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Demand evidence to worry

Posted at — Jan 12, 2022 by Abishek Muthian

Disclaimer: I'm not qualified to advise on mental health issues, If you think you have OCD, anxiety or other issues then seek the help of a qualified medical professional. Like physical health, Everyone needs help with mental health at some point.

The hair dryer incident is my favorite example to illustrate how anxiety induced by OCD can affect a person to an extent that they cannot perform their basic day-to-day tasks for their livelihood.

This is just one example, Anxiety issues can take several forms.

For one it's the hair-dryer, For another its the door -

A HN user shares their constant fear of not locking the door properly.
A HN user shares their constant fear of not locking the door properly.

I use couple of strategies to deal with anxiety,

Demand evidence to worry

When a fear crops up which would potentially make me back track my steps (or) make me ruminate on the consequences of an action over which I don't have control over - I demand evidence to prove that this thought needs my urgent attention.

Obviously there wouldn't be any and so I shout to myself 'NO EVIDENCE' and move on.

But what about those consequences? It's the fear of the consequences of not indulging in a thought which makes us miserable; Yes, So once I claim 'NO EVIDENCE' it's a firm 'DECISION' and DECISIONS cannot be backtracked. It's a boundary I've set myself and I'm prepared to face the music for a bad DECISION if the need arises.

To summarize the rules,

  1. DECISIONS cannot be backtracked.
  2. Prepared to face any trouble arising out of a bad DECISION.
  3. Demand EVIDENCE to worry.
  4. When there is NO EVIDENCE, A DECISION has been made to move on.

Practicing this has aids me in quick eviction of anxiety, which is immensely helpful to manage OCD.

Further, Demanding evidence for thoughts is very useful for protecting ourselves in the age of misinformation, disinformation and cognitive dissonance.

Discussion

Discuss this with me on Twitter.

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