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OCD in the Digital Age

OCD | Anxiety | Mental Health | Economy | Recession | Crypto | Investing | Addictions | Purpose

News about the economic recession, volatile stocks and cryptocurrency plummeting can lead to feelings of emotional volatility, even when we see ourselves as factual, logical human beings. Knowing that recessions don’t last forever and stocks will eventually rise again, does not stop the automatic nervous response from reacting, especially when we feel that we don’t have a safe and secure network to catch us when we fall.

So how can we create more feelings of security? Initially, the response people have is to work harder, increase productivity, save more money, spend mindfully and keep an eye out for their bills and expenses. Although this is sound advice, if you suffer from a disorder like OCD, you may become obsessed with checking external data to satisfy your constant feeling of underlying anxiety.

If you have OCD it is important to watch your checking behaviours. Intrusive thoughts are influenced by our experiences including consuming news about the world. When people with OCD feel anxious they may notice an increase in obsessive behaviours because they are attempting to predict and control the future.

Obsessive behaviours can look like this:

  • Reading the news every spare moment you have

  • Compulsive spending

  • Online shopping

  • Constantly trying to distract yourself

  • Spending too much time at the gym

  • Procrastinating

  • Scrolling mindlessly on your phone

  • Focusing on external measures of data

Things you can practice to limit feelings of anxiety:

  • Limit your consumption of daily news and financial podcasts

  • Focus on your hobbies

  • Build new habits to sustain your mental health and wellbeing

  • Eat healthy foods

  • Exercise

  • Read fiction

  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep

  • Limit your consumption of caffeine and time spent on your phone

  • Keep an eye out on your addictions (cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, scrolling)

  • Don’t check your accounts more than once a week

  • Set up automatic payments for bills

  • Create a budgeting plan and stick to it

Rather than trying to eliminate feelings of fear and anxiety, it is best to accept them as a part of daily life. When we become less reactive, more responsive and pause instead of acting hasty, we can make more conscious decisions about how we want to live our lives. Living with purpose in the present moment in the digital age includes creating more time to consciously have face-to-face experiences with friends and family. This includes spending time out in nature, cooking, painting, pottery, lego, archery, sports, playing card games and trying new things.

Forecasting the future as a dark and gloomy place makes it more difficult to live in the present. Try your best to limit unhelpful behaviours by learning to be okay with feelings of discomfort. When we are able to practice feeling uncomfortable, we learn that unpleasant, painful feelings come and go, it is not a state that lasts forever. If we can allow anxiety to exist without reacting we can welcome more space for peace and connection in our everyday lives.

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