previous 4 years it was attention given to hyperawareness of seeing in another’s eyes,breathing,urination evacuation, 24/7,but now i dont pay attention to these bodily processes but still they happen,i feels for me to effortfully do them.,which feels like totally oppisite of my personality which happens,for about 1 hr.,which happens once in 2 months,when m under meds.Pls help me..,i gusess this all happens bcoz m24/7 under anxiety state.

    1. Yes indeed Kush, that’s why the true answer is always a multi-pronged strategy. Correct all 6 lifestyle factors. When you do this, you change your overall state from anxious, mind on overdrive, seeing danger and problems everywhere… to relaxed, happy, healthy and confident.

      Not paying attention to those bodily processes is a great start, and the right thing to do “in the moment.” But the true answer, the complete answer is to remove the cause of the problem — and that means correcting your overall state. Make it your top priority to check those 6 boxes every day. When you put the causes of happiness (health and peace of mind) in place, your problems simply won’t exist anymore. You’ll be simply, naturally, happy and healthy.

  18. HI Mr James. This is DK this side. I m suffering from OCD from my childhood. Now I m turned in to 30. Unwanted thoughts, too much worry, always thinking about sex, always unhappy, uneasiness. Tell me what to do SIR.

  19. Hi james n mike,i hv a query that how is this possible that without thinking or worrying,anxiety is present?

      1. Hi james,the reason for my query is that i’ve been suffering from sensorimotor ocd,since 7 years,actually i should say “ocd” for first 4 years,but since 3 years ,i hv no sensorimotor thoughts of breathing,eye contact etc.,i dont obsess still my system of breathing is same way as in ocd,very rarely i feel normal for about 1 hr. then its again the same thing,i am again mentioning u that there is no thinking of thoughts,but due to anxiety it remains 24/7,thats why i was asking the question i mentioned previously.

      2. Anxiety is an after-effect of perceived danger. If you’ve given lots of attention/importance to things that should have had no attention, then you’ve communicated to your subconscious “this is a problem, this is an issue, this is something that needs resolving” — in short, this is potentially dangerous in some way. It’s all part of our survival mechanism. Attention (and especially attention combined with emotion) is how we tell our brains what is relevant, what is important, what is dangerous. Anxiety keeps us sharp and alert to that perceived danger.

        So although you may have got to a place where you are ignoring triggers / urges (which is wonderful!) that little mechanism in your brain may still feels that there is something important, relevant, dangerous even, about what you have been paying attention to for so long. It doesn’t yet know that the “danger” has passed — not surprising because these things become habits which we can then repeat for years.

        So “in the moment” the answer is always to ignore the trigger, the thought, the urge. Ignore the anxiety. Ignore any “backlash” from your mind. A regular meditation habit will make this easier and easier. When you persist with this approach, everything will settle down and you will get back to a peaceful mind.

        The long term answer is always to create a relaxed, peaceful, healthy way of life. Remove causes of stress and anxiety. Because these problems arise out of your state — your overall biochemical condition. The book tells you exactly how to create the conditions for health and peace of mind in the shortest possible time.

        Doe this make sense? Let me know if anything isn’t clear.

  20. Hi michael .

    I hv been suffering through extreme anxiety nd stress due to perceived negative aspect of life . I have gone in to another world of thoughts where i m not able to study nd achieve anything in my life .basic root of my negative world is fear of doing wrongs in life bcs of dat we have to suffer . I hv been idle in my life since 3-4 years . I feel helpless now . I hv not achieved anything . Pls suggest me what do i need to do. Can you help me anyway ?? I hv read out previous commnts of urs . I think you can let me overcome dis hell in my life . Pls help me.

    1. Hi Shef,

      The most important thing is to get back to feeling good first. Only then can you make good decisions about your future and be able to study well (if that’s what you choose to do).

      Unfortunately we’re born into a world where we’re (sometimes subconsciously) told that “success” is what life is all about — to make a mark, have an impact and make people proud. This can cause a lifetime of suffering, and of not feeling “worthy.” There’s more about not believing the common idea of “success” in these articles:

      https://happy.guide/2010/08/09/how-do-you-measure-success-in-life
      https://happy.guide/2015/03/12/study

      In the long run, I highly recommend reading the book. It will show you how to come out of your world of thoughts, and put the causes of health and happiness in place. From THAT state, where you’re feeling good for no reason again, you’ll be able to make clear, natural life choices. But don’t try to put the cart before the horse. Use the guide to feel good FIRST, then see what you do :-)

      https://happy.guide/book

      Best wishes,
      James

  21. Hello James and Michael

    I am suffering from clss 11 and its 3 years now
    At first i dont know what was happening. First year i was thinking that it’s not a problem
    But then i realize i can’t study and i can’t control my mind.. I think what i fear the most and i have thoughts which i cant say to anyone. I will do smethng wrong.. Hurt somebody or i will do something which i fear. But the worst thing i always think about dirt.. I wash my hands 25 times a day.. Then also i think they are dirty. Thw worst thing is that this thing is increasing. Now i have habit of rechecking things many times. I waste many time doing this. Everyday or in few days, i have suicidal thoughts. I have told my parents they just think its not a problem they just told me to ignore it or i can say here nobody knows about it. Then i searched on web, i was happy to know that its was “ocd”. Since then I am trying to get over with it. I am reading novels, and trying to think positively but it is not doing much help. Everytime i am sad. I cant feel good even when something good happens to me. I always have negative thoughts about everything. It is affecting my life . I m very stressed and depressed. I have lost confidence in myself like i think i can’t do anything becaues of ocd. My grades are going down. Please Help me, i dont want unwanted thoughts and i want to be happy. I dont want to waste my time doing unwanted rituals. Please tell me what to do..

    1. Hi Mini, it’s completely normal to have these kinds of thoughts, and to develop these kinds of habits, as a result of being anxious. Our mind deliberately “shows” us what we fear, in order to protect us from possible danger. It’s a survival mechanism in our minds, that evolved to protect us from real dangers such as lions. I don’t know your situation but a likely cause for your anxiety is pressure to get good grades and “achieve”. If so, please read these articles and get back to me. :-)

      https://happy.guide/2015/03/12/study
      https://happy.guide/2016/10/09/if-youre-happy-youre-successful

      Best wishes,
      James

      1. Thank you..
        I think you are right about my situation and it is normal to have these kind of thoughts. I am happy about this. I will do meditation and other things. By reading those articles, i came to know that i am almost like ashok. Somewhere i just want to achieve and in that pressure i become worried. By reading that article i realized that i always used to thought that by being successful i can be happy. But i was wrong . Now i will change my thinking. I think your articles helped me alot.But i have a query, if all this is normal then why i am confused with everything, i know what i am doing is not necessary and is waste of time but i can’t stop myself?? I can’t think that everything is right .Why this happens to me? Like rechecking of things and all

      2. It’s wonderful that you now have a new mindset!

        These behaviors arise out of our state. Anxiety produces anxious thoughts, and often habits. Anxiety is a “fight or flight” state — a state designed to save us from a lion. In that state, our thinking can become very confused, irrational, and result in strange habits and compulsions. To break the new habits, like rechecking of things, just do exactly the same as breaking any other habit like biting your nails. You catch yourself doing it (you notice it) and stop (distract), with no emotional reaction, just calm.

        In short, now you know the cause of what was happening to you, you can just relax about the whole thing and ignore all of the new habits. They will drop away quite quickly if you ignore them with no emotional reaction. Same with the anxiety — just ignore it, don’t worry about it and will drop away. :-)

        Best wishes,
        James

  22. Jeeze use guys are awesome definitely inspirationnal !!! I have ocd it poped up out of no were … Now I just have thoughts of different stuff one after another … But as I read this comments I think to my self that I can beat it !! Cheers guys

  23. It’s been 3 years was suffering from OCD. This Distraction method brought my happiness back.. I suggest everyone to follow this simple method to come out of the negative thoughts. Thanks a ton to “Happy Guide”

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