Mental compulsions are an odd form of OCD. This type of OCD differs from classic obsessive-compulsive disorders in that it focuses its efforts on a single thought or situation instead of focusing on unwanted symptoms. The obsession with the thought is what triggers the ritual. For example, if someone is afraid that they are about to die then they might perform an anxiety-boosting ritual like counting backwards from 100, hoping that they will not die at all, or repeating their favorite childhood quote.
The key to effectively dealing with mental compulsions is to learn how to detach the obsession from the person’s thoughts and replace it with an acceptable more neutral thought or behavior. This is done by reframing the obsession as a normal thing that people experience. A classic mental compulsions technique is to replace the obsession with a more neutral thing such as:
o Compulsive thinking
Mental compulsions are often accompanied by a series of intrusive thoughts that force the victim to respond in a certain way. These intrusive thoughts can be anything from wishing a car crash wouldn’t happen so that you’d drive more carefully, to imagining that your skin is crawling with germs so that you won’t touch the things on your hands. In fact, most intrusive thoughts are not really mental compulsions at all but pure ocd.
o Talking compulsion
One classic example of a mental compulsions technique is to constantly talk yourself out of the discomfort of an obsession or illness. If you’ve been constantly told that you’re overweight, you might tell yourself that you don’t feel that way on a regular basis because you’re always talking yourself out of it. Instead of focusing on what you perceive to be the negative aspect of your overweight problem, you might instead focus on how good it feels to be healthy and why you need to do this. This type of thinking is a classic obsessive compulsive behavior and is very common with OCD.
o Potential what if situations
Another classic example of a mental compulsions technique is to imagine what your life would be like if you never did this or that. Instead of focusing on how bad your current situation is, you might instead imagine what your life would be like if you never did this or that. If for instance, you’ve always felt uncomfortable about your weight, you might think about how you’d feel if you lost a lot of weight. Or if you always thought that you felt tense when your elbows are touching while you’re typing, you might imagine how much better you feel when they’re just touching in your palms instead.
o Saying prayers
Another OCD compulsion is saying prayers, either aloud or silently to yourself or another person. For some people, this manifests as an obsessive compulsive habit but it really stems from a deeper, psychological need to comfort yourself with God or some other higher power. So, not only is this a mental compulsions technique that you’re practicing but also an obsession that has religious roots.
o Sexual obsessions
One thing about mental compulsions is that, depending on your OCD definition, any thought or set of thoughts that you have can be considered an obsession, whether you believe it or not. The same is true of sexual obsessions; just because you think that your partner or wife is emotionally cheating on you doesn’t mean that you’re actually having sex with them and therefore isn’t an obsession.
So, in conclusion, there are many different types of mental compulsions out there that people suffer from for various reasons. For some, it manifests as an addiction and for others it might be considered a compulsion. The thing that you should remember is that there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to compulsions. Take the time to figure out what your own special type of compulsions are, whether they be about religion, sexuality or obsessive-compulsive disorder.