20 years of OCD cured in 2 days!

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

One to one help — personal coaching

The answer is always distraction but it can be hard to reach “the point of letting go” as I call it. Thoughts can take us over rapidly and can seem incredibly urgent and meaningful.

This is where some personal coaching can help. If you’re interested in the idea, you can let me know using this form. All details are kept strictly confidential.

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

  1. Madam i am suffering with similar problem from 8years its a big story read with patience and tel me the solution.from my childhood iam very active and wel in studies my sir is so confident on me that when he is not there i used to tel clases.some of my friends are not reading wel and i tel them to read wel but they dont care and suddenly i got a heavy feeling in the chest and i think why these people are not reading wel they said their own reasons and suddenly i got reverse thinking why i am reading why i dont have such thougts slowly i think much about that and always getting a heavy feeling in the chest while reading from then onwards i developed a feeling that when ever i start reading i am getting heavy feeling so i cant read properly i got good marks but i should have got much good marks than that if i dont have that i entered plus 2 i have the problem continued and slowly developed a thought that mind always tels against my good future i got above 90percent marks in theory exam but in medicalentrance i dont got seat i prepared for one more year by taking coaching where one physics lecturer always tels about mind and positive thoughts but my mind used to take them reversly wht ever he told not todo my mind thinking to them and there went dispute between me and my thoughts and i am always arguing with the thoughts and cant study wel and depressed one day i saw a movie in which there is a saying that while arrowing out looks should be always on target but my worst mind think it reversly from then i cant concentrate on visual goles and not even in sentences of the book from then onwards my educational life become miserable i am getting irritation while reading with great difficulty i read and secured mbbs seat in government but the problem haunted me i ran away from the house in the first year but come back again and not attended the exam of first year and failed from then onwards i strugled very much to read and completed mbbs with 64percent not failing any where i never read with ful concentration always the problem haunted me for al my friends and family members this is a stupid and not at al a problem but for me it is a mega problem and now i am in my pg medical entrance preparation i getting al these negative thoughts and suicidal ideas as im not reaching my goal what to do???

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    1. Hi Raghu,

      Reading/studying has become associated with fear and anxiety. And you continue to build more and more thought-habits around this subject. And then the more you try to hold it off, push it away, give it meaning, the bigger it gets, because attention is the volume control for thoughts.

      If you pondered other students problems with reading, and considered “OMG what if that was me?” And then you have a mini shock, a fear, a mini trauma, then the idea goes deep and becomes associated everywhere. This happens with lots of other thoughts too if they cause a shock.

      What you need to do is rediscover your enjoyment of reading and studying, and ignore all these “reverse” thoughts — see them as garbage, useless, just there because you feared an idea and it got lodged in your mind.

      So… you’ll need to practice. Go to a quiet place where you can be alone and relax. Now use a guided relaxation CD, MP3 or a simple relaxation method to get into a really calm state, and have a book next to you to pick up, when you’re calm. When you’re really calm, press your middle finger and thumb together to anchor or associate this state.

      Now… pick up the book and read really, really, slowly, stopping at the end of each sentence to make sure you understood what it said and you’re not just reading it without understanding. If tension/anxiety comes in, put the book down and relax some more, take some deep breaths and be sure to see any reverse thoughts as just garbage and ignore them. Anchor you relaxed state again.

      Then read some more, and repeat like this for as long as you want to.

      Keep practicing and keep anchoring. Then when you’re in class or whatever, if you feel tension coming, take a big deep breath and press your fingers together to recall your state.

      Please persist in practicing this and if tension comes, stop, and relax again.

      As you start to get “wins” and your concentration comes back, you’ll get more and more confident and the whole thing will become a distant memory.

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  2. Very helpful. Will try these beautiful suggestions today. Hope it helps. Thanks Mike for replying to all the comments by users, on everybody’s behalf! May God bless you always.

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  3. I always find your articles very helpful. I have anxiety – the doctors have put me on medication but it doesnt work. Thanks very much

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  4. Great article. This is absolutely correct.

    Focus attention always on that which is good for you. Worry, anger, jealousy, pain, fear, sadness, etc all come from a lack of control and focusing on them will lead you to feel helpless.

    There are things we cannot change, so concern yourself with what you can, or with what you have a passion for and enjoy greatly.

    You’ll get alot more done that way.

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  5. I suffer with severe anxiety and ocd (intrusive thoughts) and like you i feel distraction is the best way to deal with it, but for the life of me i can never distract myself enough and seem able to constantly think about it no matter what i do!

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    1. Hi Emma,

      Are the intrusive thoughts important? Do you see them as important? That’s the first question.

      You do need to see thoughts you want to let go of as unimportant and you can use reason, talk to friends etc to get to the place where you’re ready to let go. Then make a clear and unshakable decision — a pact with yourself not to pay attention any more. When the unwanted thoughts come, give them no importance, just have the attitude of indifference and then RIVET attention onto something else… like what you are doing, or some object… or you can intensely rivet attention onto the space in which thoughts happen… your mental “field.” This stops thoughts.

      Your ABILITY to do all this can gradually be improved by regular meditation. And the functioning of your brain can be improved by lifestyle… there are many lifestyle factors that can severely affect your ability to control anxiety.

      If you’re interested in exploring all this in more detail, I would recommend reading Happy Guide.

      In my friends case, distraction alone was powerful enough WHEN he gave it 100% effort and a clear unshakable decision not to pay attention. The article shows the incredible power of attention alone but in other people there maybe other contributing factors as I mentioned. It was only after the “2 day” turnaround that we could be sure that other factors weren’t playing a big part in his case — in his case, thought habits alone were 99% of it.

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