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. Thank you for the reply James it really is very much appreciated.

    The Thoughts are just thoughts and, simply not paying attention to unwanted thoughts sections have helped me in the past so I will certainly be trying to do this again and you are so right everything is much worse when I’m tired, it just feels good right now to admit to someone other than myself I have this mental health issue.
    I have always believed in God since I can remember my faith has always been a very happy relaxed one up until about 3 or 4 years ago when my ocd fear and anxiety began, if I didn’t pray it was ok and if and when I did it always felt good to do so whether I was asking for help or just saying thank you, worry fear punishment and anxiety didn’t come into into my faith at all, and I hope to regain my happy relaxed fear free faith once again in the not to distant future.

    I can’t tell how good it was to read on this site exactly how our minds work and that our brains are working for us not against us, just understanding this alone brought me great comfort, thank you to both yourself and Micheal for providing this help for people.

    Is it possible to buy The Happy Guide in UK book shops ? I don’t do internet shopping so I was wondering if I could order a copy from WH Smith’s or another high Street retailer ?

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    1. You’re very welcome! It sounds like you have a good mindset now, that’s great. You should be able to order Happy Guide in “all good book stores.” :-) Just give them the ISBN number and it should pop up on their system.

      They’ll probably only need the ISBN-13 but just in case the store is using an old system, I’ll give you both versions:

      ISBN-10: 0957091125
      ISBN-13: 978-0957091122

      Best wishes,
      James

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  2. Hi James and Michael
    I’ve been reading for about a year now and have to say it really has helped me to understand that I not only have ocd but how ocd works, it really was a relief to read my mind was being over protective rather than actually working against me, that was scary to think my own mind had it in for me :-)

    My ocd like so many peoples I’ve read about involves my faith to some degree and to cut an extremely long story short I’ve got myself into a poor old state of mind where I’ve confused my faith and my ocd which involves me panic praying quite a few times a day in order to stop bad things happening.

    I know this is irrational and it’s disrespectful towards my faith but i don’t seem to be able to stop it, at points during the day I have to make an excuse to get out of the company of others so I can what I call panic pray and if I can’t get away from people I panic pray in my mind which involves me trying to switch off and ignore the people around me in order to say what I hope will be a quick prayer but because I must get the pray right then it can distract me for ages as I have to pop in and out of conversation with other people while trying to pray in my mind best I can.

    Because I’ve been reading the articles on this site for a while I have more understanding of my situation and have had some small successes for short periods of time but I just seem to have a couple of good days then the ocd comes back with interest and overwhelms me again.

    I’m not particularly a religious person but I have always believed in God and had nothing but comfort from my faith my entire life without an ounce of fear involved but unfortunately that all changed when I met someone who said some stuff that played on my mind, to be fair to the person who said the things that bothered me they didn’t say anything I hadn’t heard and dismissed before but for some reason this time it got in my head and played on my mind so I looked for reassurance on the internet, huge huge mistake :-(.

    Rather than finding reassurance I found fear for the first time ever about my Faith that involved our every thought being known and judged and that was it, I have been slowly but surely driving myself insane trying to make sure every thought I have isn’t in any way shape or form unkind disrespectful nasty or bad in any way shape or form for fear of them being judged and myself and those I love and care about being punished in some way or given up on.
    Apparently we have around 50 to 70 thousand thoughts each day most of which are negative so trying to keep all those in check and apologize for all I get wrong has proved exhausting to say the least :-).

    I haven’t told anyone anywhere about my ocd and the issues I have until now and it is a realief to actually say something to someone other than myself although I’m sure my family and people close to me must have noticed my strange behaviour and possibly even poor mental health at times.
    Thank you for reading this and I would truly appreciate any help you might be able to offer, as said it does feel good to at least share this with someone and good luck and God bless to all the other people who have shared their stories, I hope we can all find a way back to an ocd free and mentally healthy life again.

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    1. Hi, I’m glad you’ve found the Happy Guide articles helpful, that’s great.

      Let’s summarize your situation and “action plan”…

      ~ You understand that our minds are protecting us, not tormenting us. We train our minds through what we pay attention to, and how we react to things.

      ~ Our minds are wired for habit because what “worked” yesterday will likely keep us alive again today. Evolution is the simple story of “what worked” over and over again. So once we have trained our mind that something is important or meaningful, it will continue to pop up again and again. Such is the power of habit.

      ~ You know that “panic praying” is irrational and not wanted. It’s not a part of your “desired outcome” here.

      ~ You’ve had periods of success, even for days at a time, where you ignore any urge to pray — and all is well. Nothing bad happens. This tells you definitively that it’s “safe” to ignore the urge, that it’s just an old habit that’s not wanted or needed.

      ~ Your ability to not care about, and ignore, the urge to pray, depends on your state at the time. If you are aware and relaxed, you have choice. Freedom. You can choose to ignore it. If you are stressed, tired, if your mind is running on auto-pilot then you effectively have no choice and the urge can be overwhelming — in this state we “become” our thoughts almost automatically.

      ~ So the aim is to maintain awareness, what Mike and I call “listening,” at all times. This way, we always have choice.

      ~ As mentioned, your ability to choose in any given moment, depends on your state. Are you healthy, relaxed, aware? Your whole lifestyle affects your moment-to-moment state, so I recommend making sure all factors are addressed. Everything affects everything else — the book will help you here if needed.

      That really is the top and bottom of it. Maintain awareness, so that we can choose to ignore/not care about junk thoughts or habit urges. In the long-term, correct all lifestyle factors so that we naturally feel good and choosing “in the moment” becomes easier and easier — effortless in the end.

      The more relaxed you are, the more you genuinely have a “don’t care” attitude towards a thought, the quicker your mind gets the message that this is no longer helpful/meaningful/needed and the quicker it stops popping it up.

      Hope this helps :-)

      Best wishes,
      James

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  3. 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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  4. 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

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