In a recent article Charles Elliott, Ph.D. does a very good job bringing to light the issue of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). He begins by reminding us:
“If you’re a human being and live on this planet, you probably can come up with something that you don’t especially like about your body.”
We may not all have BDD, but our minds are often running rampant in the background with ways we wish we were different than we actually are. It is so utterly difficult to accept ourselves for who we are and such a habit for the mind to drift into wishing we were somebody we are not right now and then searches for ways for us to “do it.” The more we allow the mind to try and “fix” the issue it has found, the deeper we sink. One way to begin to unwind this Brain Lock as Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D. describes it is to become mindful of it, noticing and relabeling this obsessive thinking when it is occurring. With OCD, he suggests four steps:
The idea here is that even with our judgments regarding our bodies, we want to try and notice that the current way of trying to avoid the pain is not working and we need a radical shift here. Integrating mindfulness into the way you work with obsessional thinking and behaving may slowly start to break down the conditioning, rewire the brain, and lead to a life of greater freedom and ease. But know this is a process and being kind, nonjudgmental and patience with yourself are good fertilizer for this garden to grow.
If you have severe obsessions and compulsions, it is always a good idea to seek support from a skilled healthcare professional.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions here. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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From Psych Central's Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Change Your Brain, Change Your Pain | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (August 20, 2010)
Last reviewed: 5 Jun 2009